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What is Syndirella

Syndirella is a desktop information aggregator - a program which provides a comfortable environment for reading the information coming from multiple sources, or feeds. The most common uses for Syndirella are reading news sites and weblogs.

Currently, Syndirella can show the information from regular Web pages and from RSS feeds. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and is a commonly used format for presenting the list of news items on a Web page in a machine readable form. The RSS format is most commonly used in weblogs.

Syndirella is free software, distributed under the GNU General Public License. Syndirella is a .NET application, and requires Windows 98, Windows 2000 or later, the .NET Framework version 1.0 and Internet Explorer version 5.0 or later.

Why use Syndirella

If you currently do not use any news aggregator and read all the news in a regular Web browser, Syndirella gives you the following advantages:

  • You do not need to make regular visits to all the sites you read. Syndirella polls the sites automatically and notifies you when a site is updated.
  • You see only the content of the site - the text of the news themselves. The pages are not cluttered with advertisements, navigation bars and other things that are not essential for reading news.
  • Syndirella keeps an archive of the news items published on a site, and viewing the items archived by Syndirella is usually more convenient than using the archive system provided by the site.

If you already use a news aggregator, like Radio UserLand, AmphetaDesk, FeedReader or Newzcrawler, Syndirella offers you the following distinguishing features:

  • Syndirella provides a uniform interface for reading RSS feeds and regular Web pages. After you complete a simple configuration procedure and specify the strings separating news titles and descriptions in the HTML source of a page, Syndirella parses it automatically and shows you the list of news items on the page.
  • Syndirella is not browser-based. It is a real desktop application, and its interface is optimized so that you can do all your news reading without leaving Syndirella. You do not need to switch to your Web browser to follow an interesting link that has been given in a news feed.
  • Syndirella has a very efficient keyboard interface. Most of your news reading will be done with a single key - Space, which moves you to the next remaining unread item. If you have a weblog open in Syndirella, subscribing to its RSS feed takes exactly three keystrokes: Ins, Enter, Enter.

Supporting the existing standards of the weblogging world is also a major priority for Syndirella. It does the following things right:

  • Syndirella supports all versions of RSS, from 0.9 up to 1.0 and 2.0, and several additional modules. (Currently, Dublin Core and the content:encoded elements are supported.)
  • Syndirella supports the standard OPML format for storing the subscription list. It can read both Radio and AmphetaDesk varieties of the format.
  • Syndirella has a full implementation of the RSS autodiscovery specification, including the possibility to search Syndic8.com automatically. If all the possibilities to find an RSS feed for a site fail, Syndirella suggests you to create a scraped Web feed for the site.
  • Syndirella supports ETag headers of the HTTP protocol for efficient bandwidth usage, and does not download the RSS files and Web pages which have not changed on the server.

Download

First of all, before installing Syndirella, you will need to have the Microsoft .NET Framework runtime version 1.0 installed. This is a 20 Megabyte download. If you do not already have it, you can either install it through Windows Update or download it from the Microsoft web site.

The latest build of Syndirella is the version 20030509, released on May 9, 2003. You can download it here:

You can also download the original beta version of Syndirella, version 0.9b, released on January 19, 2003.

I am no longer working on Syndirella, but if you're interested, you can find its development history at my weblog.

There is also a discussion group at YahooGroups where you can discuss everything related to Syndirella with the author and other users.

You can also view the latest source code of Syndirella in CVS.

Screenshots

Here is a screenshot of Syndirella displaying an RSS feed:

Syndirella-DitM.png

Web feeds look quite similar to that:

Syndirella-LG.png

And here is the settings dialog enabling such a display for Web feeds:

Syndirella-LGProps.png

Project Status

I am no longer working on Syndirella. My current day job is JetBrains, where I work as a project lead for JetBrains Omea which also includes RSS reading functionality. It is much more advanced and feature-complete than Syndirella, and I suggest you to check it out.

Some activity on Syndirella development goes on at SourceForge, but I am not involved in that work.

Used Libraries

Syndirella uses the XML-RPC.NET library version 0.7.0 by Charles Cook.

Syndirella also uses the UtilityLibrary control library by Carlos H. Perez, which is distributed in binary only form, because I have made some modification to its source code, and the author has not given permission to redistribute the modified sources. Thus, Syndirella license includes a special exception to the GPL allowing to link it with UtilityLibrary.dll distributed in binary form.