My RSS Toolchest

If you have no options, then you’ll take whatever you can get. But once you have options, then you start getting fussy about what you use. My current aggregator rotation consists of Radio Userland, NewsGator, and NetNewsWire Lite. Radio is my primary reader, NewsGator is in the mix to archive RSS with email, and I use NetNewsWire Lite for traditional news (BBC, New York Times, et al.).

Radio does a great job in presenting RSS items (example here via Scripting News). It is the easiest way for me to read. I skim down the page, opening up new tabs as I go and deleting items last. The combined view in NetNewsWire 1.0.3b1 opening pages in the background is getting close, but Radio still has the edge.

I’m still working on the coordination between Radio Userland and NewsGator, but the leading contender uses Radio Userland to post to a category and NewsGator to archive that category. If I didn’t want to use Outlook, I could use Graeme Foster’s RSS→Pop3 gateway [via Scripting News] in place of NewsGator.

I split off traditional news because who wants to read yesterday’s news? The split allows me to apply more aggresive rules to traditional news - marking everything as read when downloaded and discarding read items on exit.

My advice to RSS aggregator authors:

  • Combined view a la Radio and NetNewsWire is a winner.
  • Item management is easier when you can mark an item for deletion and leave it displayed.
  • Different feeds need different deletion rules.
  • Shared archive with email is a must.

19 June: Mac OS X is my primary personal OS. I like NewsGator enough to buy it for my secondary OS. But because it’s MS Windows only, it’s never been fully exercised as my primary RSS reader.