Awasu » Awesomely cool features
Monday 31st July 2006 1:25 PM [General]

We try to include at least one really cool feature for each beta release. For 2.2.1, we added offline feed item/images and the new channel templates while for 2.2.3, it was the powerful metadata processing features and the significantly improved speed.

For 2.2.4, we're already in the process of laying the groundwork for an awesomely cool new feature: the ability to synchronize Awasu with online browser-based feed readers. Awasu's current synchronization capability is already very powerful and comprehensive but it's Awasu-to-Awasu only. Sometimes you just want access to your feeds from a browser, without having to install Awasu (e.g. at an Internet cafe).

Thing is, we're having a bit of trouble finding a decent online feed reader to synchronize with :roll:. We were hoping to be able to work with Google Reader but it's API is not well-suited for the bulk updates that would be required. It'll work but it will be insanely slow. Feed Lounge has a very nice interface but no suitable API. Attensa's online reader is also nice but ditto for the API πŸ™

In fact, the best option we've found so far is Gregarius. It's open source so we can add the necessary API to it ourselves but the problem is that it needs to be hosted (i.e. you need to set it up on your own server). We can provide a limited service during the testing phase but this is definitely not something we want to be doing on a large scale once the Awasu beta is released.

Does anyone know of a decent online feed reader that has an API that we can use to synchronize with?

9 Responses to this post

Newsgator is a pretty good one - and from what i hear, its got a fairly decent api.
That said, not sure if you'd have to pay $$$ for access to their api, seeing you're a direct competitor to one of their existing products.

Yah, we did think of NewsGator but there are obvious commercial considerations wrt sync'ing with a competitor's network πŸ™‚

I've found Bloglines to be most suitable for me of the online aggregators I've tried. In fact, I'm using it more and more for feeds that I want to check also when away from home or work, travelling etc. They have an API, but I haven't taken a close look at it. A lot of applications (notifiers etc.) use it, though.

API documentation is at http://www.bloglines.com/services/api/

I'll never switch all the feeds I'm reading to Bloglines, but it would be very cool to be able to sync those feeds that I have there with Awasu to read them too in my favorite reader when I'm at my computer.

The Bloglines sync API is really lacking for this kind of thing. I wrote about it here.

BTW, the new sync feature we're working on now will work as you described: you will be able to select a subset of your channels and only sync them.

The opinion quoted in the post you referred to said, "it primarily acts as a way for Bloglines to use various desktop aggregators as a UI for viewing a user’s Bloglines subscriptions".

That would actually be exactly what I'm looking for. That way, I'd be able to read my Bloglines subscriptions in Awasu, along with all the other feeds I subscribe only in Awasu (because the amount I read would probably overwhelm any online reader, as well as any client with a lesser UI). And continue to read only the Bloglines feeds via the web interface when away.

Of course I can continue reading the Bloglines feeds in Bloglines only, but I'm missing all the wonderful features of Awasu that way.

>>> That way, I’d be able to read my Bloglines subscriptions in Awasu, along with all the other feeds I subscribe only in Awasu

There are problems with how this would work. For example, feeds would need to be created in Bloglines and then transferred into Awasu. There's no way to do it the other way around. Ditto for tracking read items: Awasu would be able to sync to whatever is in Bloglines but not vice versa. This one-way nature of their API really makes it unsuitable for us. Users would expect to be sync in both directions.

It's an enormous amount of work on our part to add a lot of value for Bloglines users but significantly less for Awasu users πŸ™„

"Users would expect to be sync in both directions."

This is true. Time to bug the Bloglines team, I think...

(And by the way, I'm just expressing personal wishes here. I've programmed systems that had to do syncing between many systems, and know it's not an easy task, or necessarily even a doable one.)

On the other hand, Bloglines is quite big. And if its users would get a lot of extra value by installing Awasu and so finding out all the wonderful things they were missing with only an online reader...

>>> Time to bug the Bloglines team

This would best come from their users πŸ™‚ We've been in touch with quite a few of the online feed readers and got a luke-warm response from most of them, at best. My feeling is that everyone is still building core features and it's too early for them to be worrying about things like interop. Awasu is, of course, past that stage now and onto the next level... πŸ™‚

> This would best come from their users

Definitely. I was thinking more along the lines of a todo item for myself, and didn't mean this is something the Awasu team should take care of.

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