Recently I found out that I was missing out on one of the newest and best sources of information on the web… Blogs. Not really Blogs as much as RSS feeds. There were a few different Blogs that I would visit from time to time (and some daily, like Aspose : ) … however, that was about the extent of my Blog experience. I’d seen the catchy little, orange RSS icons (and subscribe links)… even clicked on a few and saw that bunch of nasty looking XML it spit out to my screen… but I had no idea how useful they could be. Around a week or so ago I was asked to subscribe to a few different Blogs to keep current on some topics and in turn was forced to learn more about the world of RSS.
I knew there had to be something to those catchy little RSS icons, so I began to do some digging. After just a bit of searching I had found there are all kinds of “RSS Feed Readers” available to make use to RSS URLs. I found web applications, desktop applications and tons of both. I was really quite overwhelmed at all of the options. I decided the best thing I could do is come up with everything I was looking for in an RSS reader and begin my search. My needs were simple (so I thought):
- I was looking for something in a desktop model
- I wanted a familiar looking interface (something kind of Outlook’ish)
- I wanted to be able to categorize my feeds
- I wanted to be able to view all of my unread feeds in one consolidated screen
- Actually seeing a consolidated screen of my different categories would be better
- I wanted to be able to take feeds I really like and move them to a special folder
- I wanted to be able to forward posts I really liked via email
- I wanted a nice little notification (again similar to Outlook) to appeared when new stuff was ready
- I wanted a good layout so that I didn’t have to scroll all over the place to read a post
- And I’ll be honest… I was hoping to find something free
I really hate hunting for software, because inevitably I always end up having to install a dozen applications and then hope and pray that when I remove them their uninstall application will work properly (knowing in the back of my mind I would be left with a load of unneeded directories, files and registry entries). After about five or six different tries I was finally able to find one that did everything I wanted and much, much more. What was really nice about the application was that it was extremely easy to use but offered more advanced features (which were there without being in the way).
I’ve been using this new, magical “RSS Feed Reader” for around three days now and have been totally delighted. The name of the application is RSS Bandit. It is a freeware application hosted on Sourceforge and is written in .NET (which for some odd reason made it even more appealing to me). Since I have found this wonderful new tool, I decided the best thing I could do is try to share it with others. If you do not have a good RSS Feed Reader and like to stay informed, I think RSS Bandit does a top notch job. I know, starting something new like that always seems like a hassle… but it was really painless.
RSS Bandit comes preloaded with a bunch of different RSS feeds installed. I deleted all of the presets except for two: the daily Dilbert cartoon and Slashdot news. From a .NET technology standpoint I found two sites loaded with great list of .NET centric Blogs:
The MSDN Asp.NET site (tons of great Blog links and Blog collection links):
And the DotNetSlackers Combined Feed Tool (Which allows you to create one feed from many different sites):
Both sites are packed full with a lot of great feeds. If you get a chance to try it out, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have… and if you do and get a chance – pass it along to others. I’ve got a feeling there are a whole lot of people out there (similar to myself) who have simply not taken the time to find out how this new technology can work for them.