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Software Feedback: Using Ricciolo PaperBoy 0.2 (WPF RSS Reader)

March 10, 2007

I noticed a new RSS reader called Ricciolo PaperBoy on the WPF Application list a few days ago.  (I link to that applist at the top left of my blog: rrelyea.spaces.live.com…in case you forget the applist url)  It is a codeplex project.  This morning I’m doing my RSS reading in it and keeping track of my opinions.

My experience with RSS readers is not deep:

  • The first reader I used was newsgator, which was integrated with Outlook.  I liked the ability to easily forward posts to my coworkers.
  • I now use IE’s RSS functionality and do my RSS reading along with my web surfing.

Will somebody build an experience that is rich enough to get me to have a dedicated app or xbap…I think so, but lets see how it develops.  Giving my feedback will make it more likely. 

 

Impressions

Opportunity: the first time I ran this v0.2 project, i was getting several runtime exceptions.  (today I haven’t hit them at all. – Spoke too soon…I got some when I view certain posts…like mine.)

Nice: When I was getting those exceptions, a "phone home" feature took action to report the problem to the app author.  Good promise in this area…dr. watson crash reporting like…

Nice: WPF based reading experience is pleasant.  Modeled like Outlook with folders for each feed, lists of posts, and a previews screen.

Opportunity: Should consider using multiple columns via FlowDocuments in WPF (ala Times Reader)  I read most of my content on a 20 in. lcd monitor, and columns are very nice.

Opportunity: similar to the last one, I’d love scaling text like Times Reader.

Nice: uses the IE RSS store.  Things I read with PaperBoy show up as read in IE’s RSS reading experience

Opportunity: I want an easier way to navigate through the unread posts…ideally I could enter a new posts only mode and use only arrow keys like with the Times Reader…right arrow  – next post…down arrow – next page of this post, etc…  (not sure that is the right model…but I don’t want to touch my mouse as it appears I have to now.)   

(Update: I just found that space cycles through unread messages.  But it seems like I still have to use the mouse to jump to the next feed with unread posts???  Also, it is odd that you first go to the latest post and read that, but when you press space it jumpst to the oldest unread post…so you end up reading post 10, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 if you had already read 1-4.)

Nice: transition animation when you click on one post to another (the text content fades in – via opacity?)

Opportunity: Make it easy to read comments, post a comment, etc…  I don’t want to have to go to the html page.

Nice: clicking on a link in a post to an html page, opens a new tab with IE hosted inside that Tab (via WinForms BrowserObject or WPF’s Frame?)  Seems smooth.  Mousing over the tab gives you a thumbnail preview of the page.

Nice: "Open Item"/Into New Window – opens the post in IE for me…I like this to collect posts that I want to comment on, blog about, etc…

Opportunity: Similar to that last "nice"…how can an rss reader help me collect lists of posts and create a blog post with a list of links, titles, and my comments.

Opportunity: Help/About doesn’t list where to get the app…some URL…perhaps I forgot where I got it from…

Opportunity: I had to download a zip and run an .exe!!  Would much prefer to install via a click on a .application!  (is codeplex the issue here?)

 

Your PaperBoy Thoughts

Give it a try…what other things do you find nice and what other opportunities do you see?

 

Your RSS Reader Thoughts

What is your favorite RSS reader?  Why?

What is your favorite WPF based RSS reader?  How can/should it improve to be more competitive?

 

My Closing Thoughts

After an hour of using this reader…it has potential…I’ll start using it daily and see how it goes.  Would love to see the issues above addressed!

I registered as a user on codeplex and posted a comment in the PaperBoy forum.

From → Software Should

10 Comments
  1. Douglas Stockwell permalink

    Hi Rob, I think the exceptions shown viewing your blog are related to a malformed image that Live Spaces probably uses for tracking. Try this in XamlPad:
     
    <Image xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation&quot; Source="http://c.live.com/c.gif&quot; />
    I think it may be bug in WPF that the exception isn\’t swallowed earler, for example, if you change the above url to an image which doesn\’t exist, the 404 "not found" error *is* swallowed.
     
    I\’d love if you can pass this on – I\’m in dire need of a workaround. When I attempt to view your blog, or in fact any Spaces blog in my own RSS Reader (RikReader), an error is raised on the Render Thread and the application requires a restart.

  2. Cristian permalink

    Hi Rob, thanks for your suggestions, I have many ideas to implement and bugs to resolve. I will work hard to improve PaperBoy😉
    I confirm Douglas wpf bug. I can\’t resolve it or disable error because the rendering engine requires an application restart.

  3. Rob permalink

    Thanks for telling me about the image file that is causing wpf problems here…I have an email out to the imaging team to understand the issue…

  4. Willem permalink

    Kinda like the application, although it would be even greater with the flowdocument viewer.
    I\’m unsure at this point whether it automatically updates the feeds every hour or so. But as far as I can see now it doesn\’t, it would be pretty cool to have that. 
     
    I think paperboy is a great example of what you can do with WPF.

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