Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Good NetVibrations!

I've tried a plethora of Feed Readers, Aggregators, personal homepages, whatever you want to call them... I've tried Sage and Aggreg8 for Firefox, Google Reader, Protopage, Straw and Liferea for Linux, as well as some others back in the day on for Mac whos names I can no longer remember... but for the past year or so I've been stuck on Netvibes. For a while I thought I wanted a standalone application, but I'm not sure why. All the stuff in the reader comes from the Web anyways so integrating it into the browser seemed the best route to go, so after overcoming my attraction for the standalone app I went for Sage. I still recommend Sage to quite a few people. It's really simple and works well with Firefox, is easy to install and does autodiscovery of feeds which is a real plus for newbies who fear the orange button. But it gets a biut unweildy when you start getting hundreds of feeds going! Then I tried Netvibes. Netvibes has a fantastic drag and drop web interface, is really easy to add feeds (including autodiscovery -- autodiscovery means that you can just point it towards a web page and it will try to find out whether there is a feed associated or not.) It also includes a simple way to group my feeds with a tab interface along the top and you can also add a heap of "widgets" that have been created by the Netvibes community, including things like pulling in your Flickr photos, Del.icio.us bookmarks, weather widgets, and my new favourite - the Remember the Milk widget, etc, etc. I like also that they keep plugging away at it. A new feature appears almost every month or so and so far they've all been really useful and not gratuitous. Just today I noticed that you can now actually view the site that the post came from, from within the Netvibes interface. This is really handy because sometimes I need to go to the site to get to the article (most notably for me on Stephen Downes site) and i'm sick of opening tabs or new windows to get there. This feature allow me to switch effortlessly between the feed view and the actual site. Nice!


There's a whole other part of Netvibes that I've not really looked that far into, what they call the Netvibes Ecosystem. From what I can tell it's a place for all the third party modules, etc, but there's also an option on your feeds to be able to share them via email, IM, or some cut'n'paste code for your blog or web page which could be really useful.

5 comments:

Downes said...

You do not need to go to the downes.ca site to get to the article. In the RSS feed, click on the link titled [Link] to go straight to the article.

brent said...

Stephen: 3 years reading your site and I hadn't figured that out! Thanks for the heads up.

Ineedsleep said...

Netvibes looks cool, but can I download it and run it on my own machine? Is the source code available? I looked, but I couldn't find it, so I'll stay with open source.

brent said...

No, it's basically a type of Web Service. If you want an Open Source one for your desktop (i'm assuming you're a linux user ... well, i actually *know* you're a linux user ... David!) then you should take a look at Straw.

Anonymous said...

Gregarius (http://gregarius.net/) is a web service AND open source. The best of both worlds.