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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Viigo wishlist

I do like Viigo quite a lot. It's a free news reader for Pocket PC. You can choose from a huge list of predefined channels or add your own if you know the feed URL. You can also add news search feeds, let it find feeds from a specified web page, and other methods of getting feeds. (Hungry? ;)

I've already ramped up a fairly long wishlist however of features that I'd like to see in the next version. Here they are.

1. Be able to set a maximum number of news items per channel. At the moment only a max for all channels is possible. This means channels like BBC news that have loads of news items end up pushing items off of other channels.

2. I'd prefer if the application didn't crash when I rotate my screen from portrait to landscape or vice versa. It doesn't always happen, but often enough!

3. Then I'd like to see some kind of mechanism that ensured your changes and updates are permanently saved immediately they're made. Thus ensuring you don't lose all your changes if the program crashes (i.e. closes unexpectedly ;))

4. The "Mark Prior as Read" option which marks news items as having been read should be available in the menu when a news item is highlighted, and also in the main feed screen when a feed is selected. At the moment "Mark Prior as Read" is only available when the header of a group of news items is selected.

5. I'd definitely like to be able to make a backup of my saved articles. This would also mean I could move them elsewhere, freeing up space to download more news items. Otherwise my saved news items are eating into the max number of news items that I have specified.

6. I'd also really like an option to expand a news item title onto multiple lines when it's highlighted. At the moment, especially when in portrait view, but also in landscape view, if a news item has a long title it can't be read fully, forcing you to open the item to read it.

7. Another useful feature would be "keep at least X unread items" option for each feed. This would stop unread items in favourite news feeds being removed before you've had a chance to read them. Which as I mentioned above can happen if you have feeds that produce lots of news items, like BBC news for example.

7. It would also be nice when viewing an individual news item to be able to use left and right on the Pocket PC toggle button to jumps to the previous or next news item respectively. This saves you going back to the previous view and having to select the next item each time.

8. Also, for those of us with a hardware keyboard, or even a decent on-screen keyboard, it would be nice if the Backspace key took you up one level. E.g. from a news item to the list of items, or from the list of items to the feed overview page. Just like in a web browser.

9. Talking of browsers. Please add an option to open links in an external application or web browser. This would be great as both a one-off menu option, and also a global option so that all links would be opened externally.

10. Subscribe to feeds direct from Viigo browser. If you're going to have a built-in browser and you're product is a feed reader, please let us add feeds directly from the browser.

11. It's be great to see some more work on the browser too. It's too clumsy to be nice to use. A fit-to-screen option is a must, and a good tip may be to a text-only rendering option so that the reader can quickly get the full page without bothering with the images (see the NetFront browser for magnificent text-only rendering).

12. Another idea for left & right on the Pocket PC joystick(?) when you're in the news item list view is page-up and page-down. Scrolling through all those news items can be tiresome ;)

13. And how about this for an idea. Viigo channels, "ViiCasts" ;)) (think ClipCasts) where a personal channel is created from my saved articles (if I opt-in of course.. privacy and all that) so that other people can subscribe to my personal channel (or ViiCast :)) Then you can have a list of most popular channels etc.

14. Ok ,I'd also like to be able to sort my news feeds on the main page. Alphabetically, by most unread, or just a custom sort. So I can group all the technology feeds together, all the gossip feeds etc.

15. Next up I'd love to see an option to put a whitelist or blacklist filter on news feeds. E.g. A horoscope feed where I only see my starsign. Or a gossip feed where I can filter out news about some boring celebrity!

16. Then I'd love some built-in means to email or SMS links to my friends, or even to myself as a reminder. And what would be beautiful is if we could directly blog stuff. Yes please :)

Bugfixes.... got a few I'm afraid.

- There's the crash when switching between portrait and landscape that needs fixing.
- Then it seems my Viigo is updating my feeds even when I have the auto-update switched off.

Well, I'm done for now. Viigo is a great little feed reader so go check it out.
If you're looking for an alternative, a friend pointed out NewsBreak to me the other day. It's not free however, although the interface is nice.

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