Windows RSS Platform

October 9, 2006

Finally, Windows has stepped up to the plate and has begun to leverage their OS to enhance their Web 2.0 offerings. As a part of the launch of IE7 (and with Vista), Windows XP will have a sub layer for RSS communications called the “Windows RSS Platform”. As RSS becomes more and more a part of our daily life (with or without or knowledge) a subsystem integrated in the OS will offer some unique benefits. NewsGator has already begun to take advantage of this with a new beta project which will constantly update your NewsGator online site with RSS feeds and notify you when feeds are updated.

From the “MSDN“:

As part of the RSS support in Windows Internet Explorer 7, users can
discover and subscribe to RSS feeds within the browser. When the user
subscribes to a feed, it is added to the Common Feed List,
which is available for clients to use in addition to or instead of
their own list. For example, in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, the
user’s subscription list can import feeds from the Common Feed List.
This enables the discovery of feeds within Internet Explorer and then
for those discovered feeds to appear in other applications.

I have been trying various approaches to managing my feeds (see the posts I had about Sage and the almost defunct News Reader from Flock). Everything from Web sites to applications. The key features for me are:
1.) Display the feeds that I subscribe to and how many new posts there are
2.) Allow me to easily add feeds to my list (this is the most challenging portion so far – without FeedDemon this is next to impossible)
3.) Let me mark either an individual post as read or an entire feed as read
4.) Display a formatted post (HTML please) in the browser pane. I prefer the full post but will settle for excerpts as long as they are longer than Digg excerpts
5.) It would be nice to post a feed item directly to del.icio.us without actually downloading the feed
6.) This would be essential – download the contents of the feed and allow me to read it off-line (this one is only available in applications now)
7.) The ability to group and order  feeds at will

When you use Firefox a lot (like I do) and you want to have a single source list of Feeds then you are out of luck unless you commit to one company for feed delivery. Sounds like the “Common Feed List” approach is the right one. “Store all of my feeds on my computer in a common directory and then add API calls to that feed list”. That way service providers (Feed Readers) can offer their features without applying a burden to the user to “constantly” import/export the feeds. Don’t get me wrong I am fan of OPML but it gets a bit annoying having to keep a constant updated OPML file every-time I want to demo a new Feed Reader.

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