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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Feed aggregator

I was a latecomer in the area of feeds. I used to read all the blogs I liked by individually opening them in new tabs in my Firefox browser. This posed some problems. I had to remember each of the blog addresses I wanted to read. This meant I would often miss some recent blog entries by my favourite bloggers. This is not a very serious problem as blogs can be bookmarked. But still I had to open all the blogs one by one going through bookmarks. Now I read about 25 blogs religiously and wouldn't want to miss any new posts. That would mean 25 tabs in Firefox. As much as I like Firefox, it is a resource hog and opening 25 tabs would often make my computer less responsive.
Enter Feeds. A simple but powerful technique to arrange all your favourite blogs. Now I have installed a Feed reader called Sage. Whenever I want to read blogs, I just click on the Sage icon on the toolbar and all the blogs I have subscribed to show up on the left pane of Firefox. If I want to see if there is any new post I can just click an icon on top of the pane called Check Feeds and it automatically looks at every blog for new postings and updates the pane accordingly. If I go to a new blog that I like, I can just click Discover Feeds icon and it automatically discovers the Feeds in the blog and I can then add it to Sage. Two kind of feeds are popular: RSS and Atom. I wanted to make it simple for me by choosing only one of them, so I chose RSS feed reader but Atom is good as well. Many blogs don't have obvious Feed icons, but there are almost always hidden ones, for example in blogger/blogspot. Discover Feeds will discover them all.
It has made reading blogs a breeze. Just click any blog you want to read in the left Sage pane and start reading. Sage blog aggregator for Firefox can be downloaded from here.

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