RSS in Outlook and Newsgator


I’ve been using Newsgator Outlook Edition for over a year now and generally think it’s a rock solid piece of software. However, today I installed it from all my computers. I’ve come to the conclusion that RSS in Outlook is not what *I* want. Dare Obasajo and Dan Crevier both discuss this recently. I’ve had some real problems dealing with the volume of RSS that I get in Outlook, and to be honest, I don’t have the time to quickly and effectively deal with it. Furthermore, the presence of all these unread post items just plain stresses me out.


Here are some of the issues with RSS in Outlook



  1. High Volume feeds, like blogs.msdn.com, or engadget are cumbersome to quickly read.
  2. High Volume feeds keep building up and there is no way for things to “fall off”, they just stay around in Outlook till I do something with them.
  3. Search Folders do not help. All they do is make it take longer for me to get through RSS items.
  4. Outlook and it’s mail centric view are not well suited for reading stuff that came from the web.

    1. Outlook doesn’t download images till you click on the item. For engadget, I can read the web page a million times faster then the RSS items.
    2. I can scan an RSS web page with dozens of items a million times faster. I’m careful to say RSS Webpage because scanning just the web site with the custom colors, fonts, ads, images etc breaks up the flow of a consistent XSLT applied to an RSS feed.

The bottom line is this. I got really stressed out by having all these unread items in my Work Environment. RSS was no longer fun, and it was yet another thing I had to do before feeling like I could get closure on the day. This just isn’t cool at all. Getting RSS out of Outlook makes it so I can focus on my work, and Outlook is my primary work tool.


Dare really hits the nail on the head:



“The major problem is that the Outlook mail reading paradigm has a fundamental assumption which turns out to be flawed. It assumes you want to read every item you get in your inbox. This flawed assumption leads to the kind of information overload that hampers the productivity of lots of people I know at work.”


Like Dan mentions, I also don’t read every item in my inbox, but I do need to triage every item in my inbox. Since I get anywhere from 50-200 items in my inbox (not including all the stuff filtered away), I don’t have the time to triage 400 or so RSS items the same way that I triage my mail, and it turns out that the web based view of RSS allows me to do this much quicker, with less stress, and it’s more fun. Plus it lets me focus on doing this on my own time, and not get distracted at work.


Additionally, I got tired of zillions of folders, and even more whenever folks decided to change the title of their blog (For Scoble, this happens monthly). Also, my Exchange quota, at 200 MB is not big enough for all the RSS I want to keep around.


So, what am I using for my RSS reading now? NewsGator Online. I happen to Love the UI for reading an managing RSS there. I get roaming, clips, folders, a feed list I can have on my blog, mobile support, and some nice Keyword feeds for my Ego (I can find any mention of my name in an RSS feed, and it works not like the Feedster feeds which flake out frequently). I’m also playing with Feeddemon 1.5 beta which support synchronization with NewsGator Online so I can have a rich offline RSS experience that also supports the web like way for viewing RSS.


So, the combination of NewsGator Online and optionally an RSS aggregator that synchronizes, and doesn’t use Outlook plus has newspaper like views on RSS is my new RSS ticket.

Comments (4)

  1. For the way in which most RSS is used, I prefer reading them as if they are messages so most RSS feeds I care about, I have added to my accounts in Mozilla Thunderbird. However, I can see what you mean by some of your issues.

    If you haven’t tried it, you might try the Live Bookmarks feature of Mozilla Firefox. As it is part of a Web browser, it is inherently a more Web-centric system. It also doesn’t care whether you’ve read an item like the e-mail integrated RSS systems. Whenever there are new feeds, old ones get rotated off.

    I don’t use it often, but the only time I’ve been annoyed is when a site syndicates a tremendous amount of items at once and the bookmark listing goes off the screen.

  2. SuperJason says:

    My philosophy is to only subscribe to feeds that are rarely updated. If there is a feed that is updated daily or more often, I just check that page every day.

    Otherwise, You can run into a lot of the problems you mentioned.

  3. Several months ago I started writing a review of FeedDemon and NewsGator, together with an explanation…

  4. Several months ago I started writing a review of FeedDemon and NewsGator, together with an explanation