A few days ago, my journey through the vast wasteland of dysfunctional RSS readers took an unexpected turn for the better. After my most recent experiment (FeedReader) ate its own database, I decided to take a look at one that I have been seeing a lot of in my blog stats – JetBrains Omea Reader. So far, I really like what I see. The tool is visually appealing and is the first Reader I've tried in years that didn't leave me saying: "Oh, how I wish SharpReader was being updated…"
It has everything I expect from an RSS Reader and does most of it pretty well and pretty darned fast. One of the nicest features I've found is the ability to create a View based on search criteria, allowing you to keep an eye on any hot items/keywords that you might be interested in, automatically. Now I can easily keep tabs on how Visual Studio is going to take over World of Warcraft add-in development.
As a bonus, Omea also has a good Usenet News reader built into it. This is something I had pretty much given up on since Anawave Gravity (the greatest Usenet reader of all time) was killed off.
I have tried quite a few RSS readers over the past few years but none quite fit what I was looking for. Here are a few of them:
SharpReader – My personal favorite because of its speed and the tight focus on the tasks related to RSS but it has not been updated in quite some time. It also suffers from the rather annoying habit of corrupting its own database every few months or so. It recovers from this but it does require that I go through and mark thousands of entries as read.
Google Reader – fast but far too few options for managing large numbers of feeds. Nice if you only have a few feeds or if you need access to feeds from multiple computers that you might not have control over (i.e. kiosk/walkups/guest machines). The UI does take a little bit to get used to.
NewsGator – As a consultant, I rarely have Outlook open as most of my clients either use Notes or don't allow consultants to have accounts on their Exchange servers. As such, I really don't like being that tightly tied to an app I never use (Outlook). It also had WAY too few features for me to use to manage the number of feeds that I have. I have read that it does work very well for consultants who travel a great deal because it caches feeds so that they can then be read while disconnected, like while on a plane. My only travel is the drive to work and I'm pretty sure the other drivers would get a little upset if I was reading news feeds during that time.
FeedReader – good generic reader but pretty shallow on the features. It lasted several months but then terminally corrupted its database – no recovery whatsoever.
Omea – This is day three for this reader so only time will tell. So far, it is very good.