Wednesday, August 27, 2003


I've been playing with FeedDemon, currently in beta. It's from Nick Bradbury, the guy who did HomeSite (a cool product in its own right)!

FeedDemon is an RSS News Reader for Windows. Using the RSS protocol, FeedDemon gathers news from a variety of sources, including news sites (eg BBC, Yahoo News), technology sites such as Microsoft Watch as well as on-line blogs, etc. In most cases, the information provided by RSS is the a summary of the content on a web page (but without formatting)

FeedDemon feels like a good Windows Based newsreader, which presents a set of channel groups. Each channel group contains a number of channels. A channel is a single feed from a site. One channel I get is BBC News Technology site. The home page for the web site is To get this site's RSS feed, you'd need to go to This XML document is then rendered by the RSS client application, e.g. a news aggregator such as FeedDemon. RSS feeds feature autodiscovery to make setting things up. And there are channels with links to other channels, etc. Getting channels into your reader is the easy thing. Getting time to read it all, however, is another.

What the news aggregator does is to go out to each configured channel on a regular basis, and download the channel's XML document. This document will contain all the items the site has. Each item has a title, a description, and a link. Once the XML document is obtained, any new items are then presented to the user. Since each news item has a link property, i.e. the URL to the full article, the publisher can decide on how much detail to provide in the item's desctiption, and how much should remain on the web site whose URL is included. In reality, depending on the feed, the item's description property can be anything from very little to the full text of the article.

FeedDemon is cool. It's got a ton of neat features for presentign this information. It helps you to combine information from a variety of sources. You can, in effect, make your own newspaper!

If I could, I'd set this blog up with RSS. As soon as blogger allows me to subscribe...

[update - this blog is now published with RSS!]