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Top Three Windows RSS Readers
Pages: 1, 2

FeedDemon

FeedDemon was written by Nick Bradbury, creator of TopStyle and HomeSite. It, too, displays your RSS subscription in multiple frames and contains a built-in browser.

To add an RSS feed into FeedDemon, you can use the built-in browser to navigate to the site that contains a RSS link. FeedDemon will also automatically detect the URL for the feed (but only when you use the built-in web browser). Clicking the FeedDemon icon located in the status bar will display the links (see Figure 7, bottom right).

Figure 7
Figure 7. FeedDemon detecting RSS feeds in the web page

As a bonus, FeedDemon supports tabbed browsing (see Figure 8), a useful feature not supported in Internet Explorer.

Figure 8
Figure 8. FeedDemon supports tabbed browsing

The Watch feature in FeedDemon is a very handy tool to help you search your RSS feeds subscription for keywords. For example, if I am interested in reading about the release of Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1, I can set a Watch to look out for feeds that contain the keywords "Visual Studio 2005" (see Figure 9).

Figure 9
Figure 9. Setting a Watch

All feeds that contain my defined keywords will be displayed (see Figure 10).

Figure 10
Figure 10. Using Watch to look for interesting news

NewsGator

NewsGator is an RSS aggregator that runs in Microsoft Outlook (see Figure 11). It allows you to subscribe to various syndicated news feeds and have news from these sites delivered right into your Outlook folders. You can download a free 14-day trial copy from newsgator.com.

Figure 11
Figure 11. NewsGator in Outlook

Unlike NewzCrawler and FeedDemon, NewsGator does not automatically detect a news feed when you encounter one. You have to use the search wizard to find feeds that interest you (or enter a URL directly). Also, clicking on any links will invoke a separate web browser.

NewsGator provides a summary page showing all of the most recent posts that is similar to the "newspaper" concept in NewzCrawler (see Figure 12).

Figure 12
Figure 12. Summary page of your RSS subscriptions

All RSS feeds are treated as emails, and so you can reply or forward a message easily (see Figure 13).

Figure 13
Figure 13. Forwarding and replying RSS news is easy in NewsGator

Summary

These three RSS readers each have their own strengths. All three allow you to blog the news item that you read, though to be frank, I have not tested this feature as my main focus in on reading news.

The other factors to consider include pricing:

  • NewzCrawler costs $24.95 for a single user license (cheaper if the license quantity is more than four).
  • NewsGator costs $29.
  • FeedDemon costs $29.95.

I suggest you try out the various readers and see for yourself which one works for you.

Wei-Meng Lee (Microsoft MVP) http://weimenglee.blogspot.com is a technologist and founder of Developer Learning Solutions http://www.developerlearningsolutions.com, a technology company specializing in hands-on training on the latest Microsoft technologies.


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