Using FeedDemon 2.0’s Synchronization Features

Perhaps the most anticipated new feature in FeedDemon 2.0 is its ability to synchronize with NewsGator Online, enabling you to keep your subcriptions – and unread items – synched between multiple computers.

So far we haven’t documented FeedDemon’s synchronization very well, in large part due to the fact that it’s still a work in progress (FeedDemon 2.0 is a beta, after all). But I’ve noticed some confusion as to how the synchronization works, so I wanted to take some time to explain it better.

FeedDemon enables synchronization at the folder level, so you can choose to have some folders shared between all of your locations, and others private to a specific computer (in my case, I don’t synchronize folders that I only need on my primary desktop). To enable synchronization for a specific folder, just right click on it, choose “Folder Properties,” then place a checkmark in the box labeled “Synchronize this folder with NewsGator Online.”

After enabling synchronization for a folder, it will be added to NewsGator Online and all of its feeds will be available from any computer you use. Any feeds you add to this folder will automatically be added to your NewsGator Online subscriptions. And when you read an item in one of these feeds, it will automatically be marked read in NewsGator Online – so items you read in one location will remain read on any computer you use.

At this point, I should explain an important sync-related setting that you might not be aware of. If you click the “Synchronization” button in FeedDemon’s options, you’ll see the dialog shown below:

Note the checkbox labeled “Retrieve only unread items in synchronized folders” – this unassuming option actually has quite an impact on how synchronization is handled. By default, FeedDemon will only retrieve unread items in synchronized folders. This cuts down on bandwidth consumption, since items you’ve already read aren’t re-downloaded. However, a side effect of this option is that items you’ve already read in NewsGator Online won’t automatically be marked as read in FeedDemon if they already exist as unread in FeedDemon.

For some people, that’s no big deal – for others, though, this is a big problem. We’ve heard a number of people complain that synchronization in the FeedDemon 2.0 beta isn’t working, and the culprit has invariably been this single setting. Because of these complaints we’re rethinking our approach to how unread items are retrieved, so this shouldn’t be a problem by the time FeedDemon 2.0 is out of beta. In the meantime, though, if sync isn’t working the way you expect, try disabling this option.

You’ll also notice the option to check for subscription changes when FeedDemon starts. When this is enabled – which it is by default – FeedDemon will check whether any feeds or folders have been added to (or removed from) NewsGator Online since the last time you ran FeedDemon, and if so, you’ll be asked whether to apply those changes to your FeedDemon subscriptions. I recommend leaving this option enabled, since it makes it effortless to keep your subscriptions synchronized.

18 thoughts on “Using FeedDemon 2.0’s Synchronization Features

  1. Hi there Nick, I am been using FD well, since 12/2003 (had to check my reciept) [grin]
    I think this is about the best news aggregator out there. (trust me, I have tried a couple too) , but this whole Synchronization thing, it made me go back to 1.5 because for whatever reason it was not updating feeds correctly and just turn my new reading world upside down.
    Yes, I have upgraded to the latest beta, and even though the king of interfaces (Pirillo) gives it the lockergnome stamp. I need to ask for a feature that allows those that like the old fashion look and functionality (like 1.5) to not be forced into the new ways?
    Also, why did you move the “Blog this” part, I now have to drill down further which.. well.. is something that I would prefer not to “have” to do.
    I am not a engineer, a programmer, or anything thing else as polished and shiny.. I am a user of technology and I wish to remain in my tried and true old fashion ways. Can you help us folks out here? Thanks!
    Andy Wood
    http://www.gamerscircle.net

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  2. “I need to ask for a feature that allows those that like the old fashion look and functionality (like 1.5) to not be forced into the new ways?”
    Andy – if sync isn’t for you, just make sure that none of your folders are set to sync. That’ll give you a completely “stand-alone” reading experience as 1.5 had.

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  3. Hi, I’m trying the beta, and love it so far. I tried switching off sync (as in your second image), but I can’t click OK. Seems that if you don’t fill in your Newsgator name and password it won’t let you click OK, just cancel. I don’t have a NG username, but I can’t turn off sync without one (it seems).
    One issue I do have though – the beta is VERY slow compared to the old Feeddemon – I have about 20 feeds each in about 20 folders. When FD starts up, the whole thing is locked for about a minute before I can click on anything. Then when I click on a folder to view my feeds, FD locks up again for about 30 seconds. This never happened in the old FD, it was instant. (I tried lowering the view setting from 200 to 20, its slightly better but not much).

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  4. “You’ll also notice the option to check for subscription changes when FeedDemon starts. When this is enabled – which it is by default – FeedDemon will check whether any feeds or folders have been added to (or removed from) NewsGator Online since the last time you ran FeedDemon, and if so, you’ll be asked whether to apply those changes to your FeedDemon subscriptions.”
    I usually add and delete feeds in FeedDemon, and not in NewsGator. The current flow is that NewsGator wins all the time. I delete a feed or folder in FD, and when I sync, NG will tell FD that im missing these feeds/folders and it will want to add them again into FD. Can FD tell NG what feeds/folders it wants ?

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  5. I have a question about the synchronization features you describe above. If I un-check the box that says “retrieve only unread items in synchronized folders” (because I find the fact that things I’ve read in NG aren’t marked as read in FD, if I’d already retrieved them in FD), what exactly does this do?
    Will this mean that things I’ve marked as read in FD will be synced so that they don’t appear as unread in NG and that things I’ve read in NG will be synced so they don’t appear as unread in FD? (This is what I’d want from synchronization).
    Or, does un-checking that box mean that synchronization of what’s read just doesn’t go on at all?

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  6. Paul, we do plan to sync news bins and watches, but this may not be completed in time for FeedDemon 2.0.
    Eric, I’m not sure I understand the question. Are you wanting to have only a subset of your NewsGator Online folders appear in FeedDemon?
    Molly, if you uncheck this option, it just means that items you’ve read in another location that have already been retrieved by FeedDemon will be automatically marked as read. For example, if you leave FeedDemon running at home while you go to work, it will continue to download your feeds and show new items as unread. If you read those items at your work location, they’ll be marked as read at home if you uncheck this option.
    PS: Rather than posting FeedDemon questions here, I recommend posting them in our support forums at http://www.newsgator.com/forum/ instead.

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  7. Thanks for the answer! (And sorry for not posting it in the support forums). But since I’m here: I definitely recommend changing the language of those boxes somewhat in the release version. It’s very counter-intuitive the way it’s worded now. Checking that box sounds like I’m going to get the true work/home synchronization that I want, when precisely the opposite is true! (If I’m understanding correctly)

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  8. What about sync with bloglines?
    I’d love to tie this into TailRank so I can get both the attention data and OPML…
    Would be nice to be able to sync to multiple places.

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  9. Kevin, FeedDemon already syncs with Bloglines (and has done so since v1.5). However, Bloglines’ API isn’t nearly as rich as NewsGator’s – the way it’s designed, items are marked as read as soon as they’re retrieved through Bloglines, regardless of whether you’ve actually read them.

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  10. I am glad to hear that the language the option is written in will change in future releases of FD2. I have been looking for a way to get this sync to work the way I expected it to at home and at work, and now I will.
    “And there was much rejoicing.”

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