Deciding factors

It’s true that OPML makes your feed subscription list portable–similar to taking your cell phone with you to another provider. However, anyone using a feed reader knows that there is much more valuable metadata that doesn’t readily move from one reader to another (e.g. annotations, flags, etc.). The fact that I had a significant number of flagged posts for subsequent action (e.g. review in more detail, blog about, etc.) in RSS Bandit was holding me back from leaving the feed reader and using Omea Reader exclusively to read feeds. That is, until RSS Bandit (build decided to drop most of my flagged items. Although more than a bit frustrating–I have to recreate my flagged list!–perhaps this was a blessing in disguise. Unfortunately it wasn’t the first time RSS Bandit lost metadata, but it will be the last time…for awhile anyway, until Wolverine is released and I give it a spin.

The following features in Omea Reader (current build 325) have won me over:

  • My previous list, plus:
  • One-click flagging of items, although I would appreciate support for multiple flags (e.g. different colors like Outlook 2003 and/or different label like RSS Bandit – Follow Up, Review, Reply, Read, Forward, Complete, Clear)
  • One-click annotation of items
  • Column configuration support
  • Category assignment support
  • “Views and Categories” view side-by-side with “Feeds” view

So, I’m giving up the following features found in RSS Bandit as I move over to Omea Reader.

  • Tabbed browsing experience that doesn’t obscure feed details (Tools | Options… | Web Browser tab) – HIGH
  • Ability to define default maximum item age (e.g. a day, a week, a month, a quarter, a year, unlimited, etc.) – MEDIUM/HIGH
  • Ability to change font face, size, color, etc., which is useful on a higher resolution screen – MEDIUM
  • Remote, shared storage support (i.e. ability to support UNC, FTP, WebDAV site across client instances (e.g. home reader and work reader)) – MEDIUM
  • Extensible search support (i.e. allow plug-ins for Google, Feedster, etc.) (Tools | Options… | Web Search tab) – MEDIUM
  • Ability to apply a custom stylesheet (XSLT) to the reading pane (Tools | Options… | Feed Items tab) – LOW

The Open links in a new browser window option that Omea Reader provides is almost worse than no option since it literally launches the default browser for the selected link, which means the loss of context in Omea Reader. Just support tabbed browsing within Omea Reader!! This feature is important enough that I’m not completely sold on ditching RSS Bandit; it’s a significant productivity loss.

Update (10/4/2004): Omea Reader 1.0 (build 333) is released. Get your free license today.