Sync Article Flags

Matt Goff
  • Matt Goff

    Matt Goff - 2005-05-16

    I opened a feature request (1201548) and am hoping to start a little discussion on it here. I think it would be a very valuable addition for my usage model, but wanted to see if others thought so. The text of the request is below:

    [ 1201548 ] Sync Article Flags

    The new/redefined Synchronize Blogroll feature solves
    the first half of the problem: synchronizing feedlists.
    A valuable addition to this feature would be the
    ability to sychronize flags set on individual articles
    within a feed. For example, with a read/unread flag, I
    could avoid re-reading articles I reviewed at work when
    I am later using my home PC.

    Off the top of my head, these flags might include:

    • read/unread
    • local archive (if implemented)
    • delete (if implemented)
    • star (if implemented, like gmail starring system)
    • Nobody/Anonymous

      This is an interesting idea, however if brings up the question for me, how to and when to synchronize flags. Options are:

      • Sync after a post has been read / labeled. This will lead in a lot of traffic

      • Sync after startup. This will lead in a long startup.

      • Sync in the background. This actually could work, but will also result in a lot of traffic over a long time.


      • Matt Goff

        Matt Goff - 2005-05-16

        My initial reaction is that a combination of 2 and 3 would be best. The first thing I do when I open my RSS reader is to force-sync all of my feeds, so I am already waiting for a bit. The sync file is really just another feed (except with some additionaI ftp/login overhead). If the flags are pulled and processed in the background, I could start reading feeds as soon as they are refreshed. That would mean no impact to today in terms of wait time, but it could be confusing to a user if he sees articles being marked read or disappearing while he's reading. Of course, any user of this feature is probably more advanced since he had to set up the ftp feature separately (and has an ftp site).

        The default feed refresh rate is an hour-- might as well sync up the article flags at the same interval (but be user configurable?). Depending on the format, the flag file shouldn't be too much bigger than an RSS XML file. Maybe there are a few usenet newsreaders out there that have a good format to use as a starter. A key difference is that we wouldn't have the uniform article numbering available to us that usernet news has. We'd probably have to save the full article title, unless the date stamp has enough resolution.


    • Alex Ezell

      Alex Ezell - 2005-07-18

      BlogLines offers a sync API ( that could be used to have RSSOwl sync with that service.

      This is a feature that many other readers offer. I assume that most web-based feed readers have a similar API and could be integrated fairly easily once the original work is done.

      I know no Java, or I would offer some help, but I thought this info might be helpful.

      • Nobody/Anonymous

        Syncing Subscriptions with RSSOwl is already be possible since Bloglines is exporting feeds using OPML and RSSOwl is allowing to create "Synchronized Blogrolls" that keep in Sync with the given OPML file.



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