FeedDemon, RSS Reader

To those of you that are RSS/Blog fanatics, this will interest you. I’ve known about RSS feed readers for a long while, but I usually don’t use them. There’s been a few different RSS readers that I’ve seen and up to now SharpReader has been the best I’ve seen. I say “up to now” because there’s a new player making it’s way onto the scene – FeedDemon – and it’s a one of a kind.

First some background: I saw this on The Goat and my rule of thumb is that if Steve posts about software, it’s worth a look. When I saw the screen shots, I opted to take it for a spin.

My first gripe with all RSS readers has nothing to do with the RSS readers. I read about 20 different Blogs every day. Some don’t have RSS feeds at all, which is a shock. I mean even my site has an RSS feed because it’s painless to make and maintain, so I’m stunned if a Blog doesn’t have it. Following that gripe is the fact that 1/2 of the sites I read have shitty RSS feeds. I find that unless you go to their site, you won’t get anything from the article. For example, MacMinute has an RSS feed. On their main page, they offer the first paragraph (or more) of each story; on their RSS page they offer the first 128 characters

of the first paragraph. What the hell am I supposed to do with that? I end up opening 15 browser windows just to get the same information that I could have gotten by using a browser for their main page in the first place. Sites like mine and The Goat give you the same view that you’d have on the main home page so an RSS reader works well.


I’ll say it again: unless Blogs writers publish better RSS documents, the RSS browser concept will not go much further than where it is now. If you’re reading this and you’re a Blog writer, please step up

and publish real summaries on your blog!


Just the other day (I think on NeoWin) I was reading that Marc – the co-creator of Mosaic, the First Browser – was bitching that there’s no innovation to today’s browsers. Bookmarks, back/forward navigation, blah blah blah. Well, duh. What else is a browser for?

I wrote this off to whining and moved along.

I mean I had seen Safari while it was in beta, and they didn’t do too much, aside being made by Apple. If Apple can’t innovate, I have slim hopes for others. Man was I wrong about that!

Enter Nick Bradbury, who turned the HTML editor world on it’s ear a few years ago when he wrote HomeSite. In a day when the most common HTML editors were Notepad and FrontPage, Nick took the simplicity of Notepad and added a number of great tools and features to make a first class editor. Instead making an editor geared to Dumb-Dumb’s that couldn’t figure out how to use <b> or an editor that required you to remember every HTML tag ever created, HomeSite was a one of a kind and could be used by almost anyone. Nick’s got a new product now…

So, what has Nick done for RSS readers, with FeedDemon? Frankly, a lot. Rather than go through it here – and since it’s still in beta, it’s likely to change – take a peek at the FeedDemon Web Site. What I like about it is the way the feeds are grouped together and blended for easy reading. First and foremost is the UI, which is very Outlook 2003 like; I like that idea a lot. Next is something that I’ve seen before but not quite like this: the blending of news. Each RSS feed belongs to a Listing or a group of other feeds. Add to that a view that gives you “today’s news” for all of the feeds in a group and you have a one screen view of all of the most recent news that you’ve subscribed to.

There’s other things, like Watches and searches, that I haven’t gotten to yet. What I do know is that I got a bunch of sample feeds in the Listings and it zipped out to get me today’s news. It’s fast and pleasing to look at and works well for a released product, much less a beta. It’s also exactly what Marc was bitching about the other day… what Nick has done is taken technology that people have used and re-used before and added a bunch of new and innovative ideas to it, to make something new. A lot of people have written good RSS readers before – and I still think SharpReader is great! – but none of them have looked like this, and that is what innovation is about… often in the PC world, it’s not always about making new technology – it can sometimes be something as simple as using old technology and making it into something new.

Of course, nothing will help a shitty RSS feed… Hey, Nick, can you help people out with that? *smirk*

2 thoughts on “FeedDemon, RSS Reader”

  1. i too am a sharpreader user taking feeddemon for a spin. i love feeddemon. i love sharpreader. but will i pay for feeddemon when it comes out of beta and quit using the completely free completely sufficient sharpreader?? that remains to be seen. nick has done a great job with feeddemon, as well as topstyle and homesite, and i don’t mind paying for software at all… especially well written, very useful, high quality software like feeddemon. however, when there are free alternatives out there without quite as many bells and whistles that you’ve lived without anyway prior to knowing they existed…i’ll probably stick with the free one. however, it’s nice to see a new reader in the mix. maybe the freebies will pick up on some of its features.

  2. Ditto on most of what Brad says. If Nick adds the time-frame based filtering like Sharpreader has (last 30mins, last hour, etc) i will have to give up sharpreader. The Watches would push me to pay for FD if he can keep the price around 20 bucks or so. All in all the second excellent aggregator i’ve found.

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