Choosing my new RSS reader

As I stated in a previous post, duplicate RSS items is my #1 Thunderbird bug. I recently decided to look for alternatives.

Stand-alone RSS readers are out of the question. I prefer to view the actual webpage of the RSS item, instead of the summary. I get to read the comments, and it makes placing a comment much quicker (thanks blogger.com, for only offering atom feeds. -( ). As a result, I think I would be much better off with a Firefox or Thunderbird extension. This way, I make sure the Gecko rendering engine is used.

I should first explain why I don’t use Firefox’s live bookmarks feature. It’s a nice feature, but it does not indicate which RSS items I have read, and which ones are new. I don’t want to have to reread through the list of items on every RSS feed to see if I recognize the titles. Live bookmarks is a nice technology demo, but I have trouble finding a practical use for it.

So I looked at the RSS extensions available. I tried Forumzilla a few months ago on the Mozilla Application Suite and Netscape 7, having been told to add it to http://ilias.ca/MozillavsFirefox. It would not remember any RSS feeds I entered, let alone fetch items. It seems to work for others, so I assume the problem was local.

Next, I had look at Aggreg8. According to the Aggreg8 weblog, development on Aggreg8 has ceased, and Habarixenu is recommended. So I tried Habarixenu. I quickly uninstalled it, after finding no way to set it to display the actual webpage of an RSS item.

So I went to addons.mozilla.org, and saw Wizz RSS. It has the layout I’m looking for. It also has the stupidest caveat I’ve seen in an RSS reader: You have to store your feed list on the Wizz Computers server. Buh-bye.

Next, I tried Sage. It has a good user interface. It keeps track of which items are read and unread. It has a nice “check feeds” button, which checks for new items on all my feeds, and puts an indicator beside those feeds, which have new items. My only problem with it is that the list of items kept on the list is not controlled, like it is in Thunderbird. I like to hold on to certain blog posts, that I find helpful. I suppose simply bookmarking them would do the trick.

And so, I chose Sage as my new RSS reader.

8 Responses

  1. Chris Ilias April 5, 2005 / 10:39 pm

    Thanks for telling me. I just tried NewsFox. The UI is very nice (almost exactly like Thunderbird); and I like the ability to hold on to items that are no long in the feed file.

    But;
    NewsFox does not display the webpage of the RSS item.

  2. Andy Frank April 21, 2005 / 8:40 am

    I’ll try to add that feature for the next version.

  3. Skye May 11, 2005 / 4:31 pm

    I thought I was the only person in the universe who liked to view the web page itself rather than just the content – since this feature is almost non-existent in the current world of aggregators. And every time I ask people for suggestions for a new aggregator and EXPLICITLY state that as a criterion, I get back suggestions that don’t do that! So thanks for the post. :)

  4. jessiec February 16, 2006 / 3:36 pm

    I pretty much ended up on Sage for my personal news reading for myself until I saw this: http://www.alesti.org/

    Once you get it setup, it fit with my style of reading, both in terms of the UI and functionality. I adjusted to it quickly. It’s only been a few weeks but so far I haven’t found a downside big enough to leave it. It has been down a couple of times but bounced back shortly.

    Anyway, thought it might be helpfull

  5. TMaYaD July 11, 2006 / 5:58 pm

    I tried sage as well. But hate it when it opens into main window as soon as I click the feed title. I want it to load the topics/posts in bottom half of sidebar and open in sidebar like only on double click.

    Also I like the flock style aggregating new feeds in the first page/collection page so that I don’t have to scroll through the long list of feeds to find new feed in the bottom most post.

  6. dh4 April 3, 2007 / 12:41 pm

    If you are having problems with duplicate messages in Thunderbird try this extension:

    Remove Duplicate Messages

    http://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/956/

    It won’t stop you from getting duplicate messages but it WILL allow you to delete them with one right-click menu selection

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