Bloglines + IMAP + Thunderbird = offline reader. Killer app.

Inspired tonight by my desire to have a decent offline RSS aggregator, but wholly enamored by the Bloglines service, I sent them the following message via their “Contact Us” page:

It would be incredible if Bloglines would implement this feature:

Bloglines runs some IMAP/SSL servers. I can then add an account to my Thunderbird mail client for Bloglines, using my Bloglines username/password as auth credentials. What would be in my IMAP mailbox? All the entries from all my Bloglines feeds for my account, each entry as a separate email message. I can then instruct Thunderbird to use Offline Folders to download all the messages to my local machine. When I read a “message,” and mark it as read, Bloglines IMAP knows to mark the entry as read — this way, if I also use the Bloglines web interface, it knows which entries I’ve already read.

This way I can read Bloglines via web interface, or take it offline using Thunderbird.

Killer app. for Bloglines. Please implement. Need help implementing? I’ll hack on the code — lets work something out. I use Bloglines daily, but being able to go mobile/offline would be killer. Maybe I’ll hack on my own IMAP server that scrapes Bloglines HTML in the background as proof-of-concept, anyway.

Thanks for building such an amazing, and currently still free, service. You guys are awesome.

Stay tuned. I think this idea is sufficiently good that I’ll likely implement it in the next week or two, unless the Bloglines folks beat me to it. Anyone else interested in something like this?

Update: Apparently the guys had this same idea back in mid-2003, but it doesn’t seem to be working any more. It is still listed on their site called the Info Aggregator but on June 30, 2005, the DNS for doesn’t resolve for me. If they really did shut this feature down, I suspect it was a victim of “right idea, wrong time” and I think now might be the right time.

Update: First, I forgot to credit the previous update — John Sequeira sent me an email telling me about Blogstreet’s Info Aggregator service. When I emailed him back saying the DNS was busted, he discovered that they’d sent out an email announcing that the service would be shut down on December 19, 2004. Good to know. Thanks, John!

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  1. On the Blogger posting of this entry, someone commented:

    Jason said…

    Even better, I would suggest that someone in the Thunderbird community write an extension for the Bloglines Sync API. That would probably be a lot faster than waiting for Bloglines/AskJeeves to deicde if they even want to think about it.

    Yes, I totally forgot about the Bloglines Sync API. This is perfect.

  2. Justin Bitely says

    Just out of curiosity, anything ever come of this (really intriguing) idea?

  3. Justin,

    I’ve got a very alpha-quality implementation working. If you’d like to test it, email me and I’ll help you get set up.

  4. Feedmailr is now offering a RSS to IMAP service, check it out!

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