Sunday, January 29, 2006

NewsAlloy continued

Ok, so I’ve come back to check out NewsAlloy again.  I was able to get the site to load and logged in to find that my OPML file had actually fully imported.  Even better, NewsAlloy was able to read all of my folder information from Bloglines and keep all of my blogs categorized exactly how they are in Bloglines — this has been one of my major frustrations with other aggregators that I’ve tried.

Going back to my rant about Bloglines, I’d like to address how NewsAlloy meets what I was looking for:

  • I’m not really looking to install an application; I really like browsing on the web only.  NewsAlloy is fully web-based.  If I choose to go with NewsAlloy, I will lose the mobile version of Bloglines, but to be honest, I don’t use that at all right now — I much prefer to read my feeds on a full screen.
  • Ideally it would be a service that would retain the folders that I have things organized into on Bloglines.  That worked amazingly well.  In the past, I’ve totally abandoned even evaluating new readers because they couldn’t keep everything organized the way I had them in Bloglines.
  • Just like Jeremy, I like how Bloglines displays feeds as one massive page by folder.  NewsAlloy allows many different ways to look at feeds.  When you log in, your “Inbox” displays all new posts as a massive list — you can set the number of posts per page and whether to display headlines, summary, or detail.  It is important to note that because NewsAlloy does not use frames, if you set to a certain number of posts per page, you will have to click the next page arrow to continue reading posts.  Alternatively, you can read new posts by category simply by clicking on the Subscription category label, much like how I currently read posts in Bloglines.  Further, you can click the expansion button on your categories (just like Bloglines) and read new posts from individual subscriptions.

There are all kinds of view options and all kinds of tools that I have yet to play with, but I have to say that this is looking like a very viable alternative to Bloglines.  I love the fact that I don’t have to refresh anything and I don’t have to wait for anything to load because of the Ajax programming.  I love the floating tool bar that follows when I scroll up and down the screen.  I’m not sure that I’m used to having to click checkboxes and mark items as “Read” to get them to disappear as new posts, but it’s not at all different from using Gmail and doing the same sort of operations with e-mail.

It is important to note that NewsAlloy is still in beta (what isn’t these days?) and some of the service issues that I’ve experienced today are probably related to the beta status.  There are not a ton of users yet (you can see the total number of users any time on the main page), so hopefully the service will be able to effectively scale if they experience massive growth.

More to come, especially if I decide to make the permanent switch.

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