Blogbot Open-Sources Outlook Web Feed Aggregator

 
 
By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-09-28
 
 
 
The code for Blogbot, an Outlook add-in that aggregates RSS and Atom feeds and delivers them into Outlook folders, has been open-sourced. Blogbots domain is also up for sale, according to its Web site.

The motivation behind the open-sourcing is unclear, as no reasons for the code release were given on Blogbots site. The developing and licensing company, Blue6.com, in San Carlos, Calif., hadnt responded to e-mail by the time this story posted.

"The first thing that comes to mind is theres an issue with the software, or with the company," said Joe Wilcox, a senior analyst at Jupitermedia Corp. "[If] they were unable to successfully market the product, they could have open-sourced it and moved on to other things.

"Or it could be the philosophy of the company, that they believe in open source and want to endorse it as an approach," he said.

Or it could be that Blogbot is throwing in the towel in light of Microsoft Corp.s plans to build its own RSS platform.

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Microsoft plans to provide a common feed list of subscriptions and a common feed store of data in Vista, the Windows client release formerly known as Longhorn, due in the latter half of 2006. The capabilities will be available to applications through Windows APIs.

The company also opened the door to letting users automatically discover and subscribe to feeds in Internet Explorer 7 when it released Windows XP Office Service Pack 2 on Tuesday. That feature has been available for some time in competing browsers, including Mozilla Firefox and Apple Computer Inc.s Safari.

While the introduction of RSS into Microsofts products presents opportunity for some developers, it could well push others to the wayside, Wilcox said.

As it is, there are now a slew of approaches to getting Weblogs onto Windows. One is the portal approach. Microsoft has start.com, which is an incubation experiment at this point. Yahoo Inc., for its part, offers RSS from its portal page.

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Then there are browsers that support RSS, including IE 7 and Opera. Then again, there are actual news readers that can be installed onto users desktops. The most common flavor of such news readers is the standalone variety, while others such as Blogbot and Newsgator plug into Outlook.

Such fragmentation in the news reader space means plenty of competition, Wilcox said, harkening back to the early days of the Internet, when tools for creating home pages, Web sites and e-mail proliferated.

"Its an exciting time," he said.

Blogbots code is available on SourceForge.net.

Blogbot uses the popular, free Bloglines Web feed aggregator, with which it can also sync.

The shareware, which initially cost $18, is now available for download without the shareware trial limits.

According to Blogbots site, the next tool to be open-sourced will be the IE Sidebar code for Blogbot Lite. Blogbot Lite is a plug-in for IE that delivers RSS/ATOM feeds directly into an IE sidebar.

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