Archives » February 28th, 2003

February 28, 2003

A Day With NewsGator

After a day with NewsGator, I have a few feelings. Overall, it’s a pretty good aggregator. But it sill hasn’t sold me on the general idea of aggregation yet. At least not for personal weblogs, like the ones I’ve subscribed to. Maybe that’s my problem — I need to subscribe to a few actual news feeds, or something like that, and see if an aggregator makes sense then. I actually enjoy the experience of going to a website and seeing the posts in that context. Distilling the text into some homogeneous environment seems to take all the charm out of it. It’s the difference between seeing a movie in the theater, or catching it on HBO. Which offers the better experience?

NewsGator does have a couple of quirks in the way it formats the posts. It has to shoehorn the RSS information into the Outlook Mail Post Item format, which includes giving it “From” and “Received” fields. It lists me as the author of every post, though, and the time received is when I downloaded the feed. It would be nice if it could pull author and timestamp information out of the RSS and use those instead. As it is now, those fields are pretty much worthless.

Looking closer, it might be a limitation of the Outlook integration. NewsGator seems be hooking in to Outlook’s “Post in This Folder” functionality. So, logically, to Outlook it really does look like just another post coming from me, at that particular time. There must not be any way to get around it. Just another one of the many joys of building on top of Outlook. I know that the last time I tried to build a custom form in Outlook, I wanted to storm Redmond with pitchforks and torches.

In short: NewsGator is great as an aggregator. But aggregated weblogs come across as lifeless and dull. I’ll stick with my browser for now.