December 04, 2002

Introducing Syndirella

The main reason why this weblog was created is to track the development of my latest project, Syndirella.

Syndirella is going to become a desktop information aggregator for Windows, running under the .NET Framework. Initially, it will be a rather traditional-looking desktop news aggregator, mostly resembling FeedReader or NewzCrawler. Its distinguishing feature will be support for Web page scraping, meaning that you will be able to configure a set of expressions to extract news items from any regular Web page that does not have an RSS feed. It is also likely that Syndirella will allow to export the results of scraping to a regular RSS 2.0 feed.

I'm also striving to support all the latest trends in blogging community - RSS autodiscovery, support for importing/exporting subscription lists as OPML, support for browsing blog archives and so on.

The ideas for later versions of Syndirella are more ambitious. First, it should support a much wider array of information sources (feeds). Obvious candidates are NNTP newsgroups, POP3 and IMAP mailboxes. However, things like bug-tracking databases can also be quite conveniently monitored with Syndirella.

Keeping track of such a large information flow will also require advanced information management features. The features I'm currently thinking of implementing are full-text search, filtering and threading. Threading means the ability to effiiently track conversations in the part of the blogosphere that you are monitoring. Essentially, when the author of a blog you're reading links to a post in another blog you're reading, Syndirella should be able to tie these posts together, showing them in a thread like it's commonly done in mail or news readers.

I should immediately warn of a common problem of mine: I'm always very eager to try out ideas and start new projects, and just as eager to drop them (permanently or temporarily) and move on to other things. So far, the development of Syndirella has been proceeding pretty rapidly, and the scope of the initial version is not too big, so I at least hope to bring it to a successful 1.0 release. But no guarantees are given.

Syndirella is free to use for everyone and released with full source code. For now, the license is "look but don't touch" - if you want to do anything with the code, you should contact me by e-mail and ask for a permission. When it gets closer to version 1.0, I'll settle either on GPL or on a BSDish license.

Syndirella is written in C# and tries to use the relevant features of .NET Framework as much as possible. It already makes use of Windows Forms, serialization, asynchronous HTTP support, the XML parser and the regular expression library. Posted by yole at December 4, 2002 12:47 AM

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