Dive Into Mark: New news aggregator for Windows. Following Mark’s lead, I started using Syndirella for my news feeds. I was using AmphetaDesk before, which was OK once I installed the outliner plugin but it still wasn’t up to scratch.

Among other things, AmphetaDesk lacked a liberal RSS parser, RSS auto-discovery and support for item-level dates, all of which can be found within Syndirella. Syndirella’s best feature, however, has to be the built-in scraper which allows you to syndicate sites which refuse to provide an RSS feed. I have successfully configured several HTML-only feeds for syndication in this manner.

These features come at a price, however, as Syndirella requires the Microsoft .NET framework, a 20MB download. Still, even with its bugs it’s probably the best Windows-based news aggregator out there.

Update: Morbus Iff, AmphetaDesk’s author, has gracefully addressed the above three feature points. It seems as though many of my gripes are related to the outliner plugin and not necessarily AmphetaDesk itself, which is ironic since the outliner plugin made AmphetaDesk a much more enjoyable experience overall. Although AmphetaDesk supports auto-discovery, it does so through a bookmarklet (essentially a “Subscribe” toolbar button) and not when entering a URL in the “Add a Channel” page. Syndirella makes no such distinction, and even invisibly searches for a feed when it cannot find one linked in the HTML, as per Mark Pilgrim’s RSS locator wishlist.

Even with Morbus’ helpful information, I’m still sticking with Syndirella for now. Having an aggregator application in which I can easily navigate to new items (by pressing the spacebar) is so much faster than any browser-based alternative. This doesn’t apply solely to AmphetaDesk as I used Radio Userland’s aggregator for a month, and it was the same way. However, as I mentioned to Morbus over ICQ, AmphetaDesk was quite nice in combination with tabs and gestures in Mozilla.

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