Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Sat, 19 Apr 2003
Dreaming of this aggregator
Don Park is describing a newspaper like UI for RSS aggregators. In some ways, Aggie is pointing the way here. It takes your feed list and uses XSLT to generate an HTML newspaper. So where is it different from what Don describes?
Imagine a browser-like window displaying a newspaper frontpage-like view with columns of articles under bold headlines. Articles are pulled from direct or indirect (via editorial process) RSS feeds as well as syndicated news feeds. Merging articles from a large number of sources into a single newspaper is the key idea here. News sources are demoted from being an important UI artifact to a single line at the end of an article.
I don't care if I have columns of articles. The Aggie display creates bold headlines, but it still is grouping articles by feed. The only way that this is going to change in a big way is if people start categorizing articles in their feeds. You could categorize blogs and have articles that have no category inherit the category of their blog, but that would be a fallback solution. The other problem with Aggie is that right now it can't keep up a dynamic newspaper. Aggie pretty much runs as a batch process -- I'd like it to run in the background and update the newspaper as it polls the feeds.
There are visual artifacts at corners and edges for nativigating to other sections. Each sections are topic oriented. Important articles from each section are displayed either partially or entirely on the frontpage. Importance is determined by a combination peer feedback and a hierarchy of editorial input. Users can click on an article to view it different zoom levels for more comfortable reading size.
Since Aggie doesn't have sections, it can't do this. See above for being topic oriented. Of course, once you are topic oriented, you want to sort by ratings of some kind. Eric Vitiello's pixel skin for Aggie allows you collapse and expand whole feeds. The other difficulty with Aggie's XSLT approach is that messed up HTML in an RSS item can wreak havoc with pixels CSS layout.
Each article is adorned with visual artifacts that allows:
  • the reader to request more details which creates a special news section that fills up over time as news articles related to the special section is arrives.
  • express interested other news written by the author.
  • participate in polls related to the news.
  • forward to friends by e-mail, IM, or your own newspaper (more on this later)
  • comment or make a blog post within the context of the article
  • save for reference later
All of these ideas are cool -- I'd add some additional functionality for doing workflow and item archiving/searching. It would be great to be able to select items to be sent to a holding bin so that they could be processed (read / commented / posted on) later. This UI would be a perfect match for Tablet PC's. Couple this with Clemens' content pipeline and you'd be in business.

I think that the hardest part is building the UI component that can render RSS items that have been formatted using HTML in such a way as to produce the newspaper and allow the controls to be there and interact with the back end. The idea of embedding one copy if a web browser component (IE or Gecko) for every item seems like a losing proposition.

[01:53] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
You can subscribe to an RSS feed of the comments for this blog: RSS Feed for comments

Add a comment here:

You can use some HTML tags in the comment text:
To insert a URI, just type it -- no need to write an anchor tag.
Allowable html tags are: <a href>, <em>, <i>, <b>, <blockquote>, <br/>, <p>, <code>, <pre>, <cite>, <sub> and <sup>.

You can also use some Wiki style:
URI => [uri title]
<em> => _emphasized text_
<b> => *bold text*
Ordered list => consecutive lines starting spaces and an asterisk





Remember my info?

twl JPG


Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Now available!
Professional XML Development with Apache Tools : Xerces, Xalan, FOP, Cocoon, Axis, Xindice
Technorati Profile
PGP Key Fingerprint
My del.icio.us Bookmarks
My Flickr Photos

RSS 2.0 xml GIF
Comments (RSS 2.0) xml GIF
Atom 0.3 feed
Feedburner'ed RSS feed

< April 2003 >
   1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9101112


Macintosh Tips and Tricks

Blogs nearby
geourl PNG

/ (1567)
  books/ (33)
  computers/ (62)
    hardware/ (15)
    internet/ (58)
      mail/ (11)
      microcontent/ (58)
      weblogs/ (174)
        pyblosxom/ (36)
      www/ (25)
    open_source/ (145)
      asf/ (53)
      osaf/ (32)
        chandler/ (35)
        cosmo/ (1)
    operating_systems/ (16)
      linux/ (9)
        debian/ (15)
        ubuntu/ (2)
      macosx/ (101)
        tips/ (25)
      windows_xp/ (4)
    programming/ (156)
      clr/ (1)
      dotnet/ (13)
      java/ (71)
        eclipse/ (22)
      lisp/ (34)
      python/ (86)
      smalltalk/ (4)
      xml/ (18)
    research/ (1)
    security/ (4)
    wireless/ (1)
  culture/ (10)
    film/ (8)
    music/ (6)
  education/ (13)
  family/ (17)
  gadgets/ (24)
  misc/ (47)
  people/ (18)
  photography/ (25)
    pictures/ (12)
  places/ (3)
    us/ (0)
      wa/ (2)
        bainbridge_island/ (17)
        seattle/ (13)
  skating/ (6)
  society/ (20)

[Valid RSS]

del.icio.us linkblog



Listed on BlogShares

Locations of visitors to this page
Where are visitors to this page?

pyblosxom GIF