Developed by Nick Bradbury, the smart fella responsible for creating the fabulous Homesite (still our fave HTML editor) and the superb Top Style CSS Editor, FeedDemon 1.5 is a powerful RSS aggregation tool.
As we’re sure you know RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. It’s an XML standard that easily enables the distribution of new article, as summaries or full text – further details are on Wikipedia. The key thing to know is that in this world of fast moving, ever-increasing news, RSS and its readers making it easier to stay on top of it all.
The slick, standalone newsreader is ideal for people dipping their toes into the world of RSS, with FeedDemon’s setup wizard making it easy for folks to find and subscribe to popular RSS feeds by simply choosing from a pre-configured list of popular feeds.
If you can’t find anything of interest, users can boldly seek out new search channels via the Search Channels functions.
This lets users select a feed search engine, enter a keyword, and sit back while FeedDemon subscribes to a dynamic channel containing the search results for that keyword.
An unlimited amount of feeds can be filed into channel groups (like ‘news’, technology’, ‘sports’ etc), with all the RSS feeds being displayed in the left hand panel.
Clicking on a feed brings up a list of headlines in the middle panel, listed by date, and clicking on a headline opens up the entire article within a tabbed browser in the third pane.
We found this approach intuitive and fast, although users with small monitors may have to indulge in an orgy of scrolling to view all the content in its default layout.
The interface is configurable though, so users can make more room by shunting the browser to the bottom of the interface.
The program contains a nifty “Watch Channels” feature which searches for news items containing user-specified keywords and then organises them into a separate group so they’re easier to find.
The “News Bins” function was also a hit with us: this feature lets you archive a story simply by dragging a headline and lobbing it in the storage bin at the bottom of the left-side column.
FeedDemon’s new podcasting tools let news-hungry junkies download audio files and automatically copy them to their iPod (and, notably, other media players) with the bundled FeedStation utility allowing the scheduling of downloads – letting users charge up their iPod with new content while they’re snoozing.
With an enthusiastic developer regularly contributing to the online help forums and a slew of updates and tweaks being made to the program, we can thoroughly recommend FeedDemon for both newbies and RSS old hands.
Star Rating: 5/5
Price: US$29.95 (~£17 ~€24) Windows only.