NewsGator ratings

Greg Reinacker has been writing about NewsGator’s new ratings feature recently, and I’ve been talking with Greg about how to integrate the rating system into FeedDemon.

Supporting the ratings in FeedDemon’s newspaper is actually very easy, since it simply requires adding a special script tag to each item.  If you’re using FeedDemon, just click the link below to download and install an experimental newspaper style that shows the NewsGator rating for each item:

NewsGator Ratings.fdxsl

I’m also considering supporting the rating system in FeedDemon’s news item list.  However, I’m concerned about tying FeedDemon too closely to any one feed service, so I’m undecided whether to implement this.  While I certainly want to take advantage of the aggregate data provided by online feed services, I really want to do so in a way that doesn’t favor one service over the other.  Am I being too cautious here, or do you think I’m right to be careful?

4 thoughts on “NewsGator ratings

  1. I think that being a bit careful about integrating service-specific features into Feed Demon is a good idea. More features is nice but you certainly don’t want to lock people into a specific service to use a feature.
    I think the approach that you’ve been taking (speaking with siteowners about developing universal APIs) is definitely the way to go. Not only does it make for cleaner code and features but it encourages other services to use the APIs rather then developing yet another proprietary API, format, etc.
    It may seem like a bit more work but I think in the long run your efforts (as well as the efforts of the participating services) will have a real impact.
    Keep up the good work Nick.

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  2. Please be cautious…if you do decide to add more and more external service functionality into FD, it would be great if you could do it in a way that is an “opt-in” for your customers and, therefore, unobtrusive to your own excellent product – not automatically foisted upon all.
    There must be many folks who, like me, have very specific interests and research needs…we don’t need or want ratings to tell us what is “popular” or “cool” or whatever. Many of us in the business, corporate, educational, and government worlds know what we’re looking for (because it’s part of our *jobs*), whether or not it is “highly rated” by others.
    One of the *best* things about FD -IMHO- is its uncluttered, clear, clean interface…please if you integrate external functionality, have a user choose to “turn it on” so that those of us who would never turn it on don’t have to look at it and be distracted by it.
    Maybe at 43 I’m beginning to show my age, but there seems to be a lot of interest (somewhere “out there”) in what’s new, what’s cool. Your products, HomeSite, TopStyle, and FeedDemon, have always surpassed this “of-the-moment” mentality and I hope that will continue to be the case, so that they’ll remain top-of-the-line business tools for those of us who rely on them for our livlihoods, not just our “entertainments”.

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  3. Caution is good. Leaving this as an experimental feature gives you the option of implementation without locking yourself in. Maybe in the future, more and more feeds will pick up on this rating system and you’ll be ahead of the game. Could be an opportunity to drive a standard. If not, then dropping this feature won’t be a huge deal.

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  4. I agree: err on the side of caution. I’m also 43, and periodically I hunt for fresh new blogs to add or replace existing, stale ones. What David says:
    “One of the *best* things about FD -IMHO- is its uncluttered, clear, clean interface…”
    Whenever I show off FeedDemon to friends, that’s their first impression. More than anything, I love the customization options in FD, since when I’m reading via RSS, I’m doing so to sift through as much info as I have time for, not to futz with endless layers of settings or bells and whistles that may clutter the interface.

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