I’ve been testing RSS readers for a while now and it’s taken me a long time to find the perfect software. Not that I’m such a choosy person, as far as I am aware. My only requirement was that it should be a stand alone reader, not internet browser based. Call me an outdated conservative fool, but not only do I mistrust these kinds of solutions, but they also have some drawbacks. First of all they need a browser window (or a Tab in case of non MIE browsers). The downside is that when that window/tab is active, and you click on a link in an e-mail for example, your RSS feeds are gone. In the best case it’s simply a matter of clicking on the back button, but in most cases your session is gone and you need to login again. Furthermore, the features of dedicated software – as with most software – mostly exceed those hybrid solutions. But even with these dedicated RSS reader, it’s not all roses. The underlying problem is SDN, or should I say the RSS feeds. There are a lot of readers who choke on the specifics of the SDN RSS feeds. There are multiple reasons for it: ** RSS and SSL don’t seem to be a everyday combination ** ** The login mechanism seems to be a bit specific ** ** The automatic revoke – in my opinion rather stupidly implemented – mechanism is rather strange ** ** The rerouting of the pages makes things a bit complicated ** ** Most SDN RSS feeds have the same names, which makes it difficult to gain a clear view of all the subscribed feeds, certainly when the reader doesn’t allow one to rename the channels or overrides them with the one it gets back from the feed. ** ** All feeds have a maximum of 10 items per load. Some readers don’t allow archiving, which means that even unread threads are overwritten, which is rather inconvenient for high volume feeds like the ABAP forum ** ** Speaking of that forum, in order to respond quickly, you need to check the forum fairly frequently. Some readers have a minimum interval of 1 hour, which is too high. ** *The most beautiful reader* All this meant that finding the perfect reader was a tedious and lengthy process. Even after > 1 year, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. There is one reader which I’m rather satisfied with: Awasu. But, it comes with a price. Despite the fact that it comes in 3 flavours (one of them is free), the professional version is the one to go for if want to face the SDN RSS feeds calmly. Before you accuse me of commercial plugging, I will simply refer you to the site (http://awasu.com/) for additional info and features.*Monty Python* One can modify the Awasu configuration so that it won’t stumble over such things. The Awasu developer(s) are very keen on making their product 100% compliant and expect that the RSS feeds publishers are of the same opinion. Nevertheless, they agreed to incorporate support for these special cases. Meanwhile, I was even given a workaround to further help me and other SDNers. First thing to do is to edit the channel’s config file (end with .channel) and make sure that this line is present: EncodingOverride=iso-8859-1 That won’t solve the HTML encoding problem though. One needs to go further in order to solve this. One of the features of Awasu is the plugin functionality which will let you do whatever you like with the feeds. One could make such a thing for this problem too. The Awusu people even made a quick hack for this in Python (Win 32 extensions needs to be installed too). Check this forum thread (http://www.awasu.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1151&highlight=eddy) for the code and use the channel wizard to install it. Not all the problems have been solved yet though. I still got problems with the feed the other day. It seemed that was not properly encoded resulting in <> being interpreted as an empty tag. Despite the fact that this should be solved at the server side, one can solve this at the reader side too by installing this channel plugin (http://www.awasu.com/wiki/XmlCleaner_Plugin_Channel). *Conclusion* As you can see, with some tweaking, one is able to read the RSS feeds in a rather efficient way. If you choose different software make sure that you can rely on the tool’s developers if any problems occur.