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Bloglines vs Newsgator

I have been a long time Bloglines user. I used to be a heavy RSS Bandit user. When the latest version of RSS Bandit came out, I saw they had added support to synch with Newsgator, a competitor to Bloglines.

Since I don't really have any loyalty to Bloglines and I really liked using RSS Bandit on the desktop, this seemed like a great reason to once again give Newsgator a try (I had tried it a number of months ago).

I tried, I really did: I updated all my feeds in Newsgator and in RSS Bandit; I set up my account in RSS Bandit; I started my first synchronization. And.... nothing. After 2 hours I had to end the process manually. Bummer. Ok, maybe it's a first try thing. Check the password, delete all the feeds from RSS Bandit, start the download. Error. Arg. I keep using Newsgator as my main web-based aggregator, getting used to the interface and digging in the settings.

So, I think to myself, self, it's just a first day problem; the service is busy because lots of people are trying to do this. Something didn't get configured right. I wait a day, uninstall RSS Bandit, clear out all the local setting on my machine, and reinstall. Same thing. Now I'm a little annoyed.

This morning, I went digging into my Bookmarks menu to find the link my Bloglines link. Why? I just like it better. Here's why:

  • Bloglines lets me mark all my feeds as read. Seems simple, right? You can't do this in Newsgator. Have 3000 new posts? Too bad, get ready to click the Mark This Page Read link about 50 times.

  • Both services allow me to sort by date, but only Bloglines sorts by source as well. If I open a newspaper view of all the feeds in a folder, Newsgator list them only by date. Bloglines first sorts them by source, then by date. This, to me, is the more logical way to present the data and mimics RSS Bandit.

  • I know it's bad design to some people, but I like having my feeds in a separate frame. When I scroll the newspaper view in Bloglines, the feed list stays visible in the left pane. Newsgator uses one page and the feed list scrolls off the top of the window as I scroll through the newspaper view.

  • That said, I like the styling of the Newsgator interface much better. The fonts are a bit small, but scale. The colors and shading are attractive and well designed. One criticism for both services: let me choose a style. CSS is cheap, give us some choices.

  • Bloglines lets me easily add feeds for tracking specialty items, such as UPS packages or weather; they put it right on the main page sometimes when I load my feeds. I could find an easy way to add these kinds of feeds in Newsgator.

Other than that, the services seem fairly similar. I do wish some of the desktop aggregators would integrate with both Bloglines and Newsgator, but I'm guessing that Newsgator has made it easier for developers to use their API as they're the only service I see supported. Both RSS Bandit and FeedDemon have added or will add support for Newsgator; I haven't seen any desktop aggregators doing the same with Bloglines. If I can get the synchronization to work, I'll probably switch to Newsgator and learn to use it, but I'm wondering why I have to make that switch.


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