Aggregators Attack Info Overload

Ok, so it's not quite a slashdot-effect, but Ryan Singel's article on has already referred over a thousand people to, surpassing my weblog as the #1 referrer. Articles like this are good because they introduce RSS and aggregators to a whole new audience. The vast majority of web-users has still never heard of RSS and does not have a clue about what an aggregator is or what it can do for them. And all the weblog posts and links in the world won't reach this audience as they typically don't read those either. Articles on more mainstream sites like wired do though - thanks, Ryan!

Dave responds to the story with disappointment on the omission of Radio, and again states his belief that an aggregator should not mimic an email client, but should simply display all news-items in a single list in reverse-chronological order. As Diego posted a few days ago though, some three-pane aggregators (SharpReader being one of them) implement the best of both worlds by adding functionality to show such a list when the user selects a category instead of an individual feed.

Different people have different preferences though - some prefer a web-based aggregator like Amphetadesk or Radio, while others would rather use a three-pane aggregator like SharpReader. For me personally, the web-based approach did not work - I started out with Amphetadesk, but did not "get" the real power of RSS and aggregators until I switched to a three-pane aggregator (FeedReader). IMHO, three-pane aggregators are simply more user-friendly than web-based ones. Things like keyboard shortcuts, new post notification or drag-and-drop subscriptions would be very hard to implement in a web-based aggregator. So would article-threading, which to me is still SharpReader's #1 killer feature, and which I would not want to live without anymore.

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Types of Aggregators
Dave Winer on types of aggregators:There are two schools of thought about aggregators. One says that they should work like a mail reader, the other that it should work like a weblog. The former shows you each feed as a...

Trackback from Ten Reasons Why at August 19, 2003 1:02 PM

It's typical and expected that Dave thinks an article on RSS is flawed if it doesn't mention Radio, but it's perfectly reasonable for the rest of us; Radio is not just an aggregator, and it ain't free or cheap like the others mentioned, either.

Posted by Tomas at August 19, 2003 1:25 PM

What about three panel aggregators like FeedDemon? or a customizable view like Macromedia Central?

Posted by Phil at August 19, 2003 2:27 PM

What matters is that people are using the rss feeds. I use both and in different ways. I like Amphetadesk, it works well on certain types of information for me. And SharpReader does well for other types. Why do we have to argue about it. Let's just get along.

Bob M.

Posted by Bob Morton at August 19, 2003 5:28 PM

RSS Comments
RSS Comments - Full Circle. Coming Soon I Hope.

Trackback from Scott Watermasysk On .NET at August 22, 2003 10:22 AM

What is article threading? I can't find any references to it in the help menu of sharpreader

Posted by Uzer at August 26, 2003 10:01 AM

Article threading is SharpReader's ability to show items in context. If you subscribe to 2 feeds that contain items that link to eachother (ie one description would be something like "x said this but I think..." where "this" is a link to an item in another feed you subscribe to), SharpReader's headline-view will show a treeview-like [+] in front of one of the headlines allowing you to expand it and see other headlines in feeds you subscribe to that are either linked to by this item, or that link to this item themselves.

Posted by Luke Hutteman at August 26, 2003 4:20 PM

The weblog aggregator interface is much better for scanning articles. I also really like Radio's interface for deleting posts when I'm done reading them. Just hit the delete button at the bottom of the page and those stories are gone. It's much faster for catching up on dozens of feeds.

Posted by Drew at August 26, 2003 6:01 PM

Is down at the moment?

Using wget on it results in a 302 re-direc back here.

- Just thought you'd like to know.

Fantastic bit of code BTW :)

=> `index.html'
Resolving done.
Connecting to[]:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 302 Found
Location: [following]
=> `index.html'
Resolving done.
Connecting to[]:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 26,975 [text/html]

Posted by Chris at August 27, 2003 8:12 AM

Chris: Sorry about's unavailability - I was trying to setup a redirect yesterday from to but this inadvertently also made redirect there (they're both hosted on the same account).

The redirect has been removed and is available again now.

Posted by Luke Hutteman at August 27, 2003 9:37 AM

So it is.

Well done.

Would this index.html in / help?
[title]Meta Redirect Code[/title]
[meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url=/blog/"]


Posted by Chris at August 27, 2003 10:02 AM

Chris: that's what I was originally using (and am now using again) - I just thought a server-side redirect was a "cleaner" solution.


Posted by Luke Hutteman at August 27, 2003 10:15 AM

Is the source code for SharpReader available?

Posted by Husain at August 28, 2003 3:22 PM

This may be of some use.

Linked to the guts of the article rather than the intro.

Posted by Chris at August 29, 2003 5:36 AM

Finishing Off My PayPal Account

Trackback from HDConsultants.text at August 29, 2003 7:10 PM

I have a problem with Sharpreader when trying to run the exe under Windows 2000

The dynamic link library mscoree.dll could not be found in the specific path c:\extract; etc

Posted by michael milne at September 4, 2003 8:08 AM

HELP! Luke

I've lost all my subscriptions in Sharpreader this morning. Just left some default RSSs installed by SR. There were many valuable locked items in it! What's the problem?

Posted by isaac at September 9, 2003 8:11 PM

Hey Luke, I just downloaded sharpreader--thanks for your hard work. I'm having trouble getting it to aggregate validated sites however. I keep getting an error message that says it could not connect to the remote server.

Any ideas?

Thanks a million!

Posted by jared at September 12, 2003 2:44 PM
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