The perfect RSS aggregator on any platform

Under tons of pressure for my comments about the lack of a decent RSS reader on GNU/Linux systems. I've decided to list what makes the perfect RSS aggregator client in my head. A lot of the features I want will be specific and maybe out of scope for a lot of people, but its certainly something to consider as normal rss users turn into power or advanced users. I'm also going to try and avoid describing something as advanced as Particls which is really a desktop attention engine, but I'll add some key elements I do like.

  • APML support, I want to rank, sort and filter based on my own explict tags and what the computer thinks I might like (implicit).
  • If APML isn't supported, the application should support search/filter tags. Those tags should attract posts which are related to that tag. So when I click on Dell, I should get all posts about Dell no matter which category its in.
  • Should be able to handle 500 RSS feeds without paging like mad or using 100meg plus. The amount of RSS readers which hang after importing 350 is untrue.
  • Import should support Bloglines, Newsgator and Google reader syncing.
  • It should also support FTP, Webdav and Samba syncing of files, like Feed Demon
  • When I click on a category of feeds, it should display an aggregated view of all the feeds below it in date or feed order
  • The ability to blog, post, add to delicious, etc from the post with a couple of clicks
  • Software should be Free as in Freedom or at least Open Source
  • The abaility to add tags and notes to items and feeds as a whole, then be
  • Support for XSL transfoms on the actual its display pane. If not XSL, CSS at least.
  • Support for Microformats, eRDF and RDFa
  • Extention support like Firefox, maybe XUL support would bemazing
  • Support for assignable keyboard shortcuts
  • Export support for OPML 1.1
  • Ability to export or save current aggregated view without the style (XML/RSS output)
  • Support for wfw:Comments, so you can comment back directly in your own RSS reader instead of using the browser
  • Support for Gecko engine for rendering/display
  • Global search across all feeds and per catergory
  • Support Attachments
  • Automatic updates
  • Support for One/Two/Three Panel support
  • Support for One and Two click processing
  • Reminder/Timed tags, so it alerts you that you should be looking at it at certain time
  • Definable coloured labels for tags and items. As default tags will get a random colour
  • Support for Regular Expressions
  • Support for Xpath queries
  • Print support, PDF support too would be nice
  • Offline support with caching of items and images up to a set amount
  • Offline rules, so you can specifiy certain categories or feeds to be cached with or without images
  • Support for different backends including SQLite, MySql, etc. Plus support for XMLDB
  • Bluetooth OBEX push for pushing items, lists or categories

I think that will do for now…

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and