Over the past year, I’ve become a big fan of RSS Feeds. I find that it’s an easy way for me to stay up-to-date with all the many web sites I frequent. I currently keep up with approximately 50 weblogs, news sites, as well as software updates all via RSS. During this past year, I’ve tried a bevy of RSS Readers, such as Trillian, SharpReader, NewsDesk, klipfolio, FeedDemon, and most recently FeedReader. While each application had it’s own merits, I found that because I use so many different computers, I needed something more flexible. The only solution that seemed to make sense to me was to use an online RSS reader – enter Bloglines.
Bloglines is a simple and easy to use web based RSS system. You simply enter the URL of the RSS you’d like to subscribe to and the feed now appears in your “My Blogs” section. You can add folders to help organize your various subscriptions and for the most part, Bloglines is just like any other RSS reader you may have tried. The main difference is that it lives on the web, so you can view your subscriptions from any browser, on any computer.
There are, however, some features that make Bloglines unique. The biggest feature is the ability to be notified via e-mail when a feed has been updated. Although this feature is set as the default (and I wish it wasn’t), what makes this great is that if there is a site that you really like, oh say this one 😉 , you can be notified via e-mail when it’s updated. I’m using this feature for certain software titles that I track via RSS, as well as a few web design feeds that I monitor.
The other cool feature is that any link that you click on opens in a new page in the browser that you’re using. That may not sound like a big deal, but if you’re not an Internet Explorer user, it is. I’m a big fan of the Opera web browser. Unfortunately, many of the RSS feeders written for Windows have been written in Microsoft .NET and as such, they’ve chosen to use IE to view links, versus your default web browser. For me that was a real PITA, but with Bloglines, that’s not a problem.
Yet the best feature for me is the fact that it’s all online. If I’m stuck in a server room at a client site, I can keep up with my feeds and update them as needed from a remote location. If I’m on my laptop in SuSE Linux, I’m looking at the same information. If I reboot into Windows XP it’s not a problem – all my RSS feeds are stored in one location with easy to use access.
If you find yourself on the go, or simply like the flexibility of having your RSS feeds available from any computer, I highly recommend you check out Bloglines. It’s free, there’s no banner ads, and it’s very easy to use. If you’re already using an RSS reader, you can import your OPML file and not have to configure a thing. Give it a shot. I think you’ll be glad you did. 🙂