What a list! Thanks for the feedback. No, really!
Magic Speller wrote:1. When I start up Awasu, it takes 3 minutes to populate the channel list! With FeedDemon, it's instantaneous; with NewzCrawler, it takes 15 or 20 seconds. Does Awasu's code take advantage of multithreading? Wouldn't it be possible to list the channels first so that I can start reading while the channels are being updated?
Awasu is highly multi-threaded but the delay in loading the channels is a side-effect of the current design. Yes, it is a bit slow if you have a lot of channels but you can use each channel immediately and don't have to wait for them all
to load. Once we start archiving feed content, the design will change and startup will be much
Magic Speller wrote:2. The item list has only a single column. It would be SO much more useful to have additional columns. I would especially like to see a date-published/received column so that I can see whether an item is new today or too old to bother with. It would also allow resorting by date (or by other included columns). I realize that date sorting is possible now with a plugin, but this would be much easier.
We have a few plans for other things to put in the item list but it's a question of priorities and what gets done first. If I had a team of 20 programmers at my disposal, there would be heaps of things going in right now but alas, that is not the case
Sorting by date would be fairly low priority anyway since virtually every feed provider presents their content in reverse chronological order anyway
This information is available in the summary page but not all publishers provide this information.
Magic Speller wrote:3. There is no "News Bin" (one of FeedDemon's greatest features). I'm hoping that the soon-to-be-added (?) archiving will match this capability.
Yes, the News Bins are neat. Awasu has one News Bin (the read-me list in the Workpad) and we would like to allow for more that can be created dynamically by the user. Once we get archiving/search in, we have some ideas for features that are much more sophisticated than FeedDemon's news bins.
Magic Speller wrote:4. No "Watches" (FeedDemon's second great feature). A watch monitors incoming feeds for certain search terms (I have one set up to watch for "Korea") and creates a meta-channel (using Awasu terminology) of all items with the word "Korea", for example.
Again, coming soon. There have been some unfortunate delays with the search engine work which is why it is still not available. I would have liked for it to be in by now. Still, we have a lot of experience with AI-based, intelligent search so what we will be providing will be much smarter than a simple keyword search e.g. an agent that learns what you like to read (and can be trained) and then watches the incoming content for stuff that it thinks you might be interested in.
Magic Speller wrote:5. No OCS import wizard. The main OCS search pages are included in the Tools menu, but it's not quite the same.
OCS is nowhere near as popular as OPML. I think you're the first person to ask for it.
Magic Speller wrote:6. Better keyboard navigation is needed. An example would be use of the space key to move through an article and then skip to the next item.
I have to disagree with you on this one. Somebody once said that he liked Awasu because it didn't assume that he wanted to read every single item. Again, it's a question of quality over quantity. The way I use Awasu is to quickly scan each channel's summary looking for interesting stuff and only read that. I probably only read < 5% of all content that arrives. If I had to press SPACE to move through items, well, I have >250 channels right now, so assuming an average of 10 items per channel, that's one sore thumb...
Magic Speller wrote:7. In a related vein, F8 and Shift-F8 move to the next/previous item, but something is needed to move to the next/previous UNREAD item.
You can configure channels to show new or unread items only. The way I do it is press F7 to show the item pane and press SPACE on the item I want. I have auto-hide feed items turned on so the item pane closes up as the page loads. When I'm done, I press F7 again and since my channels are configured to show unread items only, the one I've just read will have been removed from the list and the next item already selected.
Magic Speller wrote:8. It would be nice to have a blogger client and a way of creating news feeds, as in NewzCrawler and some others.
We have always intended Awasu to be more than just another blog reader/tool and so our efforts have been made in a slightly different direction to the others. I don't want to give away too much but you can already see the possibilities that plugins and hooks make available and these are just the first steps towards our vision of what Awasu will become. There are so many RSS readers out there now that offer virtually the same thing: a 3-pane reader, maybe a blogging interface, a simple search facility. From a business point of view, it makes no sense for us to write something that does exactly what everyone else is doing. We are commited to producing a package that gives you unparalleled power when it comes to manipulating information, something that is not available in any other reader. It may not be immediately obvious to the general public today but you will start to see what I mean over the coming months. We have enough ideas to keep us busy for a few years to come!
Magic Speller wrote:9. There is no news ticker as in NewzCrawler.
This has been on the wish list for ages. If you have a play with the ChannelMonitorWindow hook, you will see that this could easily be extended to show the feed as a ticker instead of as a list of items. Again, it's a question of priorities. If somebody is interested, I am happy to work with them to modify it to work as a ticker.
Magic Speller wrote:10. In addition to an unread count in the channel list, I would like to see a total count--in the format #/#.
I'll have to disagree with you again, this time on personal taste. I hate even having the unread item count in my My Channels window - I only put it in because people were asking for it. I think this is a techie thing, wanting to have a display of every available statistic. Remember, one of our main target user groups is non-techies and so an uncluttered UI is crucial. Is it really
important to know how many items are in a channel or what percentage of them you have read?
Still, if you can drum up enough support for this, I'll put it in
Magic Speller wrote:11. Another NewzCrawler feature missing from Awasu is Usenet capabilities.
Historically, NewzCrawler started out as a Usenet reader and added RSS later. Usenet support doesn't really fit in with our vision and we have no plans for adding support at this time. Anyway, NewzCrawler has been around for years so check back with us after an equivalent amount of time
BTW, there is a service that converts news groups to RSS that you can use.
Magic Speller wrote:12. It would be nice to have a more full-featured browser toolbar.
What would you like to see? Again, I hardly use it and only added it by popular request.
Magic Speller wrote:The argument might be made that Awasu is free and the other two aren't. Well...I hate to say it, but the "free" version is looking more and more to me like a gimmick. There are always the nags to upgrade (a popup balloon, upgrade tab, etc.), and I find the free version to be seriously crippled. The limitation of 100 feeds isn't too bad, but the limit of just five channel filters and reports is severely limiting. With "All", "New Content", "Unread Items", and "My Favorites" already in use, I can only add a single category to filter (unless I'm missing something).
I think calling it a "gimmick" is a bit harsh
You described yourself as a power user and so the restrictions you mentioned probably would be overly limiting. But there are a great many people out there who are just casual users of RSS - we get thousands of downloads of the free version every month - and Awasu is more than adequate for them. If you had only 50 or so channels, then 5 filters and 5 reports are probably enough; you are able to delete the existing ones and create your own new ones if you wish. Anyway, I strongly suspect that most people aren't creating their own and are just using the standard ones.
I said in the FAQ that part of the motivation of giving away a free version was a desire on our part to give something back in return for all the free software that we've used ourselves over the years and that is actually the truth
The free version is fully-functional
(none of this can't print or can't save that some demos do) and even if you are considering upgrading to the paid version, it is still
cheaper than the other ones you mentioned!
And there is the question of support and the like. Have you been able to have a conversation like this one with the authors of the other programs? Do they provide the same level of support in their forums as we do? Are they as responsive to bug reports and feature requests?
Magic Speller wrote:Just about every other product uses a tree structure or something similar to allow unlimited categories. I think the virtual-folder concept (although difficult to learn--I think the documentation could be better) is the best way to handle this, but it's useless with this limitation.
Yes, but the traditional tree-based way of organizing information is such a pain to use. I hate trying to navigate through a directory tree in Windows Explorer, expanding and closing tree nodes with the mouse. Yuk! Awasu's virtual folders (excellent name, BTW, I'm going to use it!) are a much slicker, more efficient way of doing things. CTRL-SHIFT-N, I've immediately got all my channels with new content, CTRL-SHIFT-F, my favorites. Yes, it takes a while to get the hang of it, yes the documentation could be better, there are many improvements we want to make in the UI (especially for mouse-bound users) and all of this will be coming soon. There are some core features that need to be done first - sync and then archive/search - and then we will be going back and addressing issues such as these. I know a lot of developers say this but if you look through the forums, our track record is that we actually do it
And if you want more filters, more reports, more channels, 15 bucks is not all that much to pay. We give it away for free
to thousands of people who use it every day (NewzCrawler only has a trial version and I believe that there will not be a free version of FeedDemon once it gets out of beta) so if you like it, if you use it, why not give a little something back?
Wow. What a post. Hope it helped