A Brief Note on RSS Aggregators (for Beginners)

by William Grosso

Related link: http://www.bradsoft.com/feeddemon/index.asp

Over the past month or so, I've been polling people and asking "Who uses an RSS aggregator" (and, quite often, backing off to "Who knows about RSS"). It turns out that, even in the software community, not a lot of people are using aggregators (though it's starting to occur).

So, to help out in a very small way, I offer the following advice: WildGrape is a very good "starting aggregator" (people tend to "get" the idea very quickly). On the downside, it requires .NET 1.1, and the project looks a little moribund right now.

On the slightly less-friendly-but-possibly-more-advanced front
FeedDemon is the best aggregator I've found (for Windows). Note that I'm not claiming categorical coolness, or "best possible," just that it suits me.

Note that both of these really do need pop-up blockers. Why would anyone build an RSS aggregator (or any other application that views web pages) and not include a popup blocker?

But since the starter feeds in both of those are limited, I figured I'd go once step further and offer a new starter set, right here, on this blog.

Click here to download them.

There are only 100 or so feeds here (I cleaned a few out, to make this a more manageable list) and the categorization is a bit off-kilter (I tend to put people with strong voices in the "pundits" category) but ... if you download an aggregator and want to quickly add some feeds, these might help.

The obvious disclaimers: I don't get any money from any of this. I don't know the people who built the RSS aggregators, and I don't know most of the people writing on the weblogs mentioned here. And if I left your site off the list, it's not because you're not special. It's because I felt like limiting it to a small set of "central" feeds.

Where do you go to find feeds that might be of interest?


2003-12-12 12:01:41
UserLand's Radio
I use Radio to put up my site. It is a blogging content manager, a syndicator, and a news aggregator all rolled into one.

So. I use Radio and it works great.

2003-12-12 14:01:15
UserLand's Radio
I've never used Radio Userland, though I'm sure it's nice (Dave Winer is the leader in RSS and blogging, and I'm sure his tools are great).

These are more limited tools; they don't help you build sites. But I think they might be easier to understand (easier to "get the RSS idea") than a more comprehensive tool. And they're free right now, which makes them great for an introduction to the space.

2003-12-13 02:18:21
Other RRS Readers?
Hallo everybody,

what about other RRS Readers? Only two named seemed me to be very few. I use FeedReader (FreeReader) and find him very usefull.

best greetings, Thomas (herold@zauberwald,net)

2003-12-13 12:44:09
Does Bloglines.com Count?
What exactly is an "RSS aggregator"?

Does http://bloglines.com count as one? It sure feels like one to me.

The part I like (as a blogger myself) about Bloflines.com is that it fetches my RSS feeds only once per hour, no matter how many of its users subscribe to me feed.

2003-12-18 18:47:19
I'm reading this from the O'Reilly Network Weblogs RSS feed pulled by a Windows program called Awasu (www.awasu.com).

The newest (Beta) version allows me to sync my office and home PCs, although it requires a manual "export" and "import" from a drive/sftp share I can get to from both places. Of course, if you actually turn off your computers, it can auto-export and auto-import on shutdown/startup.