[Warning: This is largely a rant… it is by no means a serious review of any of these products.]
For the last couple of years I’ve been using FeedGhost as my RSS Reader of choice. I install it on all my machines – home, work and laptop. Up until recently I’ve been happy with the tool. I was originally drawn to it because 1) it looked fresh and new with plenty of visual polish, 2) it had a great synchronization mechanism which meant all my machines could be kept in sync.
Alas, in the last couple of months things have started to fail. Running FeedGhost on my laptop has suddenly jumped from using 100Mb to using well over a 1Gb. Even more worrisome the synchronization seems to have had a few bugs introduced. Blog entries appears under the wrong category/feed and old items keep incorrectly showing as unread.
So… time for a new Blog Reader. The guys at work use Google Reader. I pity them, I try to educate them and when all else fails I just mock them.
So what serious contenders are there? I used SharpReader many years ago. Simple, quick but definitely lacking in features – I don’t think its being actively developed.
So from SharpReader I moved to RssBandit. I downloaded the latest version, loaded my feed list and took it for a spin. Initial reaction is one of disappointment. On the surface it seems much as it was a few years ago. They’ve added synchronization and a download manager. The posts glow a horrible yellow when you mouse over them – very annoying but presumably something that can be turned off.
At the same time as downloading RssBandit I got the latest version of FeedDemon. I haven’t used this product before – I seem to remember a time when it wasn’t free. The Newsgator synchronization seems to work well and is quick as is loading the posts themselves. Its been severely beaten with the ugly stick which is a shame. It also doesn’t behave how I would “expect” in many cases. For instance – it doesn’t seem to let you open more than one node in the feed list tree. If you open one it closes the previous – why?!
I don’t really want too much in an RSS Reader. My feature list in order of importance would go something like:
- Simply, effective synchronization of feeds and entry status.
- Well rendered post in a couple of layout formats – summary list, “river of news” flow etc.
- “Helpers” for adding subscriptions, e.g. Subscribe action takes clipboard URL by default, browser right click extensions etc.
- Clean, intuitive user interface – most are way to cluttered.
Of course what might be nice is a WPF based RSS Reader. Maybe using Live Services/Sync Framework behind the scenes to do the synchronization. Maybe Paperboy will become such a tool?
Overall – I’m a little disappointed with the available offerings. Does anyone have a (non browser based) alternative that they’d recommend?