Comments about features and bugs are posted here with most recent on top and the responses are updated as the questions are addressed in new releases of the editor. Beta releases are posted here for download. Screenshots and instructions are on the firstobject News Reader page.
The following MSN Search URL http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=firstobject%20News%20Reader&format=rss&FORM=RSRE works properly in the News Reader. If you are referring to this kind of feed, then it might be something specific about the search results you are getting. If you like you can send me the RSS URL you are using offline to email@example.com, to help me determine what the issue is. You can also see if there is an error showing up by selecting Menu Status Messages (update the feed if it has not been attempted since you started the reader).
reader Beta 1.2.1
Ben Bryant 02-Mar-2006
Download: fonr121Beta.zip 313k
Beta 1.2.1 cleans up the handling of several issues.
When you click on an individual item, it is now marked as read. Before, the only way to mark an item as read was to mark all unread items in the feed as read.
Yahoo News feed recently started putting the news source (media credit such as AP) on a separate line. Now the news reader normalizes all newlines, extra spaces and tabs, to keep the title from affecting the summary layouts.
The Find results are cleaned up, and support case-insensitive search (for ASCII). Whitespace and markup tags were causing display problems in the Find results.
How I found this News Reader
I have 15 years of experience doing software development including firmware, web apps and PC apps. Four years ago I left my full time job in the corporate world and decided to work from my home office on contract to various companies. Recently one of my customers asked me to extend some functionality in one of the PC apps we developed in the past. One of the new features is a simple news reader capable of displaying headlines only.
The PC app was written a few years ago in C++ with mostly MFC code. Once I started into the newsreader component I realized that I probably underestimated it. Mainly because of the complexities of the various xml formats used for RSS. As well the XML reading capabilities for C++ apps are not as good as the later C# apps which have very good interfaces for XML data. So I required a small footprint XML reading interface as well. So here are my requirements:
So I hit Google to try and find some sample code that I could use as a base to begin with. Mainly I was searching for a newsreader. Here are some samples of the Google terms I tried (I checked my history in the browser):
Most of the links led me to binary objects, C# code, Perl scripts, specs, news reader products, etc. About the only thing I found was one project on codeproject.com (/cpp/AgileReader.asp) and the open source for RSS bandit. I was hoping to use the codeproject.com project as a base originally but later found that it was not really that well written and basically just ignored the XML formats and read what it could. That wasn't good enough. So I thought perhaps I could port some of the news reading/parsing pieces form RSS bandit (C#). That turned out to be a big task. Probably more work then writing a simple reader from scratch.
I thought that this was a bit ridiculous that I could not find any C++ code to start from anywhere. Somehow I came to this site: rwebsdesigns RSS Readers/Aggregators - I. Unfortunately I can't determine how I linked to it. I started looking at the various readers one at a time and noticed that the list contained lots of new browsers that my Google searches had failed to find. One by one I looked at them hoping that one was open source. Then I clicked on the First Object browser link. It appeared to be interesting. And it appeared source was available.
So I browsed your site and downloaded the newsreader. It was very fast and seemed to open every site I tried. Whether it was RDP or RSS it opened it and QUICK! The newsreader seemed to have all the components that I might be able to use as a base for my development. Plus it stored all its history and feeds in an XML file. Then I downloaded the CMarkup code to evaluate the source for that component. It seemed to be well written and have the correct interfaces that I need. As well it's very independent of all the other Microsoft XML interfaces (which are a bit ridiculous). Then I checked the license agreement. Seems to be fine. As a bonus it appears that I can use some of the other objects that come with this package as well. Especially the XML objects.
System does not support the specified encoding
Thanks for a great product. Everything works great accept for [one particular feed] which generates an error:
System does not support the specified encoding.
feedvalidator.org says it is a valid rss feed. Can you help?
Thanks for writing. The feed you supplied seems pretty erratic although sometimes it does seem to load properly in Internet Explorer. When it does load properly I can see nothing wrong with it, certainly the encoding ISO-8859-1 is one that should be supported. Most feed validators online seem to use different technologies to look at feeds so the results can be inconsistent. You would have to check it in another MSXML based feed reader to compare.
The firstobject News Reader uses MSXML to download feeds taking advantage of any Internet Explorer proxy settings and scripts you have already configured on your computer. If MSXML rejects the feed then the firstobject News Reader can't see it. With the latest release 1.2 I turned off validation which allowed it to accept a lot of feeds it was rejecting in 1.1. There might be another way to make it accept more feeds but I am not sure.
specify browser and change feed order in reader
Grzegorz Wiktorowski 21-Oct-2005
I have IE as default browser but I would like to open RSS in FireFox. I don't want to change my defaults. May I ask for a feature to define the browser?
Sometimes I also need to change the RSS feeds' order and group feeds. For example: Newpapers, Developers etc.
Thanks for the simple and fast RSS reader.
Would you consider adding https authentication for RSS fields like GMAIL's?
Additional support is not yet in the works, but for gmail in the current version of the reader you should already be able to use a URL like this: https://username:firstname.lastname@example.org/gmail/feed/atom
Search.Msn.Com news formatting change?
M Jessick 13-Nov-2006
I have enjoyed using the firstobject News Reader for some time now. I have used it successfully in the past to aggregate stories from search.msn.com. It seems to me that recently they have changed the way they present their feed such that the firstobject News Reader reports a blank "Viewer" listing. Their search results when viewed through their own system seem to now insert a page with a single link that has to be clicked to get to the actual stories. I mention this observation in case there is a way to get useful data out of that feed in future releases of the firstobject News Reader.