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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.