Reviews

Review: NewsGator 2.0

NewsGator 2.0
$29
NewsGator Technologies
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
www.newsgator.com

I mentioned NewsGator 2.0 a couple of weeks ago when they announced the new version. Now it's out and available for download from their Web site, so it's time to do a fuller review.

I'm sure I've ranted enough about RSS in the past that most readers know the basics, but just in case: RSS is a more-or-less standard format that thousands of Web sites use to distribute headlines and other updates. These range from weblogs to headline news sites. More and more other applications are also making RSS feeds available - for example, both my bug-tracking application (FogBugz) and my source-code control application (SourceGear Vault) provide RSS feeds of recent activity. To read RSS feeds, most people use an aggregator: a piece of software that will poll a user-defined set of feeds at regular intervals, displaying new items.

NewsGator is an aggregator that runs inside of Outlook. It can display RSS feeds and NNTP newsgroup messages, and integrates completely painlessly. I find it's extremely convenient to read new messages from all sources in a single application, which is why I like NewsGator so much.

Version 2.0 adds support for some of the latest standards, including Atom 0.3 and RSS enclosures. There's also a new and more customizable NewsPage HTML interface for seeing all of your feeds at once, multiple profile support, and some serious performance improvements. The real big news for most users, though, is in the new NewsGator Online Services (NGOS).

NGOS (a separate $5.95 per month subscription service) adds a number of great features for the road warrior who wants to keep up with RSS feeds with minimal confusion. For starters, there's multi-machine synchronization. Load NewsGator on your home and work computers, sign up for synchronization, and each will know which items you've read at the other. NGOS also gives you access to your feeds via a web-based reader, any POP3 e-mail client, or any HTML-capable mobile device. You can also set up custom search feeds - for example, your RSS reader will retrieve constantly-updated results of an Internet search for your name, or your company's name, or whatever you want. NGOS even includes some customer-only feeds, including ones from InfoWorld and Network Computing.

Most RSS aggregators these days are free. NewsGator is convenient enough, and has added enough superior features, that I don't at all mind paying for it -- and neither, I think, will many other people.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.

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