Rss readers are one of the first port of call for both techies and bloggers when reading blogs, and really getting seriously into the blogosphere. The following post summarises the alternatives for a number of different platforms and devices.
Rss for Outlook (Windows)
There are a number of readers available as plugins to Microsoft Outlook, and the later versions of outlook 2007 onwards included support from RSS feeds. If you keep alot of your everyday office life inside outlook some of these might be a good option as readers, the other advantage to Outlook plugins is that your RSS is easily searchable via Google Desktop.
Provided by the RSS experts over at Newsgator, Inbox provides a number of additional features over the standard RSS reader provided by Outlook. We particularly like the way it displays posts, and the interest level that you have shown to individual blogs, over time you can see your favourite reads.
Synchronize your subscriptions with other readers
Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista
Microsoft Outlook® 2000 or later
Microsoft .NET 2.0 or later
IntraVnews makes Outlook read RSS feeds naturally, allowing for smart grouping, searching, filtering and archiving of news items and blog posts. You can also post to a blog from within intraVnews, which is a pretty handy feature. It also has a searchable feed database which makes subscribing that bit easier.
Lets you use Outlook grouping, archiving, filtering and search features
IntraVnews integrates RSS feeds into Outlook well, support blog posting too
A searchable feed database makes subscribing easy in intraVnews
DotNetFramework 1.1 +
Operating Systems: Microsoft© Windows© 98 SE or higher.
Microsoft© Outlook© XP, 2003, 2007.
Rss Popper for Outlook is available in two flavours, one for Outlook express and one for Outlook versions 2002 and higher. The program has been nicely implemented, keeping things simple. As with previous outlook readers, items come into your inbox in a separate folder, giving you the capability to sort and organise feeds. Rss Popper does a pretty good job at estimating what should go where, based on the content of the feed.
.NET Framework 1.1
Desktop RSS Readers
Rss Owl is a cross platform compatible Rss reader. It is open source, and developed and runs on the Java platform which gives it the extra portability. Some of the main features of RSS owl includes importing via OPML, which many other web based readers give the option to export to, including Google Reader. Another nice feature of the program is the ability to Export a Feed to PDF.
Java VM 1.4
Support OS: Mac, Windows, Linux
Attensa Feed Reader
Attensa is a well known player in the field of Enterprise RSS. They offer both Mac and Windows versions of their software, as well as an Outlook version. Attensa’s “river of news” approach is innovative in that it uses Attensa’s AttentionStream technology to display your feeds based on your own personal viewing habits and preferences, which is great if you are a bit of a rss head, and have tons of feeds subscribed.
Mac / Windows
Greatnews is great at showing what you need in newspaper format, with a two column layout, it really comes into play with bigger monitors. Another advantage is that it is quite speedy. Even with hundreds of rss feed subscriptions, GreatNews’s response is near always instantaneous. You can opt to show news from all channels on the same page, and you have full control over how many articles can be displayed at once.
Windows. No runtimes needed
Installer (458KB) – Full Download (5MB)
Eluma comes as a mix between a standard desktop reader and a web browser sidebar application – which is great if you are a bit tight for space on your desktop.
From a features point of view, its quite light, but it does allow tagging of posts and marking posts that you like with a thumbs up; augmenting traditional search engines by helping people recommend, share and discover the most relevant information from the vast amount of content on the Internet.
Download Size: 816KB
SharpReader is a one man project. Hat tip to you Luke . SharpReader (written in c# hence the name) has a number of features, although it doesn’t seem to be being actively developed anymore. It uses a traditional three pane interface for feeds and has Feedster integration to easily search weblogs and newssites for specific terms, and even subscribe to such a search to be notified of new results. Unfortunately the project is closed source, which is pretty much useless if its not being actively developed. I’m not the only one, going on comments on Luke’s blog.
Download Size: 7.7MB
RSS Bandit first implementation was started by Dare Obasanjo‘s MSDN article: Building a Desktop News Aggregator. It is one of the few RSS readers for Windows that allows synching with some of the online products such as Google Reader and Newsvine. It has has some innovative features such as posting directly to your blog from it, and posting comments directly to others blogs – supports (most) blogs. However I did find RSS Bandit to suffer a bit from poor response times, and for that reason it may irritate some users.
Download Size: 4MB
Developed by Nick Bradbury for Newsgator, FeedDemon is a one of the better RSS readers reviewed. For me it was extremely quick to download, easy to install, and proved to be extremely responsive even when downloading its (initial) list of pre provided feeds. It has some extra little features to find out who is linking to the article you are reading (provided through Newsgator) and allows synching between Newsgator Online and the desktop. FeedDemon has an in-built meme-tracker that shows all the popular news stories within the RSS feeds that you have subscribed, you can also create watches from within the program to keep track of individual subjects or tags from within the blogosphere. Furthermore, if you enjoy the odd podcast or two, Feedstation allows you to synch up your Ipod or Media Player. The main features in FeedDemon do require you to have a Newsgator account though.
Brought to you from the same people as FeedDemon, NetNewsWire is one of the most popular Mac Feed Readers. It has a number of notable features including – an HTML Archive feature – super useful for web developers, which saves news items as HTML files on disk. In the News menu is a super useful command for social media addicts – Post to del.icio.us. It works with the selected news item or the frontmost browser tab. It also has a few more features than some of its competitors on the Mac.
Mac OS X 10.4 or greater
Written for Gtk / Gnome, Liferea seeks to fill the gap the above products have left in the Linux market for RSS readers. It has an active development community releasing builds regularly.
If you are on Linux and prefer to read your RSS feeds at leisure from the Desktop, and you aren’t feature hungry – Liferea is the product for you. Overall it offers a very clean, fast and useful approach to reading RSS feeds, and it sure as hell beats reading RSS feeds from a Shell.
This application requires GTK+ version 2.10.x. Other dependencies include:
libxml2, mozilla or gtkhtml2, and gconf2. libnetworkmanager, DBUS are optional.
Web Based RSS Readers
I’m a huge fan of google reader, in fact it is how I read my rss news. The main advantage of it being that I don’t have to be at the same computer to catch up with my feeds, and seeing that I bounce from pillar to post quite a bit, it’s a logical choice for me personally.
As well as allowing you to add subscriptions quickly through a web browser Google reader offers a number of useful features. Firstly you can see how many people are subscribing to your blog, regardless of the fact if you use Feedburner or not. A small hidden tab near the top of the feed window gives statistics on how frequently you post to your blog, and how many other subscribers you have in Google reader.
Another huge advantage for me is that it starts to measure the things I’m interested in, and the things that I’m reading more than others through Google reader trends. Some of you may find that a bit scary considering that essentially Google has become less and less about search and more and more about data collation, however if it’s for the great good, and it lets me see what I should perhaps unsubscribe from – then I dont have a problem with it. It also lets you see some of the more obscure information that you are subscribed to – which is a fun feature.
Managing subscriptions is a breeze as well, with Google both offering similar blogs, in the same vein to what you have already subscribed to, and an easy way to categorize and sort the existing ones you have subscribed to. As with many of the web based products that Google release, updates and feature additions are frequent – (just recently they added a way to share your feed items with friends), which is a bonus because you dont have to download a fresh updated version – another advantage of a web based feed reader.
It feels a little more responsive than the Ajax interface of Google (but this may be because I didn’t have as many feeds subscribed in Bloglines).
The bloglines top 1000 blogs provides a useful chart of blogs with the most subscribers, and is where we the blogorati all want to be.
I also couldn’t work out how to change the Yahoo Weather widget to anything other than the default American weather forecast, which was pretty annoying. I realise that American’s count for a good majority of web users, but writing your application to appeal to that audience primarily, is pretty arrogant.