Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Review: Newsgator NetNewsWire 2.1 vs Google Reader

I have been using Newsgator's NetNewsWire 2.1 for almost 2 years. I was very happy about it because I'm reading blogs on different machines everyday and NetNewsWire can sync the RSS feeds and my progress with multiple machines. In addition, the license includes a mobile web site and a mobile Java application (Newsgator Go!) so I can read RSS feeds on the go with my mobile phone while I don't have access to any computer.

Most of my friends are using Google Reader since the first version. They are very happy with that and always ask me to try. Although I work in IT industry, I am very conservative (I still don't trust online banking). I love thick desktop client more than Web 2.0 applications. I still feel thick client performs faster than any Web 2.0 applications. Plus, I prefer using keyboard shortcuts to do my RSS feeds reading (Yes, I still use VIM instead of BBEdit).

My believe starts breaking down since 2 weeks ago. I trusted NetNewsWire failed to sync between my Powerbook G4, PowerMac Dual G5, and Macbook Pro. I have no idea what happen and I'm too lazy to try to waste time to fix it. I start reading RSS feeds using Newsgator's web application. However, the user experience is not very good when I have over 2000+ articles need to browse through. The web application is very Web "1.5". It's fine when I am doing very light reading. However, for very heavy usage, it just does not work for me.

So I go back to try to fix NetNewsWire and I gave up. I have read Newsgator is developing the next version of NetNewsWire and it is in Alpha version. Seriously, I don't want to use any Alpha version software. I am really afraid it fails to save my reading progress. So I end up giving Google Reader a try.

I export my RSS feeds list to an OPML format file from NetNewsWire and import the file back to Google Reader. After 1 minute, all my RSS feeds are in Google Reader. It's the best migration experience I ever have (If I can migrate Apple Aperture to Adobe Lightroom that easy, I will switch to Lightroom immediately. Do you hear that, Adobe?) After reading the Help in Google Reader, I find out it supports keyboard shortcuts and the keys are very VIM like (OMG!!! That's awesome!!!). I can even share an article by clicking on the share button and it will be shared in my own RSS feed. As a result, I can share my interesting articles on the sidebar in my blog.

After using Google Reader for 2 weeks, I just love it. The only disadvantage of Google Reader is I cannot read it offline just like what I did with NetNewsWire. However, I believe Google will implement the offline feature when Firefox 3.0 released (It has an embedded database to sync with web application on/offline). Let's stay tune.

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