Akregator Review

excellent
key review info
application features
  • Supports RSS formats
  • (6 more, see all...)

Some of us like to be up to date with the latest news, events, services and so on. This is called information and each one of us selects our sources based on our interest. However, new information sources are created or found frequently, which leads to an information overload.

Not long ago, Netscape invented a data format designed to select only the information that interest us and to keep that new information under control. It was called RSS (Really Simple Syndication). Using RSS, websites can put their content into a standardized format, which can be viewed and organized through a RSS aggregator (reader). There are a lot of RSS aggregators out there, for each and every operating system available, but only one is integrated with KDE. It's called Akregator.

Akregator is an open source news aggregator which supports both RSS and Atom feeds, that can be sorted into categories. Akregator can be configured to fetch all feeds within regular intervals but also, the user can choose the update intervals for every feed, for individual feeds or for those in a selected category. Articles can be opened in tabs within Akregator or an external browser as Konqueror or Firefox can be used to read them.

KDE is kind of a synergy; it offers so much as a whole than its parts, on an individual level. This is the case with Akregator and Konqueror. If you're browsing a RSS-ready website with Konqueror, the little orange RSS icon will appear at the bottom-left of the browser. If you click that icon, the RSS feed is automatically sent to Akregator. Adding feeds can't be easier than this.

Akregator has a basic interface, similar to any other feed reader. Feeds are listed on the left site and clicking on a feed brings up the list of posts from the feed. Akregator has three modes:

normal: three-paned view with the list of feeds on the left, the list of posts in the top right pane, and the post content in the bottom-right pane.

widescreen: feeds are in the left pane, posts in a middle pane and content in the right pane.

combined: feeds on the left side, and shows all current posts in a feed on the right side.

The user can choose what browser to use within Akregator's configuration, in the Browser tab. Also, Akregator can be configured to open links in tabs within it, in KDE's default browser (everyone knows its Konqueror) or in another external browser.

Akregator has the ability to archive and keep all feeds but this can get a little disturbing if you are subscribed to a lot of feeds so, in this case, it's probably better to use the expire function, which automatically deletes articles after a certain amount of time.

In order to make feed reading and manipulation faster, you can configure keyboard shortcuts for usual actions like moving between previous and next articles or feeds, tagging them as important, marking them as read or deleting them.

Akregator offers another useful feature, the individual feeds customization. As some feeds are more important than others, they can be configured in a particular way. For instance, you can set the update interval for a specific feed that interests you in a particular way, you can enable a notification when new articles arrive in that feed and you can configure how articles in that feed are viewed. You can choose from feed view, full view or view in an external browser. Of course, viewing the feed in a full view or a browser will have a longer loading time and the whole point of using RSS will be wasted.

When you close Akregator, a window pops up telling you that it will keep running in background, adding an icon to your system tray. Unfortunately, for those who hate having additional icons in the system tray, the pop up dialog doesn't also have a quit button.

The Good

Akregator has all the features a RSS should have and even more. It handles large number of feeds flawlessly and it's very easy to work with, especially with the KDE/Konqueror integration that makes adding feeds a piece of cake.

The Bad

When used in combined mode, it's a very convenient way to skim through a bunch of feeds at once but this mode has its flaws. For instance, reading a bunch of feeds in this mode increases the article load time and the more articles a feed has, the more noticeable the wait becomes. Also, in this mode there isn't any way to mark individual articles as read or important.

The Truth

Akregator is the best, free software, feed reader for KDE since it integrates so well with Konqueror and other KDE applications and because all its useful features which make news reading a fast, easy and enjoyable experience.

Check out some screenshots below:

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user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5


final rating 5
Editor's review
excellent
 
NEXT REVIEW: Konqueror

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