Shrook

If you don’t know, I am a huge fan of reading RSS feeds. They let me know when all the sites I’m watching are updated (which can be very important), without me having to go through all the sites individually. I can know when friends post new news without having to visit their site every half hour. And before RSS feeds, I was guaranteed to forget one or two sites in my morning crawl – now my RSS aggregator just keeps the list up to date and lets me know when there’s an update.
I’ve been using NetNewsWire Lite for quite some time, and have had very good results with it. But a post at BoingBoing pointed me to Shrook which may be a contender to the throne.
It features a distributed checking system which lets one client check a feed for everyone subscribed to that feed. This keeps the clients from overloading the server from requesting feeds every 5 minutes, which pisses off site owners and also means faster updates for everyone.
The UI isn’t the best – I’m not a fan of OS X’s drawers – but it makes up for it with templates. You can create an HTML template for your RSS item to appear in, so you can make it look a lot less plain than NetNewsWire Lite. On further inspection I discover that NetNewsWire supports customization but judging from NNW’s rendering engine I doubt you could do interesting things with stylesheets. Shrook uses WebKit, the same rendering engine as Safari, so it handled my custom layout perfectly.
I’m not sure what my RSS reader of choice will be, but it’s nice to see someone competing on solid ground against NetNewsWire – competition breeds innovation which benefits everyone.
(BTW, you can get any LiveJournal’s RSS by add /rss to the end of the URL, for example http://www.livejournal.com/users/revgeorge/rss)

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