No more NewsGator, no Google Reader API

So everyone heard earlier this week that NewsGator is shutting down their aggregator synchronising service and getting everyone to switch to Google Reader.

There are two big problems for me:

There are also other issues of course, like Google owning yet another piece of monopoly pie, but the others affect me more directly right now.

Both NetNewsWire and FeedDemon now have the ability to sync with Google Reader, but there’s no published API, so I can’t mirror their behaviour in my own Linux desktop aggregator. At best I could use Niall Kennedy’s work from 2005 or maybe code from pyrfeed which has some documentation from 2007. Neither is an option I would choose willingly.

NewsGator + Venus?

I recently broke the graphics drivers on my Windows Vista installation, so re-partitioned and now run Ubuntu full-time at home.

On Windows I use FeedDemon as my full-time aggregator. It has a degree of speed and polish unmatched by any other web or desktop aggregator.

This means that all my feeds are automatically synced with – a web-based aggregator which is not fast and not particularly polished. Although it might be polished, I don’t know, it’s so slow that I tend to just give up (sync with Google Reader is coming).

FeedDemon has significantly raised the bar for any aggregator I use. Web-based tools no longer cut it, in particular when I have hundreds of feeds and, at times, thousands of unread items.

On Ubuntu the options for a native aggregator are Straw or Liferea. Both are currently undergoing rewrites. Liferea seems like the better option for me, and it has a plugin system which is appealing, but there’s no sync with any online tools.

NewsGator have an HTTP-basd API (PDF reference and sample code which requires a minor tweak to run) which is quite straightforward. It gives back data which can be consumed by the Universal Feed Parser. Venus uses the Universal Feed Parser in planet/ after fetching data to create the cache which powers it.

This time last year I wrote a very very basic wxWidgets tool for browsing the Venus cache. A modification to planet/ to use the NewsGator API would seem like an easy way forward, whilst gaining all the power of the Venus filters, plugins and existing XSLTs.

I might just have to try that.