New Contender for RSS Reader: BlogBridge

I'm preparing some stuff for a workshop I'm doing on weblogs and RSS next month, and am gathering some links to aggregators I could recommend to the people coming to the workshop. Obviously, Bloglines and Google's RSS reader are good online aggregators, but desktop tools are just plain cooler.

I was clicking links on the Wikipedia list of RSS aggregators, and saw BlogBridge - a cross-platform, java-based aggregator designed for "civilians".

But, it's got a LOT of nice little touches. You can tag feeds. Star them (and filter views based on star ratings). Create smart listings of posts. It also does something cool that I haven't seen in another aggregator - it creates a little thumbnail indicator bargraph for the activity of a feed over the past few days. You can also give it a list of keywords, and it automatically highlights these words in every post.

It doesn't come with a "new items only" view, but it's simple to create a new SmartFeed for that. Also, it's java, so performance can be pretty sucktacular - but that might be a side-effect of having 400 feeds in it... (actually, I'm down to 366 - BlogBridge choked on several feeds on importing my subscriptions from OPML - but that may be a result of dead/invalid feeds and BlogBridge may just be more vocal about that than NNW or Safari)

BlogBridge - small
(Click for larger view)

Update: I also tried RSSOwl, but it just pegged my CPU to 100% for 20 minutes with no visible sign of doing anything productive. Force Quit.

I've been configuring BlogBridge for a few minutes, and am really impressed with some of the unique features. If I can get a "new items only" view as a default, rather than just another SmartFeed, I'm very likely to switch to it. It also helps that it's free and open source, and the developers appear to have a healthy sense of humour as well. Actually, I'm going to try switching to BlogBridge for a week to see how it works out. If it winds up sucking up 4GB of VM or something, or the java performance penalty is too great, I'll switch back to Safari or NNW (or something else?).

Update: I'm trying the "Feed Discovery" tool of BlogBridge - it can scan through your feeds and find others that you might be interested in. Holy. Crap. It's finding stuff that I'd never heard of before, but is totally interesting. Not helping me with reducing the infoaddiction, though. Damn you, BlogBridge! :-)

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