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Choosing your RSS reader

If you want to be able to read RSS feeds then you are going to need an RSS reader. The types of RSS reader that are available to you come in two flavours. There is the desktop RSS reader and there are the online or web RSS readers.

Choosing your RSS readers need not be a difficult task, to be quite honest most RSS reader software performs much the same task. It downloads the RSS file and parses it into a readable format for you. Rather than trying to ram this or that product down your throat I am going to tell you what to look for in an RSS reader and share my personal preference.

Now I think the first and most important feature you will look for in your reader is price. Lets face it most of the software out there today is free so a fee based solution had better be outstanding. One free solution I did try but did not like, just my preference is Amphtadesk. This run from your desktop but displays the feeds as a webpage. This offering is open source and runs cross platform.

Another feature you need to look for is ease of use. You don't want to spend hours trying to figure out how subscribe to a feed. Again this is going to be your own preference as everyone has their own abilities. I would suggest that if you can't subscribe to a feed after a few minutes then you are probably using the wrong software for you.

A feature you will need in your RSS reader is the ability to import and export your OPML file. This is a file that holds all of your RSS feed subscription addresses, just like a list of email addresses. You will probably try several RSS readers over time before you settle on one you like. Without OPML you will have to manually subscribe to all of your feeds if you change your RSS reader.

Speed is of the essence. The more feeds you subscribe to the longer it will take to download them. I have used one desktop based RSS reader that took fifteen minutes at each update to download and parse the feeds. If your RSS reader turns out to be slow, dump it, there are plenty more out there.

I went through this process a while back and went through dozens of RSS readers. I finally settled on Bloglines, a web based RSS reader. There are other web based RSS readers out there, here is a list of RSS readers that I know of. I chose Bloglines as it was fast and easy to use and continues to work well for me.

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