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Monday, May 19, 2008


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I'd like the ability, on a feed-by-feed basis, to mark them as full text, summary, or headline only. There are feeds which have abbreviated text or lots of new articles that I'd like to read one way, but others that I always want to see everything on.

Portability of my feed data is also important... I love how NewsGator synchronizes between FeedDemon, the online reader, and the mobile online reader. I've got some issues with how quickly bugs are being fixed on the online side right now, but the sync is the key thing that keeps me with the NG platform.

Scheduled notification based on a priority ranking that I determine. Some feeds I want to be notified about immediately. Most I want less frequently either because they can be too distracting or they're just not as important to me, for whatever reason.

Although not so bad as in email, there already exists spam in certain feeds. I think in the near future it will be a must for the user to implement "kill filters" to delete or move certain posts into a quarantine folder. For example, one newpaper feed I subscribe to posts at least 10 times every day the same messages about a series of books they try to sell to their readers. If I could set up a filter to exterminate this recurring spam, reading this feed would be much less annoying. You already have the watches in FeedDemon which only copy posts, and to implement this type of kill filter would be only slightly different, and maybe a necessity for the future.

Minor: I'd like for NewsGator on my iPhone to work almost as well as NetNewsWire on my Mac.

Major: I'd like an intelligent feed reader that assesses both the content and the source of stories that I actually end up reading (either because I go to the actual webpage or, if it's a full-content feed, because I spend a significant amount of time on that item). Then I could set the reader to show me items sorted by priority: the ones that best match my interests first, and then — perhaps if I click a button — those on the next level of significance, and then those which are furthest from my patterns of reading.

Maybe an improved system for keeping track of posts, this might include:

the ability to nest folders for my clipings.

The option to sync my clippings to my browser's bookmarks - so all the folders in clipings could be synced to a FeedDeamon Clippings folder in the browser ( which mirrors my structure from FD ).

how about adding quicklook, so, when browsing just the headlines, I can get a sneek peek!

I would like to filter out posts that are not in english, if that's possible. I read lot of MSDN feeds and there are alot of nuggets in them so I read them all.

My lists get cluttered with non english items.

Check out http://blogs.msdn.com/MainFeed.aspx to see what I mean.

I'd like FireFox support instead of IE7. I use a tab in FeedDemon as my primary broswer most of the time and the AdBlock ability, etc in FF is a must.

Also, I'd like FD to be "Tivo-esque" and learn what I read and what feeds I watch and then at my request, go out and scan for similar feeds and provide me a listing that I can choose from and subscribe, etc.

In watches, the ability to scan out duplicate headlines even if from different sources. Many times the excat same headline is used though the source is completely different. When setting up the watch parameters, an option list like, "if headlines are identical, only show the earliest post on the same day"

I want my reader to somehow figure out that two different feeds are talking about the same thing and let me know so I can process all of those at once. For instance, DIGG and Slashdot often point to the same story. Let me know about both at the same time.

Good question!

Wow, I just wrote a whole blog entry on this myself today, great job on this one.


Ok, Feed readers and what they need to do.

1. Support XSPF (http://www.xspf.org/) for podcasts/Video Casts.
2. Feeddemon and Newsgator do an amazing job of syncing against different clients. Build a easy way to sync against different servers (Google Reader, NewsGator, etc...)
3. RSS is now being used as an integration point for things like FriendFeed. Create a unique way of visualizing this data. (it's not the same as news data or photo data, or song / music data). Podcasting, Photocasting, Video casting, now things like friends feed need a seperate display paradigm. How about a templating system that supports more output than just XHTML.
4. AIR. The future is written in AIR.

I have a couple more, but those 4 are very important.

A simple one: Why doesn't FeedDemon follow Mozilla Firefox style of installation---now that it's free---where you don't require Admin privileges for a user to install FeedDemon. This could be one of the major deterrent in using FeedDemon---for a large corporate workforce, who never have the time come home to login and read their news.

Another one: Is it possible to support Google Reader---and still get your attention data (which makes FD free), so that people are free to choose their sync service? Applies to NetNewsWire too? That I think would be awesome.

Generally, I'd like my feed reader to behave like MS OneNote and perhaps move even further in that direction than they have. I'd like to be able to revisit and organize my data trail in all sorts of ways. I'd like all the clippings I take along the way, for instance, to be an easy and transparent extention of my mind so I can find something I want to send to someone else, remember, use as a creative jog, or use as a method, etc., etc. I'd like a roadmap of where I've been over the months (and years) so that I can sort of "revisit" times in my life based on the internet reading I was doing (linked, in my far future feeder heaven:-)) with the stuff I was doing in life at the time -- my data record, as it were. I'm not talking some metaphysical moment here so much as a complete state so I can remember, say, where I left the keys, or evoke an emtions I need (like "get back to work!") The idea would be to essentially attempt to recreate a mindset if I need to for any number of purposes, or none at all. That pie-in-the-sky enough fer you, Nick? Probably too much.

The email client "The Bat!" has an scrolling ticker tape for unread mail. Clicking on an item opens it as if you clicked the email list proper.

I'd like to see FeedDEmon incorporate a scrolling ticker like this for feeds base upon user selection. Clicking on a feed item would open FeedDemon and show the text. In my FeedDemon world, the ticker is persistent, as long as there are unread items and it scrolls (with various speed settings) across the top of one of my monitors (preferably the right one) at the top (or wherever I put it.

Portability: I want a Portable version working just from USB-Stick without writing things to the registry. helps a lot on restricted PCs

The number one priority should be to improve the organization of blogs and articles. At the minimum the following 2 features should be implemented:

1. Multilevel folders in the subscriptions tree
2. Ability to add tags to articles and allow searching and viewing articles by tags. The tagging operation itself has to be user friendly to make it "blend in" with the reading experience.

Another small feature would be allow auto-expanding of articles with "read more..." type of links at the end.

Here here to Alan Jacobs' intelligent feed reader comment. He took the words right out of my mouth.

I'd like a smart RSS reader that does two things:

1. Combines similar items from different feeds. For instance, if you subscribe to many Mac news sites, you might have to hear about a new AirPort Express Base Station 5, 10, or more times. Why should I have to flip through each one individually?

2. Adapt to user's reading habits. The reader should track how long a user reads an item (for full feeds) and how often the user clicks through to the Web site (for summary feeds). The reader should compile this info over time and assign a "popularity" for each feed. Most power users who use RSS sort their feeds by how "important" or often read they are, but other people (like me) aren't necessarily paying attention and don't want to have to manually do this.

I think these are two awesome ideas.

For *me*, sharing items is key. My experience with FeedDemon is limited as I'm mostly a Mac user, but I was a long-term NNW guy until Google Reader's sharing capabilities (including viewing "friends" shared items) pulled me away.

I actually tried for quite a while to get something similar working with NewsGator's clippings service, but to no avail. I think part of the issue is that the protocol for interfacing with the clippings service is quite complex, and the documentation is not as clear as I wish it was. Perhaps a simpler version of the API that handled basics like posting links + a note could be pushed to folks who want to create simple front-ends/connectors (even shell scripts that could be called from arbitrary apps via scripting).

(I do realize that NNW can post clippings, but the issue was that I wanted to be able to post them from other apps -- like browsers -- without having NNW open. Combine that with having to use Applescript to interface with NNW, and I eventually gave up)

Beyond that, keyboard shortcuts are very important as well. GReader and NNW both allow me to navigate almost the entire interface with the keyboard, and I struggle with reader apps that don't.

Getting comments and commenting into the feed or at least article and comments on one page. Now I still have to load the actual site to check, read and add comments. Would add to the conversation.

Thanks for asking, Nick. I'd really like to see patterns in the news noted by the writers I trust... some link-analysis (like Techmeme or Twitt(url)y) or current wordclouds from my selected writers would be very helpful.


I agree with Ulrich (I think said it first) to de-duplicate items, even if (especially if) it's been read and deleted once already.
Artificial intelligence that recognizes, for example, that I almost never read local news bits in non-local newspapers, or letters in Opinion feeds.
Mad props and collegial agreement to everyone who wants like issues grouped together.
The scrolling ticker comment is intriguing. Good idea, Dennis!
A popup blocker that keeps a new tab from opening far off to the right, only to strand me at the umpteenth tab I have open to "get to it later." If you cannot send the popups to the blazing fires of hell that its creaters deserve, at least deliver me back to the tab I was manipulating when my browsing was pirated by one of these efficiency, productivity, and bandwidth thieves.

I'd like the ability to exclude certain folders when using the panic button. I want to see all updates for software upgrades for instance, but would love to get rid of some of the 'fluff' feed posts that I haven't looked at in a while.

In keeping with the subject "The future of feed reading"-- there is one thing that I've wished for, which only came to me after returning from a several-week sabbatical, and that is to be able to open up FeedDemon and to see a summary of what's been going on in the world or my subscribed feeds, taking into account popularity of posts (assuming this information is actually being reported in rss feed outputs), and possibly visually represent it in a more typically newspaper-like form. I like the concept that Mac users have access to with the 'Times' application: http://www.acrylicapps.com/times/

I would like the aggregator/reader to be able to corssreference posts and act on them as a unit.

Imagine I subscribe blog from weblogs.asp.net and also the global feed. If I mark one post read in one of the subscriptions, I want it to be marked read in all ocorrences.

Another thing is tracking if any link on a post is for a subscribed post.

In addition to that, I would like that, in both the previous cases, the post would be presented as a subtree node of the referencing post.

Have a look at SharpReader (http://www.sharpreader.net/). It has this nice features.

I need a subject filter so the increasing amounts of crud that infest feeds can be excluded.

I want powerful search and filtering so I don't have to use Yahoo Pipes, Feed Rinse, Feed Sifter, sites like that.

I want Watches for feeds that I specify, but don't subscribe to individually. I want to choose which feeds are in-scope for a particular Watch.

I want an iGoogle-style customisable dashboard.

ability to add tags to clippings
allow search of clippings by tag
ability to edit clippings
ability to create clippings from scratch

Most of the comments so far are ones I agree with, but above all I, too, would like the ability to recognize articles that are essentially duplicates. I believe the word "aggregator" originally used for feed readers has not lived up to its promise.

As for FeedDemon itself, the ability to set number of items per page on a per-feed basis would be of great benefit for efficient browsing.

In one word. TAGS!!!!!

That is the only thing keeping me from using Netnewswire on a regular basis. I would like the ability to tag the articles I use for personal use and blogging on my sites. I have to use Google Reader for that feature. The other thing I find useful in an RSS reader is the ability to share my tagged articles, and subscribe to that feed. That way I can subscribe to it with feedburner via e-mail and save it to archive in Gmail. I guess I have been using Google Reader for so long, I have found ways to back up my articles. If I was using Netnewswire, it would all be on my desktop for me to backup...But I need tags to sort all my articles...It is a must. Please add tagging/labelling, whatever it is called...

What I'd want has been mentioned already, so let me simply jump in with my vote for these features:
1. The reader should be able to identify and group posts referring to the same topic, or at a minimum posts pointing to the same url(s).
2. There should be some advanced integration scheme with note-taking applications such as OneNote and EverNote. One example of the current lack of integration is that selecting some text in FeedDemon and then right-clicking to "add it to EverNote" brings it over with a link to the temporary FeedDemon cache file, not to the original post.

FeedDemon is already a wonderful piece of software. Thank you for planning to make it even better:-)

Subfolders would be nice for me. It would be much easyer than today to organize many of the feeds.

Hello Nick,

What I would like to see is that the number of items shown is never bigger than what can be shown on one page. This way I won't have to scroll down just to scan through different pages.


I'd like integration with the Windows RSS platform so that feeds are also available in IE and Windows Live Mail and whatever app is open.


FD is a great product as is. Just a couple of things for me:

1. A simple toggle to prevent the images at the top of the screen from displaying. I like images in Flickr feeds, but not in BBC news items.

2. I'm impressed with the speed improvements but the one thing that I hate waiting for is the list of new posts that takes a few seconds to display when you restore FD from the system tray.

Hope you can understand this.

Of course these are tweaks to what is a great, well rounded product :)


There's some amazing feedback here - thank you for sharing it!

One common theme I see is the desire for your feed reader to help ease overload by grouping together common stories across different feeds. This was the impetus for the "Popular Topics" feature, but that's obviously just a starting point - I expect to make this much more of a focus going forward.

Another common theme is improved filtering, which I definitely want to add to FeedDemon. The ability to show/ignore posts based on pre-defined filters is something I'd like to see myself (ex: only show Boing Boing posts from a specific author, hide Engadget posts about the iPhone, etc.).

Great desktop feed reader! Appreciate the online sync with Newsgator. Agree to many of the possible enhancements above-especially improved organizing functions: Subfolders, tagging, etc. I'd like to add: Ability to sync Watches to Newsgator would be a useful feature. When I am at location without FeedDemon desktop application, I use NewsGator Online. My Watches are not available there. Watches are a very important feature to me. Keep up the good work.

I'd like a "blog this" button in NetNewsWire and FeedDemon, that let you dump a feedstory to e.g. a Wordpress blog.

I love the Watch folder functionality. It allows me to subscribe to many different feeds but not slog through them all to find articles of interest.

What I would love to see: the ability to exclude certain feeds from the watch. For example, let's say I want to watch for Richmond, VA news or whatever, but I subscribe to a University of Virginia feed or two. I don't necessarily need every single UVA article to show up in the Richmond watch since I already know the context of the UVA feed. I'd like to exclude that feed so the watch will only find related articles in the non-UVA feeds.

I love FeedDemon but if somehow you can add integration with Firefox and the ability to choose entries to selectable social networks (ala Shareaholics), FeedDemon is the one to beat in the future. Just my 2 cents.

I would vote for a portable version.

In fact, I found only two portable readers that worth mention: FeedReader and GreatNews. And both are far from perfect.

"The reader should be able to identify and group posts referring to the same topic, or at a minimum posts pointing to the same url(s)."


It would also be nice if FD understood which feeds I like to read and bubble those feeds to the top of the list of duplicated new stories. Even if I have to mark certain feeds as "perferred".

Thanks for all your hard work!!

Newsgator are doing a great job tending to my RSS habit however there are a few things as a power user that could aid me further :
* NetNewsWire to implement the personal aggregator that FeedDemon does - maybe this should be centralized on Newsgator.com so both FeedDemon and NetNewsWire can take advantage.
* Improve the read status updating - I still find articles on one reader which are read in one but not the other even though both sync to my Newsgator account (I have 2 NetNewsWire installs, a FeedDemon and also use the web service via both shared pcs and my mobile).
* A java or symbian implementation for my N95.

I want to utilise my subscriptions as a resource because I have too many to read so preferably I can see the populous stories in my subscriptions and then also conduct searches across all the posts from my subscriptions (even grouped based on the topics I have categorised them under) so I have an expert search engine.

I can't understand for the life of me why FeedDemon *still* doesn't have comment viewing & responding functionality baked in.

Aside from that, I'd like to tag posts in FeedDemon with MY tags (not Technorati), but I'd like to incorporate Technorati's as well.

Hi Nick,

I love your product and have used it since it was in beta (back in 2004 if my memory doesn't fail me).

My pet hate in Feeddemon is the fact that the button that allows you to show the page in your external browser is only available for clicking once the page has fully loaded in the feeddemon.

I frequently know that I want to look at a page in an external browser as soon as I click the initial link, however at least on my machine I usually have to wait till the page has fully loaded, sometimes more than 10 seconds before I can click the little firefox button.

Since you already know the URL to start loading the page, it should be trivial to show this button immediately, unless I am missing something.

Otherwise love the product!



what I love to see is the synchronize option that doesnt "stall" FD while it does its work.

I usualy press " Mark all feeds read" and then like to minimize it. I always have to wait till the little "Sync box" closes and then I have to minimize it...

Also :-)

a "Keep FD on top" option so I can open the feeds I want to read in a webbrowser without losing focus on FD.

Keep up the good work!

This idea I have: An additional "blog-flag" (similar to toggle flag) with a code generation of the blog flag items to include these items as a RSS feed in my blog, i.e. a daily press review.

@Bürger-Herold: If I understand your request correctly, I believe what you want can be accomplished with shared clippings. See this post for details: http://nick.typepad.com/blog/2007/05/feeddemon_25_sh.html

I think a lot of these things could be addressed by the community if there was a nice plug-in system. I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned. Or maybe it has and I missed it.

Beyond that:

1. I just read a post about a search definition. Some right click integration here would be cool. Like in Firefox, if I highlight and right-click, I have a "Search Google for 'highlighted word'" option. (I'm pretty sure that's part of the google search plugin, but still applicable.) Of course, that would be moot if...

2. Firefox integration. I know you've already posted about the difficulty this. But thought it deserved yet another mention.

3. The idea for a crazy AI algorithm that figures out what I tend to click on, read, pay attention to, etc, and shows me posts based on that would be absolutely awesome.

4. Subfolders. I know this is a popular request.

5. That "synchronizing" window someone mentioned -- why isn't that happening on a background thread? I'm sure there's a good reason, just seems strange.

As many people have said, the key thing for me is the NewsGator server architecture. I read the news on NewsGator Online at work, I classify and read bits and pieces on my iPod Touch, and I use NetNewsWire at home on my Mac. I also use FeedDemon periodically on my Vista machine, but I honestly can't get on with the UI (sorry Nick!). I tend to use NGO if I'm on my Windows box.

I used to have no use for RSS - I'd read the 15-20 sites I followed at work, then read them again at home, visually checking for updates. That was actually slightly quicker than having an RSS client at home which caused me to recheck all of the individual posts. I was using NNW minimally at home, thinking about buying it, and then suddenly it was all free. I started experimenting with NewsGator syncing, and suddenly RSS made sense to me. As it stands, I wouldn't consider moving to an RSS platform without the ability to sync between different clients.

What I would love to see is a more open NewsGator server sync system, with the ability for other clients to plug into it. I can see what this could make the existing client developers unhappy, but in the long run it could benefit the overall ecosystem enormously.

Since you asked ;-p

Bring back the old way to move and organize feeds (i.e. moving and deleting from one dialog window like it was in 1.x). The way it is now you can only do one at a time, manually, and you can't drag and drop if the feed list needs to be scrolled. As it is now, simple organization is more of a cumbersome chore than simple task (Look at how FireFox handles organizing it's bookmarks for reference)

Being able to edit the 'global' properties of multiple feeds would be nice - turning off the data collection for 600+ individual feeds was downright painful (even doing it by folder would be an improvement)

A stripped down plain-old feed reader without the "extras" would be nice. Having to uninstall FeeadStation every time I install a new FD version is a little annoying since there is no option to not install it in the first place. Syncing with newsgator was always impossible to use on my laptops since it would suck up all the memory and kill the internet connection (literally taking 15-30 seconds to change folders, and 20-30 minutes to update, if it would even complete updating at all!), and it caused problems even on newer machines for me as well - granted I haven't tried the latest version on the older laptop yet, but it's noticeably more responsive at least on a newer machine. Still, I've turned off the syncing on all my machines because it has simply never worked well enough for me to justify the huge hit on performance and connectivity. I'd be happy to be able sync the files to my own web server from within FD (I have been doing it manually since the beginning for the most part - compress the feed store folder and upload it to my server, and sync that between my other machines, then manually decompress it on each machine - WS_FTP's syncing program works great for this, although I still have to manually zip/unzip the files)

Oh, and FireFox support would be nice ;-) (even if unofficially, like the old days :p), because as it is I have to open everything in FF so I can avoid the crap that IE loves to automatically do, especially annoying flash sites that blast crap without warning.

In short - I just want to be able to simply read my feeds in one clean and neat package, maybe keep a few articles or track things with watches occasionally, and keep things organized easily - not have to fight and figure out how to do things it used to do simply and quickly.

(PS - your blog is telling me gmail address is invalid for some reason0

My big request is more of a near-term thing. I'd like to have more control over the media types NNW downloads automatically so I can differentiate between images, video and audio (don't need more detailed control unless you want to also add the ability to specify preferred file format downloads where a feed has multiple format options) so I can tell NNW to download images automatically for offline use but not video and audio, for example. At the moment the options are pretty limited.

One of the things I want the most in a feed reader is a page monitoring feature. Not every page out there has a RSS feed, and sometimes is nice to keep tabs on certain page you're interested in, either your typical news page, or something more exotic as an eBay auction.

I understand this falls a bit outside what a RSS reader is, and that there are various services that allows you to create feeds based on the changes detected in a page, but they're not exactly easy to set up, and they do not always provide the expected results. Also, there is only other newsreader with the same feature (Newzie), so that's why I'd like to see it in FeedDemon as well :)

Nick, great question and an awesome discussion.

Perhaps changing the direction a little: what do you think is the future of RSS? Do you think the concept of a 'feed reader' will become mainstream, or is it simply an artifact of the digerati crowd that is currently using it?

How does RSS / feed reading need to evolve to go 'mainstream'? I've been struggling with this one in my mind for a long time. My personal hunch is that the concept of a feed reader is a misnomer for the general consumer - we're still trying to sell SMTP, not email. Would love to hear your thoughts!

@Ilya: I think RSS readers _could_ have more mainstream appeal, but mainstream customers wouldn't want to deal with the firehose of information that today's RSS readers would bring them. IMO, we need to get away from the idea of subscribing to individual feeds and instead focus on bringing customers the information that's relevant to them.

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