I saw this post last night and it got the little hamsters in my brain spinning on their wheels:

RSS via NNTP, News Groups

Genecast provides RSS via NNTP, News Groups. Very cool, hope it goes somewhere.

So I hit the site and tried out Genecast's free service which has a few feeds available (NYT, Slashdot, Dave) and it was REALLY FREAKIN COOL! I mean, almost all of us have a newsreader sitting on our desktops right now which organizes news very efficiently. I mean it's called a "news" "reader" for a reason.

This isn't a new idea - I saw in a comment on Fozbaca's blog that there's been talk about this for a couple years. But of course, my brain is only thinking about how I can implement this with the tools at hand (i.e. Java). I took a quick look at Jakarta's James last night and it has experimental NNTP support which is good. But NNTP is simple enough that it MIGHT be pretty straightforward to implement it as a small stand-alone server.

My thoughts on the design is once again like this: Two simple tables in a DB (which can be a real DB like MySQL or something like HSQLDB), one to hold subscription URLs, and another to hold the news items as they're downloaded. A Quartz process runs (which has it's own mess of tables to use also) and grabs the RSS feeds from wherever they are, processes them and pops them into the db. The NNTP server publishes the subscriptions as newsfeeds, which can be subscribed to by your client (Moz, Outlook, etc.). And of course a small web server (Jetty) for the management UI (adding/deleting feeds, schedule management, etc.).

Ahh, all well and good, but what if you're behind a fascist-like firewall that doesn't allow NNTP ports open? Ahh, well you could packaged up all the above as a Java JNLP Webstart app, download it and run the process locally, using your Newsreader as the UI interface (we all pretty much live in our email and web browser anyways).

What say you, fellow Romans?


Later... Hey! It looks like I got some link love from Dave, thanks! He also posts to Phil who says that a newsreader isn't as nice as an integrated aggregator like in Radio. Since I blog a ton, I'd have to agree. However, the application I'm talking about above is very maleable if you think about it. NNTP in this case is just a front end to a DB, so you can organize your feeds as you like: By site, by category, by name, etc. If you used NNTP to log-in, the available newsfeeds could be completely customizable by you. I'd like to see all the feeds in one big list, actually, so I could just add them to one category and go. Others might like a NetNewsWire-like categorization. Anything goes, really.

My point is that there's this very usable application sitting your desktop right now meant to read news just waiting to be utilized.

< Previous         Next >