More feature requests

An RSS/Atom newsreader with features comparable to commercial newsreaders.
cheechi
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More feature requests

Postby cheechi » Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:13 am

The more I post requests, I'm certain the more the devs are thinking my use of Vienna is not what most people are wanting. I know the first of these two requests is simple to implement, and I think it will have some popularity. The second will be harder, but I'm certain that several people could find a daily use.

I would like the ability to either make feeds/folders 'immune' from smart folders, including Unread Articles. Basically I want to be able to read everything that's unread except a few feeds that I can come back to in my spare time. Alternately, you could give the option to have smart folders ignore certain feeds or folders (once again giving Unread Articles this functionality).

Secondarily, I'd like if reading the several feeds I subscribe to act more like old-school news research. Let me explain that one a bit. Let's say several feeds have similar stories, I'd like there to be a way for a smart folder to collect unread articles that have n words in common (including number strings as one word) and present those several articles as one headline with each article under it. That way if the same thing is a popular topic, I can either get all the different angles on it at once, or avoid all the redundant info that is out there. Both of these situations are especially popular in tech news, and especially Mac news :p

Please give some consideration to implementing these ideas, it will set Vienna further apart from other readers and give a better overall experience to reading RSS.

sheepguy42
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Re: More feature requests

Postby sheepguy42 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:56 pm

I'm not involved in developing, well, anything, but I suspect the first request you mention is relatively easy to implement. When creating a new Smart Folder, the first condition menu should have a "Source" or "Feed" option—like the "Playlist" option in iTunes that gives similar functionality to what you are asking for. The second menu would then need the "is not" choice. From there it would be easy to set up rules to show articles that are 1) Unread, 2) Not in Feed X, 3) Not in feed Y, etc.

Your second request sounds a lot more complicated. Just matching articles with n words in common would both yield many false positives and miss articles written about the same topic, but very differently. In order to have any meaningful accuracy, it would have to at least have some very sophisticated algorithms (the kind Google can afford) and at best a full-on A.I. system. While these are certainly technically possible, I doubt Vienna's devs will have the resources (mostly time) to devote to such a large undertaking. Doing so would effectively halt all other development of the app, I imagine.

Just my 2¢.

inflector
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Re: More feature requests

Postby inflector » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:28 am

Your first feature is a good idea but the specific implementation strikes me as too narrow to be worth the effort to implement. It wouldn't be that much more difficult to do something much more general that might be much more useful to more a greater variety of users.

For example, instead of having a checkbox in the feed dialog which was something like: "Exclude from unread list," or something like that (which is what I think you're asking for), you could add functionality much like the Finder's Label's where you can label a feed or categorize it. You might create a category (with associated color perhaps) for "Less Critical" feeds that you didn't want to read as part of a normal search. Then you could set the category for each feed using the Window Info dialog that comes up when you press Command-I or the Get Info command for a feed in the File menu.

We could add an extra section in the Smart Search dialog where you had "Exclude all articles that match any/all of the following criteria".

This would allow you to create a new "Critical Articles" smart search where you could add a line for the exclusion section where the "Folder Category" was "Less Critical".

If the feature was implemented in this way, you could easily implement your feature by creating the right Smart Search, and I could create my own searches based on feed categories that were important to me. I might create a category for "Software and Computer" feeds, then I could create a Smart Folder that found the unread items in that category. I could also do something like you suggest for my unread folders as well, i.e. exclude certain lower priority feeds. I could do both. Other users could do something else that made sense to them.

Your second feature is also a great idea. It is, unfortunately, damn near impossible to do well. It would be a great feature but I don't see anyone doing it for an open source project. I speak as a programmer with 30 years experience writing code and on Apple computers starting with the Apple IIe and on Macs since 1985. I'm not sure how useful this feature would be if it only did a decent job detecting matches.

- Curtis

cheechi
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Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:28 am

Re: More feature requests

Postby cheechi » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:31 am

Thanks for taking a look.

However you would like to implement it (I think your interpretation will have more broad use for more users to get the results they want) would be fine with me. I'm not too picky on the details.

As far as the second idea, I knew ahead of posting it the amount of work that would be involved. Although I agree with you that it would take a lot of work and then still probably require a lot of fine tuning, it would do a great deal to separate whatever RSS reader eventually gets it right in a release version from the rest.

it wouldn't be that difficult to implement a 'quick n dirty' version of it, just using the built in search. You could have an option while you are reading all your unread articles that as it shows you the next one, a dialog/secondary window becomes available 'collect similar articles.' It could use criteria you have previously set up (the n words, ignore words m letters long, etc) and even if it's not perfect, like i said even that quick & dirty implementation would still be a feature that (to my knowledge) no other newsreader currently has. It's great for weeding out duplicate articles (computerworld, macworld, & pc world often run the same exact story but there is enough unique articles in each to keep them all) and if you subscribe to several forums, you can get closer to a 'threaded' view by doing this. You could further allow the program to search while you're reading the article (say a certain number of seconds before moving to the next it would start searching), or on demand with a button. I understand also this would use more resources by having it search in the background but a simple text search is easy and vienna's searches are very fast as it is.

I'm not expecting it to become every devs' priority, but it's worth considering.

Adau
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Re: More feature requests

Postby Adau » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:49 pm

Ok here's my contribution :

How about reading the full text of RSS feeds ? Unfortunately, several feeds send the reader to their website. But I don't want to, because I like the full text without adds, pop-ups or whatever.

Here's a open-source project I found for you:
https://code.launchpad.net/~keyvan-k1m/ ... ntent-only

But I can't add this code by myself into Vienna, my computer skills are not so good.

Anyways, great work !

Adau

cheechi
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Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:28 am

Re: More feature requests

Postby cheechi » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:50 am

How about something simple in addition to the above requests? Instead of the default blue dot on the 'unread' could we have the feed icon that we see on the url/left hand side etc? Could we also have the option to color code headlines based on groups or feed name? This will add even more ability for a user to organize their feeds in their own way, and will give the devs more avenues to implement above & other suggestions.


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