is a decent caching rss aggregator for offline reading too much to ask for?

Now that I’ve started experimenting with w.bloggar, I’m looking for a good RSS aggregator. I’m specifically looking for one that caches the feed data for offline reading. So, I started out by doing the obvious, I Googled for it.

Without spending too much time sifting through the 10,000-odd results, I came up with a few options:

NewsMonster

A very promising application by Kevin Burton which has exactly the feature set I’m looking for, except for the fact that it does NOT work in Firefox 1.0, as I learned the hard way letting it totally mess up my Firefox install. Looks like the entire NewsMonster project has gone defunct, which is no surprise considering Kevin’s a co-founder and lead engineer for Rojo, a start-up whose product is pretty much what NewsMonster does but without an offline component. What a real pity, this would have been perfect, if it would just work on Firefox.

NewsDesk

This looks interesting, but I can’t find any mention of offline capability. Another strike against it is using MSIE embedded for rendering HTML – the whole reason I’m using Firefox is to get away from using MSIE for browsing. At least NewsDesk is free, but I’m not trying it, yet.

NewsGator

They’re pushing their free online version hard, and it looks like the offline version requires Microsoft Outlook. That’s great, if you use Outlook. For me? Not today.

SharpReader

Looks nice, but no mention of offline capability. Probably integrates MSIE for its embedded browser, too. I’ll pass.

So, what did I finally decide to do in the end?

Bloglines

Yes, I know, it’s an online-only service, but I really like their user interface. I’ll settle for using this until I find a solution that gives me the offline capability I’m looking for. If you have suggestions, let me know.

In the meantime, let me put forth a really simple idea that solves my problem. Maybe expressing the ideas will motivate me to actually build it … so, here goes:

  • thin HTTP client, authentication and proxy capability, maybe even gzip/deflate support – for fetching RSS data
  • thin HTTP server, to run on the desktop – for serving the app. to whatever browser you want to use

I’m thinking this could be a really cool app. to build using AOLserver since it’ll run on Win32 and Linux/Solaris, etc. Essentially what I’m suggesting is to build this as a traditional web application but run the web server locally on the client machine (bound to some port on 127.0.0.1 by default for security). As long as the web app. is designed with cross-browser compatibility in mind, users could choose to use either MSIE or Firefox or Opera or whatever.

Guess this’ll just go on my heap of “cool things to build with AOLserver if I ever get the free time” … or maybe someone else will beat me to it, which would be way cool.

Comments

  1. Vinayaka C A says:

    Hey,
    i am looking for a tool that serves the same purpose of reading the RSS feeds offline.

    In case you come across one / build one 😉 please let me know.

    Thanks in advance.
    Vinayaka CA

  2. same here… 9 months after the original post, and I still can’t find anything… anyone know anything that I might have missed?

    I need a way to have news download to my UMPC in the am before I wake up so I can read news on the subway on the way to work.

  3. Evan: If all you’re looking for is an RSS reader, there’s plenty of good desktop RSS readers that you can take offline. On Windows, you could check out FeedDemon and on the MacOS X, check out NetNewsWire. Both products are now owned by NewsGator.

  4. 2 years on, i’m still looking for a good one that will cache content (pics and possibly even mp3’s e.t.c but that’s just kinda pushing it) offline.

  5. Greatnews seems to have offline capabilities 🙂

  6. I use google reader, but the problem is it downloads all the feeds. If there is an option to mark selected feeds for offline access, i wuld stick to it. Right now out of the 2k items it downloads, a lot are one line news feeds that i wont want to read offline at all.

  7. The add-on for Firefox called Brief works great. It does not yet work on the 3.0 beta version of Firefox, which has messed me up on my upgrade to Ubuntu 8.04.

  8. Try out RSS Bandit on Windows. I’ve not pushed it hard or been in testing mode when using it offline, but it appears promising.

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