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Make the best of your RSS feeds
Published on April 13, 2004 By Adam Najmanowicz In
Blog Navigator is a new tool Stardock is about to release. It's already available as a beta download.
The WindowBlinds Visual Style used in the article is b0se's OpusSmooth - soon to be submitted to GuiOlympics 2004.


Despite multiple RSS readers being already available out there Blog Navigator allows for a number of features that are unavailable in the readers I have seen so far or scattered around some of them.

Do not let the program's nomenclature fool you, Blog Navigator is a fully equipped RSS reader, just a bit fine tuned so it would be easier for the users to read their blogs. Also because of the name all channels are called Blogs, but in reality it support any RSS compliant feed. So feel free to read "blog" as "channel" anywhere should you encounter that word.


I didn't want you to miss any of it's coolness, so I decided to give you a short tour. In this short series I'll show you some of the more interesting features. Some of which you could as well miss if you didn't know about.

1) RSS discovery


You know a site that offers a feed, but searching for those feeds can sometimes be problematic, since they are not aparently stating the URL you should use. Say... Wincustomize. Did you know the page has its own feed with the news anouncements?

Try to find the link for it . No luck without looking into the page code? With Blog Navigator, that is no longer a problem!

New Blog Discovery

and enter "www.wincustomize.com". Blog Navigator will automatically discover the feed from the page. The page has to have some additional info in its code to support feed discovery, but most of those modern portals support that feature.

2) Blog groupping


You probably have a number of blogs/portals you visit every day to stay up to date with the latest developments. I do not really care which site is the news from, as long as it's in the subject of my interest. So I create a Blog group (from the same menu as the above screenshot) and put all my blogs/channels in it. (the list of blogs allows for drag and drop of blogs). Now what I have all my (e.g. IT) news in one place I can conveniently cruise among them in full screen mode (F11) no matter what source they are from as long as they are in the group I have currently selected.

Article Grouping


Look at the list of articles - in the fourth column you see the channel of origin.

How do you Do this? Create new blog group "File->New->Blog Group" and put all your channels in it, either by creating the channesl while you have the group selected in the tree, or by dragging and dropping a channel on the group.

3) Article previews


If you read a lot of articles you may want to skip some of them for the sake of the content not really being of your interest. But the bloggers frequently put those catchy titles to fool you into visiting their blogs , don't they? You may want to know some of the article's contents by seeing its description, which often is a part of the very article.

Autopreview


Notice the article that are already read, no longer show the autopreview. To enable the autopreview check the "View->Autopreview" menu option.

4) Mark an article as important.


Now that is definitely a blogger tool. Aure all your article's are important for you, but you might have commented on an article in someone else's blog. I'm sure you want to be able to easilly locate thopse articles. On the far right of the articles list is a column similar to the one you can find in Outlook. Notice the single article in the list with the ted text and a red flag on the right of it?

Autopreview


I commented in this blog and want to keep track of it so I marked this single item as important.
Now if I had more articles like this I mmay be able to only show those important articles. So I have to be able to filter them.

From the Main menu select "View->Article filtering" or just press F3. Blog Navigator will show you an additional bar right above the article's list. This bar allows you for hiding items based on various criteria. now from the "More" drop down button you may hide all items you have not marked as important like this:

Marked Items Filtering


and all the articles you do not find relevant are gone. Of course you may use any other available criteria for filtering of the articles from that bar.

As you will also notice in the next image the blogs and groups containing such important articles become red for easier location.

5) Newspaper view


Now you may want to see all your blogs/news as a single friendly browser view, or may want to only use that environment for browsing your news. For that BlogNavigator ofers you a Newspaper view. to Switch to that view you may want to press "View->Show as Newspaper", or simply F12. What you may find usefull, the Newspaper view retains all the properties of the regular view - meaning, whatever was filtered out in the list will not appear in your newspaper or however you sorted it (by clickingon the corresponding column) - the article in the newspaper will be sorted exactly the same. Important articles will be properly marked as well.

Newspaper View


It can also be enabled/disabled form the tool button over the browser.

That view has 2 styles. The one you've just seen above and the aggregated one, which allows for reading all articles in a single page conveniently expandible.

Newspaper View


Now be carefull for that view may take some time to load, but it also has one major added value: such page saved for offline reading (with "File->Save as") will allow you to store whole channel in a large single page, that you can e.g. copy to a CD for archiving!

6) Tabbed browsing


You might have already noticed that the newspaper views offered 2 ways of opening articles - in the current tab and in new tab.

Yes - it does mean Blog Navigator allows you for opening a few articles and while you read the fisrt one the other are already loading in background. You will notice the references to it in multiple places, like items popup menu (allows for opening the article in a new tab instead of the current one), the "Go" menu in the main menu. Also when you want to open a link in new tab just right click it and select "Open ion New Window" from its popup menu. Also all popup windows instead of annoying you appearing right in your face, will rather silently and politely land in another teb in the background.

However if you decided that you want to open the article in a new browser window, Just select "Go->Open in External Browser" or just Press Ctrl+E and Blog Navigator will open the page from the current tab in your default browser.

The second part of the article already available here...


Comments
on Apr 14, 2004
Aside from the excellent Newspaper mode that beats the competition everywhere, I am far from excited. Everything else looks like a FeedDemon ripoff.
This is not intended as a flame, but perhaps you guys could roll in some more unique features to make a serious difference.
on Apr 14, 2004
Can you read group of blogs in one list in FeedDemon? And I'm sorry to say that, but actually both of them FeedDeamon and Blong Navigator are based on Outlook (though FeeDemon does not have the tree view), so they're bound to be similar. In the next article you will actually see even more clearly the areas where Blog Navigator is much better than what other readers have to offer.
on Apr 14, 2004

The only real similarity I see to FeedDemon is that they both look like Outlook.

From a organization point of view and in terms of usage, I don't see any similarity at all.

on Apr 15, 2004
So.... any chance of a link to it showing up on SDCentral client soon? I mean, downloading it is no big deal, but there'd be more awareness of it possibly if it were put on SDCentral. Or, if it's not ready for that yet, that's understandable.
on Apr 15, 2004
Btw... I did check it out. I'll probably use the free version to check out JoeUser, but as it is based around an IE control, I probably won't be buying it, since I no longer trust IE security (once hijacked from a banner ad due to bad IE security is once too many in my book)... Too bad - looks like one of the best layed out RSS readers I've seen.
on Apr 15, 2004
I know you are trying to create a "buzz" for this program but you repeatily said "beeing" when I'm sure you meant 'being'

I haven't gotten into the whole blog thing too much as of yet. Maybe I'll give this a whirl eventually and see how it goes.
on Apr 15, 2004
GhoS, hehe, see... I guess English not beeing my native language gets in the way sometimes.
I'll fix it, thanks.
on Jan 02, 2006
is Blog Navigator compatible with linux?


on Jan 02, 2006
Blog Navigator is not compatible with Linux
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