Bloglines worms its way into Mozilla

Chad Everett’s Bloglines Toolkit for Mozilla makes me want to have a sex change operation so I can have its babies. I thought I was happy with Bloglines before, with my bookmarklet to try to either subscribe to the current page, or extract autodiscovery links from it, and my Windows system tray notifier program, until I saw this lovely, wonderful Mozilla and Firefox extension. It moves the notifier up into the lower right corner of your browser, where you are no longer dependent on having the taskbar visible (and, although having it in every window, even popups, is a bit buggy, it’s also nice sometimes to pop up a Movable Type “rebuilding” window and have it tell you that you have unread items waiting in Bloglines), but where it really shines is in the context menu items it adds.

Right-click on a page, and it offers to let you subscribe to that page (or, autodiscover links in it, whichever) or find references to the page. Right-click a link, and it adds two more options, to subscribe to the link, or find references to the link. So, rather than waiting through autodiscovery when you are on someone’s blog, you can just choose the link to the feed you want and subscribe directly to that. Given the low odds that we’ll ever have a MIME type for RSS to do subscribing right, that’s about as close as you’ll get: just a perfectly normal ordinary link to the feed, and a right-click will open up the Bloglines subscription dialog. The “Find references to this…” options are incredibly nice, too. Read an interesting post, and wonder who else wrote about it? Right-click, open up a list of everyone that Bloglines knows about. Read a post linking to something interesting, and want to know who else wrote about it? Right-click the link, you’ve got a list. Technorati, are you listening? I want you closer than clear up on the toolbar.

Update: while my crapflood throttle was busy throwing away comments, Chad was trying to tell me that I missed noticing that you can also use it to search Bloglines for selected text in the page. I was a little skeptical about how well it would work out, having tried in vain in several places to come up with keywords that will get me more of what I want to read, but sitting on someone’s page with the word “syndication” I tried that. Things I know about, things that are syndication, not about it, and hey!, the “semi-professional weblog” from Eric Lunt, the developer of the very interesting FeedBurner. Just to complete the circle, one of the first posts to catch my eye is talking about how FeedBurner is a publisher-facing proxy service, and Bloglines is a consumer-facing proxy service, and there ought to be a chance for something interesting to happen between them.


Comment by sil #
2004-05-11 00:07:11

I always just follow the link to the feed and subscribe to it from there, if I know where the link is. If I can’t find a link (in, like, about three seconds) then I try subscribing to the page itself in the hope that Bloglines will autodiscover.
But my major point about this is: you have to have a browser running for it to be useful. I shut down the browser when I’ve finished using it, because otherwise I’ll just get a huge list of tabs (and it eats memory to boot ;)) — sometimes I’ll have it running for two or three days, but I normally get to a point where I’ve dealt with all open tabs, and then I close it down. At that point I stop getting Bloglines notifications if I’m using the Mozilla toolkit, so I shall have to stick with my notifier. I can see how it would be useful for people who always have a browser window open, though.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2004-05-11 00:26:42

Following the link works fine when it’s delivered as text/*, but if it’s not then it’s ”click, oh, damn, save or open dialog, cancel, back, something else.” I hear you about not having a browser open, though. I don’t really understand, since I only close my browser to restart after installing an extension (the browser’s where I live, if it’s not open the computer might as well be off), but I know some people do close them. However, if you want the context-menu items, you can just install the Toolkit, right-click the notifier to bring up the settings, and uncheck the ”Enable the notifier” box. Or, just leave both of them running – the overhead’s pretty small. (Or, just hack the parts you don’t want out of the extension: it’s just XML and Javascript and CSS with a little RDF thrown in. Luckily, the near total lack of documentation for extension programming isn’t too much of a problem, since you can quickly learn by viewing source.)

Comment by sil #
2004-05-11 03:14:03

Good call on the ”feed served as non-text/*” thing. I do ”click, oh, damn, open-or-save dialog, cancel, click ’subscribe with bloglines’ on the page itself” since I am damned sure that anyone who knows enough to serve their feed as application/rss+xml or something knows about autodiscovery tags too, but it’s suboptimal.
Understanding Firefox extensions is on my Big List Of Stuff To Do…

Trackback by PapaScott #
2004-05-11 02:46:51

Phil Ringnalda

Bloglines extension for Mozilla…

Trackback by #
2004-05-11 08:05:35

More Mozilla/Firefox right-click goodies

We now have four toolkits to right-click-integrate your favourite aggregrator into your favourite browser: Chad Everett’s Bloglines Toolkit for Mozilla…

Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <del datetime="" cite=""> <dd> <dl> <dt> <em> <i> <ins datetime="" cite=""> <kbd> <li> <ol> <p> <pre> <q cite=""> <samp> <strong> <sub> <sup> <ul> in your comment.