You've Always Got Time For Your Aggregator

Part 2 of the discussion on RSS technology.

In my first post about RSS I discussed the basics of RSS and the idea of feeds and subcribing to an RSS feed. That’s all good and well, but how do you organize and read all those feeds once you have subscribed to them?

The answer is, of course, a feed reader. In the industry jargon they are called “aggregators”. This just means a program that gathers your RSS feeds and displays them nicely for you.

There are two basic types of feed readers. One is web-based and you need to be online and browsing the web to access your feeds. The other type remains on your desktop and runs along side of your other applications (even when you are off-line).

What you choose is up to you. In general the desktop RSS readers are faster and have more powerful functions. The online aggregators are usually less expensive (free!) and you can access your feeds from anywhere — even if you don’t have your computer with you.

Good RSS reading software is essential to get the most out of RSS and blog reading. Follow the links to test-drive some of the more popular RSS readers.

Popular online RSS readers:

Popular desktop RSS readers:

Google also has a new RSS reader. I have tested it, but it seemed to be in pretty early stages of development. There are plenty more, too, but these are the ones that are known as being top-notch in terms of ease of use and reliability.

If you don’t want to use a traditional RSS aggregator like these, you can subscribe to RSS feeds right in Yahoo Mail, Gmail, and other online email programs. There are also plugins for all the major desktop email programs like Outlook, Thunderbird, Eudora, etc. that allow you to read RSS feeds in your inbox just like regular mail.

So, make time for your aggregator if you haven’t already. If you don’t have one, sign up for an online account, or else download a trial of a desktop aggregator. You can also check with your email provider to see if they offer RSS reading as a part of your email service. For you first feed, you can subscribe to simpledream blog!

Next time I will take a look at how aggregators work and what some different ways are to read your news and blogs. Stay tuned….

Author: Lance Willett

My name is Lance, I am a blogger and web craftsman making high-quality, engaging, and user-centered experiences for people that use WordPress. México-born. Product Excellence Manager at Automattic.

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