Monday, March 14, 2005

FeedDemon-Bloglines synchronization

There's nothing like a little hands-on testing to blow a theory completely out of the water. For a while now, I've thought that FeedDemon's ability to synchronize with Bloglines would make it a viable candidate for an internal feed reader, because it would let you read both internal and external feeds from your corporate desktop while still letting you read your external feeds from anywhere without duplication. Unfortunately, that's not how it actually works.

The help page says:
Unlike "normal" channels, Bloglines Channels contain only the items you haven't already read through Bloglines. Likewise, items you read in FeedDemon won't appear as new in Bloglines. This enables you to read your subscriptions in either FeedDemon or Bloglines without duplication of items you've already read.

Sounds great, right? The first part works just like advertised. FeedDemon only downloads what I haven't read in Bloglines. For part two, thought, it turns out, that "read" doesn't actually mean read. It means "downloaded into FeedDemon." Yep, that's right. Items I've never read and that are marked as unread in FeedDemon are all marked read in Bloglines. I'm now forced to read those items in FeedDemon (or guess how far back in need to go in Bloglines and deal with duplicates). A rather Clintonesque definition of both "read" and "synchronize" if you ask me.

This is beyond lame. I used to be a fan of FeedDemon, but it now drops to the bottom of my list. I'm also left trying to find a viable alternative. I really need an internal equivalent of Bloglines that will intelligently link with the public Bloglines service.


Blogger Spike Washburn said...

Unfortunately, this is a limitation of the BlogLines API, not FeedDemon. Bloglines worked with a few of the RSS aggregator vendors to create an API that was easy for them to create and for RSS readers to consume. Given that even the bloglines service doesn't support marking individual items as read, it was highly unlikely they'd be able to support it in their API.

I totally agree that this is not an ideal solution but I think they meant it to be a "good enough" start for a lot of BlogLines users. Hopefully, Bloglines will create a more extensive API in the future.

Disclaimer: I work for Onfolio which also has an aggregator

10:09 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Thanks for the info, Spike. My biggest beef isn't the lack of control of individual items, but rather the fact that every feed that is downloaded is marked read.

While marking an entire feed at a time can be unwieldy and definitely affects my reading patterns, it is manageable. Marking every single item read in Bloglines read just isn't.

So it's the API. Get on with fixing it, Mr. Diller. Until then, I think that it might just be easier to deal with two aggregators.

8:41 AM  

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