What NetNewsWire needs to learn from FeedDemon

FeedDemonOn my Vista-running laptop, I had FeedDemon installed, a super desktop based RSS aggregator. I’ve always been more comfortable using this type of app as opposed to a web based solution like Google Reader or Bloglines. When I don’t have my laptop with me and I need to use a public PC or a mobile device, I can still use the NewsGator onlie service, which syncs up with FeedDemon so I don’t end up having to read stuff twice.

NetNewsWireWhen I got my MacBook, then, it was an obvious choice to download NetNewsWire, NewsGator’s desktop app for the Mac. I hoped it would be the equivalent of FeedDemon, but sadly it isn’t, for me. This is surprising, because both products are developed by the same community, and I would have thought that some of the innovations of FeedDemon would have filtered through to the Mac app.

Here are some things I’d really like to see added to NetNewsWire, that are already in place in FeedDemon:

  • The ability to hide subscriptions with no new items: FeedDemon let’s me ensure that the only feeds that appear in view are those with something new to read. I can’t find this option in NetNewsWire, and it means I have to scroll through loads of empty feeds to get to the new stuff
  • Newspapers: these are the different ways you can display feeds. For example, the way you look at a Flickr photostream feed is different from a standard text based blog. FeedDemon lets you set just how you want stuff presented. NetNewsWire, as far as I can tell, doesn’t
  • Panic button: OK, so this is a very new feature to FeedDemon, but it’s super useful. If you have a huge backlog of feeds, the panic button lets you mark a certain amount of them read, leaving you with the current stuff. NetNewsWire needs this!
  • Attention reports: FeedDemon provides you with loads of stats about what items and feeds you pay the most attention too. Useful stuff. Can’t find it in NetNewsWire

Any other NetNewsWire users out there? How do you find it in comparison to other apps?


I was alerted by Neville Hobson‘s tweet that a bug fix release of FeedDemon was available for download. This announcement came through the FD support forums, which I never look at, so am thankful to Neville for bringing it to my attention.

The upgrade fixes bugs like:

  • New instance of FeedDemon loads with misleading “application is hung” error message when attempting to subscribe from Firefox (123414)
  • Cyrillic characters don’t display correctly in FeedDemon’s desktop alert
  • Buttons cut off on keyboard shortcuts dialog when running at 120dpi
  • Exception when importing invalid OPML (123539)
  • Exception after synching on Windows 98
  • Exception in prefetch options when setting “max items to prefetch” (124117)
  • Wrong/ugly colors in newspaper header with some XP or WindowBlinds themes (124000)
  • Thousands separators missing from large numbers displayed in panic button dialog and elsewhere (123986)

The top one (my emphasis) was a big fix for me, as this was proving a major pain in the neck, as I mentioned here.

FeedDemon 2.6 problem

There’s a bug with FeedDemon 2.6, I think.

Whenever I click the little orange RSS icon on the FireFox address bar to subscribe to a new blog, it tries to open a new FeedDemon window. Every. Single. Time.

This is a pain in the neck as I am never sure if I have actually subscribed to a feed or not!

Newsgator RSS apps now free!

The Newsgator family of desktop RSS applications are now available for download free of charge! This is great news, and I would heartily recommend that anyone who hasn’t tried it before gives the Windows application, FeedDemon, a try. I have been using it for three years now, and while I have flirted with online services like Bloglines and Google Reader, I also come crawling back to FeedDemon. There are other products in the range too, like a plugin for Outlook and NetNewsWire, which is the desktop reader for the Mac.

They are still charging for TopStyle though – boo, hiss. It’s a great CSS editor. If you are thinking that’s a strange app for an RSS company to be selling, you’re right. The story behind it is that when Newsgator bought Nick Bradbury, the guy behind FeedDemon, he brought his other project with with, which was TopStyle.

Here’s a nice post explaining why FeedDemon is so great.

When I was at the Online Information conference last year I had an interesting chat with the guys from NewsGator. They have some cool enterprise products, which focus on making SharePoint actually useful, all through the magic of RSS.

Organising my feeds

I recently undertook the task of organising all my feeds into folders in FeedDemon – before this I had just the one (very) long list of sites I checked, not broken up in any way. This had become unmanageable.

So, here are the folders I have created, in order of the attention I give them.

  • Must Reads
  • UK
  • WordPress
  • Search
  • Software
  • PR, etc
  • Blogs about blogs
  • News, etc
  • General
  • Books
  • Software
  • Del.icio.us (also including other links feeds such as Google Reader shared items)
  • Flickr

If a feed falls into more than one category, then generally I stick it in the one that appears the highest on the list above. So, for example, Neville Hobson‘s blog could fit into PR, etc or UK but I in fact have it in Must Reads.

The General folder is heaving though – I need to go through that again, I think!