August 27, 2007

With version 0.7, newsbeuter will contain a plugin-based bookmarking system. In the latest SVN revision, this is implemented as follows:

When a user bookmarks a link (possible in the article list, in the article view, and in the URL view), he is asked for the URL to bookmark (already preset with the URL of the current selection), the bookmark title (in most cases preset with the title of the current selection) and the bookmark description. After the question for the description, an external program, configured via the configuration command “bookmark-cmd”, is executed with 3 commandline parameters. The plugin itself implements the actual bookmark saving (e.g. writing the bookmark to an external file, or storing it to a account). When everything went OK, the plugin simply exits. In case something goes wrong while saving the bookmark (e.g. disk is full, or is currently unreachable due to a network error), the plugin writes out an error message as a single line. This error message is then presented to the user from within newsbeuter.

A simple example that demonstrates how a plugin can be implemented is shown in this shell script:

echo -e "${url}\t${title}\t${description}" >> ~/bookmarks.txt

Update: newsbeuter 0.7 will even ship with a bookmarking plugin for Joy! 😉

Synchronization with Online RSS Readers

August 23, 2007

Using online RSS readers is quite common these days. They’re reachable from everywhere where there’s web access, one sees every unread article only once, etc. But one crucial disadvantage remains: these online RSS readers are not newsbeuter, and don’t provide the feature set of newsbeuter with the instant accessibility of newsbeuter (clicking links and buttons takes longer than pressing keys on your keyboard).

And that’s why I started adding support for online RSS readers to newsbeuter, so that users are able to both use online RSS readers in “restricted” (i.e. web-only) environments and to use newsbeuter in non-restricted (e.g. wherever SSH works, or at home) environments. Not only does this give the user the flexibility and the full feature set of newsbeuter, but it also makes it possible to read the RSS feeds offline – just synchronize your articles with newsbeuter before you go offline, start newsbeuter in offline mode (commandline switch), and you’re able to read the previously downloaded articles without any internet connection whatsoever.

Currently, only Bloglines is supported. I evaluated implementing support for NewsGator, too, but the license restrictions for even using their Synchronization API are completely unbearable, so unless NewsGator completely changes their licensing, there won’t be any support for NewsGator. The #3 I looked at was the Google Reader, but Google hasn’t published any official API for it yet, so implementing support is hardly possible (there exists a reverse-engineered spec, but this unofficial API just looks extremely weird). But anyway, the Bloglines support looks pretty cool so far, and will be included in the next release.

Hello everybody!

August 22, 2007

This blog will be about all kind of stuff related to the development of newsbeuter, an RSS feed reader for the console.