July 02, 2004
IzyNews -- RSS in Any E-mail Client

This is pretty cool: IzyNews is a new product that integrates RSS into your e-mail client (a la Newsgator), but unlike Newsgator, it’s not tied to any one client — it can add RSS reading to any e-mail program — Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, Mozilla, and so on. What’s more, there’s no software to install, and all your feed information is stored on IzyNews’ servers, so your subscriptions follow you around as you roam — meaning that if you use Mozilla Mail at home and Outlook at work, changes you make to your IzyNews feeds in one will automatically sync to the other.

Like I said, pretty cool :-)

The way they pull this off is by providing a service that acts as a translator, taking RSS and converting it into IMAP. That way, any IMAP-enabled mail client (i.e., just about all of them) will see the feeds as just another set of folders in a remote mailbox. The company behind it, IzySoft, have been providing solutions based on on-the-fly translation into IMAP for several years now (for example, their fine IzyMail product allows you to pull Webmail from providers like Hotmail and Yahoo into your e-mail client through IMAP translation) so extending the approach to RSS makes a lot of sense.

Oh, and it’s free — at least for now (while it’s still in beta).

I tested out the service and it works just as advertised — it even imported my current list of 178 feeds, exported from Wildgrape NewsDesk as an OPML file, without a hitch. So if your current newsreader exports OPML and you want to switch to IzyNews, doing so would be a snap.

Kudos to the team at Izy for such a well-thought-out and executed service!

UPDATE: Turns out my OPML import didn’t go as well as I thought — my file had some errors in it that caused IzyNews to not know how to process some of the feeds properly. I sent an e-mail about the issue to their support line, though, and the problem was resolved within 4 hours — pretty good for a free product, and for a problem that was caused by user stupidity! :-)

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at July 02, 2004

Thanks for the compliments and just to set the expectations right:

> on-the-fly translation into IMAP

IzyNews does not pick the RSS feeds in real time. There can be a small delay until an update becomes available. The time delay depends on past and anticipated future feed activity.

This approach allows us to aggregate subscriptions from multiple users into one network request. The motivation for doing so is here and in other places:
(Will RSS Readers Clog the Web?)

> my file had some errors in it that caused ...

Your OPML file was just fine. The error was on our end, a misinterpretation of the (IMHO grossly underspecified) format.

Posted by: Ulrich Schwanitz on July 5, 2004 3:58 AM
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