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ReadAIR Not Yet a Reader

Posted by Sravan | September 23, 2008 .

After reading several positive reviews about this new way of reading feeds in Google Reader, I installed ReadAIR, tried it, and uninstalled it before starting this review. I found the post reading too long as I wrote it, and so changed it from a mostly negative review to a list of various issues that I faced while using the AIR app.

That is not to say that this app has no hope. It has keyboard shortcuts (ongoing), a cool look and feel, an ability to sit in the system tray, uses HTTPS, and is a very active open source project hosted on Google Code. Adam McGrath and his team are doing a laudable job, and the project has great potential to evolve into something nice. I would definitely like to try the later versions of the app in the future.

James Whittaker of Refreshing Apps points out a big thing working against them though: “Given that Google don’t actively support an open API for Reader, I guess that there are going to be a few teething troubles.”

ReadAIR Screenshot

I tried the app on WinXP, and here is the laundry list I mentioned earlier.

1. The app has trouble displaying the tickbox beside “Remember login” sometimes.
2. The large window to add feeds won’t accept more than one feed (in csv, say) at a time, and there is no way to import feeds from a file.
3. Though the feed pane can be resized, widening it doesn’t fill the extra space with the feeds’ names.
4. Perhaps, HTTPS slows down updating the list pane when a feed is added for the first time. On choosing the preference to run an update of feeds only once in thirty minutes and then moving back and forth between feeds several times, the list pane continues to consume as much time to refresh.
5. When I logout as one user and login as another user, the list pane (and the reading pane) still contains the previous feed displayed. This could be a serious security issue. (See screenshot above. No “Flex RIA” feed in the feed pane.)

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