Organizing Feeds

Monday, January 3, 2005

While discussing RSS reader market share, Nick hits on something that has bothered me about FeedDemon:

Perhaps more importantly, FeedDemon only automatically updates feeds in the current channel group. … It makes far more sense to me to regularly update only the feeds you regularly read.

While this does make sense, I think it probably works counter to the way most people use aggregators. I organize my feeds by subject — web design, news, humor, etc. Having a “most read” category that I had to keep updated with whatever I found most interesting at the time sounds like a lot more work than I’m willing to put into an aggregator.

Rather than just disagree, I would like to offer a couple of ideas. These are just off the top of my head, so I don’t know how feasible they are, or if FeedDemon (or any other aggregator) already supports any of this:

  • Feed Labels — Users could apply any number of different labels to each feed. Not every site fits into only one category — for example, I would have Zeldman under Accessibility and Web Design. The application would have a list of labels; clicking a label would list all feeds with that label. Then, Channel Groups could be used for organizing based on frequency of reading.
  • Auto Adjustments — FeedDemon could adjust how often it checks sites based on how often it finds new posts. If, for example, it defaulted to hitting my site every 3 hours, but found after a week that I was averaging once a day, it could automatically adjust to checking every 24 hours. This should probably be a rolling average over a time period set by the user. And, of course, it should still respect the <ttl> tag. With this, I think FeedDemon could automatically update all Channel Groups, but still not be a bandwidth hog.

Anyway, those are a couple of ideas. Like I’ve said before, FeedDemon is the best standalone feed aggregator I’ve ever used. It’s just not compatible with the way I think. Lots of things are like that. :-)