Review: Syndication Studio 2004

Syndication Studio 2004, pre-release version
Howell Developments
McDonough, Georgia

Here's a product that I've been expecting to emerge for quite some time: a dedicated editor for syndication files. If you've been reading Developer Central for a while, you've certainly heard me talk about RSS files and news aggregators. The former are a standard way for Web publishers to place content in XML, the latter are applications that go fetch RSS (or other syndication) files and display them on your local machine. The effect is to have the parts of the Web that you care about pulled back to your desktop for easy reading.

Some people create syndication files automatically by using a blogging tool. Others build them from scratch in an XML editor, or by writing custom code. I've used all of these strategies myself. Syndication Studio adds a third choice: a modern application that lets you create the files by working in an editor that prevents you from making mistakes. Syndication Studio works by letting you define a project, which contains some basic information about your Web site and the feeds that you want to produce. Then you build up a treeview of the content that you want to include in the files, and edit the pieces in a built-in text editor. When you're done, launch a wizard to publish the actual files, which you can then upload to your Web site.

Syndication Studio understands RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, Atom 0.3, and OPML. You can publish all four formats from a single source file, or pick and choose the outputs that you want. You can also open existing feeds, and convert from one feed type to another. The overall application is quite easy to use and responsive, and if you've been building your RSS files by hand you are definitely in the target audience.

This pre-release version lacks a few amenities, like a help file, and has some tiny rough edges. But it's definitely a completely usable application. You can download a 14-day trial from the company's Web site.

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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