Scalable RSS Aggregators

Dave Winer points to a post by Andrew Grumet. Says Andrew:

I like everything on one page: the less clicking I have to do, the better. The “everything on one page” style lets me quickly scan a post and decide whether read it closely before deleting. Excepting mainstream media feeds, lead-ins usually don’t give me enough information to decide, and I wind up having to click anyway.

The likely objection here is that one’s aggregator page can get long. Hence we have the three-pane aggregators. These are supposed to help us manage large amounts of data by providing segregated views and a folder system. But in my hands, at least, this “scalability” encouraged bad habits. I wound up with thousands of undeleted messages in my various SharpReader folders. It was the worst aspects of email, all over again.

Try an aggregator that doesn’t scale. Like this one or this one. It will force you to work through the posts, and help you do it quickly. Don’t worry about stuff that you didn’t have time to read. Just delete it. Remember, it’s not email. The data will (probably) remain out there on the Web where you can get to it later if you really need to.

Dave endorses the view, stating that “the three-pane `feed reader’ is a disaster, it’s merely recreating a mess I want to run away from. I like having a new queue every few hours.”

I think I have hit upon the ideal solution: a single folder with all the RSS items in an email client, like what our Info Aggregator does for the following reasons:

– it allows me to work within an application I know very well (the email client) and not learn (or download) something new
– the IMAP support ensures that I have a sync-ed RSS store irrespective of the computer I access it from
– the single folder elimintaes the wastage of working through differetn folders. Email clients have a sort on the source, so in case I want to view (or delete) all feeds by date or source, it is a matter of a couple clicks.
– search within the feeds is possible via the email client search itself

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.