Reviews

Review: BlogWave

BlogWave 0.3
Free
weblogs.asp.net/asanto

Yes, this is still alpha software. But it's alpha software that's already useful and shows a promise of being more useful, so it's worth telling you about - especially since I'm already using it myself.

So, what is BlogWave? The answer is that it's a tool, written by Addy Santo, to generate RSS feeds. If you've been a reader for a while you've seen me enthuse about RSS already. RSS is an XML file format that is relatively simple, designed to be frequently updated with new information, and for which a variety of readers exist. You can subscribe to RSS feeds from a number of standalone tools and read their contents at your leisure. Some readers even integrate with other software such as Microsoft Outlook (I use NewsGator, one of these, which transfers all of my RSS subscriptions to Outlook feeds).

What BlogWave does is let you turn even more things into RSS feeds. It provides a workbench area that makes it easy to create new feeds, each of which has a source and a destination. The source might be an existing RSS feed, an NNTP newsgroup, a SharePoint list, a Windows event log, or a SharePoint Portal Server search result. The destination can be a weblog using the .Text software, a file, an FTP target, or a WebDAV site. One feed can have multiple sources or multiple destinations - so, for example, you could combine five NNTP newsgroups into a single RSS feed and make the results available as both a local disk file and a file FTP'd to a Web server.

So, this is all pretty nifty. Converting everything in the universe to RSS means that I can get it all in one place: my RSS reader. Now I'm feeding in selected event logs from my test network, as well as a few newsgroups, and I can see that I'll be using this more in the future. Though BlogWave has a GUI workbench for constructing and editing feeds, it also schedules them to be updated using a command-line tool and Windows built-in scheduler, so you don't have to have BlogWave running for your custom feeds to update themselves.

Even better, the system is extensible. You can build new source adapters using C#, and Addy includes a sample in the latest version. So if there's any data that you'd like to see as RSS, you can probably use this tool to make the conversion. And it's even free. What more could you ask?

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