Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bye Bye RSS Bandit, Hello FeedDemon, Thanks NetNewsWire

I have been using RSS Bandit on Windows for years now to aggregate all my feeds, and I have been happy with the application. On the Mac, I use NetNewsWire. Ranchero, the makers of NetNewWire, were purchased by NewsGator in late 2005. I purchased a license to the full NetNewsWire right after Ranchero was purchased because I was guarenteed to get free updates to the full version for years, it already had synching to .Mac for use across all my Macs, and free subscription to NewsGator, how could I lose? NetNewsWire is one of the best apps I have ever used, it was one of the few Christmas presents I bought for myself. With NetNewsWire 2.1 Beta 33 enabling the NewsGator subscription setup and fixing a bunch of synching issues, I finally turned off .Mac syncing and enabled NewsGator synching. Biggest immediate improvement, synching now just happens while feeds are refreshed unlike with .Mac which has to be manually triggered (this I think is a design choice, but it was an annoyance). I then looked at the NewsGator synching support in RSS Bandit on Windows to see if I could get the holy grail, One Feed List To Rule Them All! Alas, RSS Bandit having full automatic synching support seems unlikely given project lead Dare Obasanjo's feelings on the NewsGator API. With some reluctance, I downloaded FeedDemon 2.0 for Windows and installed it. First thing I am impressed with, I have a full license to the product because NetNewsWire 2.1 Beta 33 has already given me a full subscription to NewsGator for 2 years! Great, at least I won't have to pay for this if I don't like it. I then give it my NewsGator account info and run it for the first time. Wow, the app is very responsive, I can feel the speed over RSS Bandit, which I had never considered slow before. UI is clean and doesn't waste a lot of space, a personal pet peeve of mine. The speed is really impressive, (this is not a .NET app, not sure if that accounts for the speed, but...) so much so that I go back to RSS Bandit and export my feeds to OPML, which I am grateful both apps support. I do a little editing and then import the list into FeedDemon. I think I am ready to uninstall RSS Bandit because I have finally merged my Windows and Mac feed lists (which had slightly diverged just due to my laziness at manually merging all the time). FeedDemon 2 can also sync to NewsGator subscription changes when feeds are refreshed (this is not the default, I had to turn this on to mimic NetNewsWire). I don't have to pay the NewsGator $19.95 a year for this level of synching until April 2008, but for a news junkie like me, I think I have just found nirvana. If anyone wants to keep track of their feeds cross-box, cross-platform, or both, this stuff is killer and I highly recommend getting on board. The only thing I haven't tried yet is firing up NetNewsWire to see how it handled all the changes I just made to my feed list, but I have faith in Brent Simmons, lead developer of NetNewsWire.