News that comes to you: SharpReader

News that comes to you is a good introduction to RSS Aggregators.

The aggregators I have personally used are Amphetadesk, FeedReader, Radio Userland and SharpReader. Ampetadesk was the first aggregator I used, but I did not like it's web interface, which is why I switched to FeedReader. I really liked FeedReader's 3 pane Outlook-like UI, but found the product too buggy. Since I was trying to teach myself C# at that time anyway, I figured writing my own RSS Aggregator in C# would be a great pet project. Using SharpDevelop, I quickly put something together that was good enough for my personal use, so I was able to retire FeedReader. SharpReader's UI is a mix between Internet Explorer and Outlook: it has an address-bar at the top so you can subscribe to feeds without having to open a dialog, and it's body consists of the familiar 3-pane outlook-layout. Some of the main features are:

  • Handles all RSS versions, modules like dublin core, content:encoding, etc.
  • Lets you group your subscribed feeds in categories.
  • Refresh settings per feed or category.
  • Reduces bandwidth usage through HTTP Conditional GETs
  • Many easy ways to subscribe to a feed:
    • Enter its URL in the address bar.
    • Drag a link from your browser into SharpReader's address-bar or subscriptions pane.
    • Click a Radio Userland subscription link.
  • RSS Autodiscovery: if new subscription URL turns out to be an HTML page, SharpReader searches for <link> and <a href> tags to try and find the URL to the page's RSS feed.
  • Minimizes to your systemtray. Icon changes when new items are read.
  • Easy keyboard navigation to go the next or previous unread item

I plan on releasing a beta soon, so check back here if you're looking for a good RSS Aggregator. In the mean time, here's a screen shot:


Oh I mentioned I also used Radio Userland. "Use" may be too strong a word here - I had a brief look at it after setting up my Radio Weblog, and didn't like it for the same reason I did not like Amphetadesk: it's web-based. There's a place for web-based applications, but IMHO, RSS Aggregators aren't it.


Luke, I am working on a configuration platform that allows plugins to manage their own configuration through a ApplicationRegistry type settings provider. I'm in final unit testing of the second release.

With this..
You could use auto discovery for the plugins, and then the plug-in can access the applications settings registry to allow custom configuration of the plug-in through a key that the plug-in it self manages.

Add on top of that an IPropertySheet passed to the main application from the plug-in and you can now dynamicly intergrate "unknown" plugins into the applications properties/configuration.

Posted by Amber Star at May 8, 2003 6:40 PM
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