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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

ANN: FeedDemon 1.5 Beta 1 with Bloglines Integration

I'm pleased to announce the release of FeedDemon 1.5 BETA 1. In case you haven't already read about this in Scoble's blog, the big news is that this beta release includes integration with Bloglines. Here's some background on how this came to be:

A few months ago I read a comparison of RSS readers which described FeedDemon and Bloglines as competitors, and that didn't sit right with me. It seemed to me that our customers would be better served if we worked together instead of being competitors. Many FeedDemon customers were asking for a way to synchronize their feeds between multiple computers, and I'd read a number of comments from Bloglines users stating that while they loved the seamless synchronization, they preferred the flexibility of a desktop application. So I sent an email to Mark Fletcher asking if he'd be interested in providing a way for FeedDemon users to access their Bloglines subscriptions - and it turned out that he already thinking along these lines, and wrote back with details of a synchronization API his team was working on.

Over the next few weeks I worked with Mark to simplify the API, and his team did a great job providing a lot of functionality through a simple RESTful API that's very easy to support. The end result is that FeedDemon (and soon NetNewsWire and BlogBot) offers integration with Bloglines, enabling you to keep your feeds synchronized between multiple computers.

Starting with version 1.5, FeedDemon users can create a Bloglines Channel Group from their Bloglines subscriptions. When viewing a Bloglines Channel Group, items you read in Bloglines won't show up in FeedDemon, and items you download in FeedDemon won't show up as unread in Bloglines. It's very easy to synchronize with your Bloglines subscriptions so that FeedDemon reflects feeds you add or remove from Bloglines.

If you're an existing FeedDemon customer, stop by the FeedDemon Beta Site to download FeedDemon 1.5 beta 1. While you're downloading, you'll want to read the release notes since there are a lot of other changes in this new version you'll want to know about. Note that the final release of version 1.5 will be a free upgrade for all FeedDemon customers.

Update: NetNewsWire's Brent Simmons posted his thoughts on the Bloglines integration here and here.

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Comments

This is awesome, but does it synchronize 'read' status for each news items too?

I just downloaded the 1.5 beta, created a Bloglines channel and it downloaded all my feed into and displayed the read status properly. When I returned back to the Bloglines web site, all of my feeds were marked as read.

Now Bloglines is only showing items that were new since I imported my settings into FeedDemon.

Is it also safe to move all items out of the Bloglines master group after the import, into my own group setup?

Posted by: Joost Schuur at Sep 28, 2004 10:37:22 AM

Joost, the way it works is that FeedDemon only downloads items you haven't already read in Bloglines, and when an item is downloaded in FeedDemon, it's marked as read in Bloglines. We considered one-to-one item synching, so that an item isn't marked read in Bloglines until you've actually read it in FeedDemon, but the added bandwidth consumption and performance cost didn't make this worthwhile, IMO.

Posted by: Nick Bradbury at Sep 28, 2004 10:46:24 AM

To clarify... it marked all my feeds as read in Bloglines even before I actually read them all in FD.

Posted by: Joost Schuur at Sep 28, 2004 10:49:42 AM

That makes sense.

Consider this real life example though: User subscribers to a lot of feeds (~300 here). Wakes up in the morning just to browse a few of them, fires up FD. If he only has time to scan a few, none of the new posts from overnight will be visible to him in Bloglines anymore when he comes to the office later that morning.

Your current compromise assumes that you either read all new posts in one sitting, or have to use Bloglines if you just want to have 'a quick look'.

Posted by: Joost Schuur at Sep 28, 2004 10:52:59 AM

The items are still visible in Bloglines after being marked as read by FeedDemon. Bloglines normally shows only unread items so by default the items downloaded in FeedDemon won't appear, but you can change this by selecting a timeframe in the "Display items" selection at the bottom of the page.

Posted by: Nick Bradbury at Sep 28, 2004 11:00:26 AM

What a brilliant solution!!

Posted by: pb at Sep 28, 2004 11:10:23 AM

This is fabulous, especially the Bloglines sync.

Congratulations!

Posted by: Neville Hobson at Sep 28, 2004 11:10:40 AM

Sure they're visible in Bloglines... but the status is set to 'read'. I'd have to go through each of my feeds to check for new postings manually.

If automated bandwidth usage is a concern, perhaps a user driven 'Manu read status sync' option would be an idea.

Posted by: Joost Schuur at Sep 28, 2004 11:14:40 AM

great! just what i've been looking for :)

Posted by: geeky at Sep 28, 2004 11:23:15 AM

Ooh, this is very nice. Just a few feature requests though. First of all it would be nice if the directories spawned channel groups or some how split up. Its really annoying having all folders in one bang view.

Another thing that would be nice is if our current channel groups could be made into Bloglines channel groups and the appropraite functions created in Bloglines...

Posted by: Arvind at Sep 28, 2004 11:28:32 AM

Very cool, especially being able to sync with both OS X and Windows clients. Is there any way to preserve my Bloglines folder structure in FeedDemon?

Posted by: eric at Sep 28, 2004 1:08:37 PM

This is good idea. This is a step in the right direction to solving the RSS bandwidth problem. Bloglines only needs to hit the rss feed once for all feed deamon users rather once per user. This should elminate a lot of traffic from Feed Demon to the end site. I just hope Bloglines has some serious horsepower and bandwidth to back all this up.

Posted by: Christopher Baus at Sep 28, 2004 4:50:11 PM

Very nice. I finally might get back into using a desktop rss reader. A good enhancement would be if Feedreader would also display the categories and group the blogs into categories same as with Bloglines. In a sense, it would create a new channel for each category in bloglines or something. I will leave you to figure it out ;)

Posted by: Oliver Thylmann at Oct 1, 2004 6:34:24 AM