Polling Doesn’t Have to be Painful

Automatically unsubscribing from feeds? Blasphemy! Right?

Automatically unsubscribing from feeds? Blasphemy! Right?

Kellan and Phil both mention it feeling not quite right, or just plain wrong, and I agree that it could be misused, so I thought I’d revisit some of the features I’ve added into my current aggregator of choice Feed on Feeds. (Aggregator developers, feel free to use any of these ideas in your products, if the clients improve, we all win, right?)

Ratings: Each feed gets a rating from 0 to 5 *’s. This allows me to easily hit my aggregator and just view the important feeds. If I have more time to spare, I can view the lesser rated feeds. I’ve found this to be pretty valuable in managing my attention. I also set any new subscription to 5 *’s to start with, so it’s immediately in my face, and I can drop it down to a lower level if needed.

Polling Frequency: The other big feature I added was individual polling frequencies, so I can set how often a feed is polled. I’ve really only got a handful that are set to 60 minutes (1 hour is probably the minimum for hitting other people’s feeds.) This allows me to up the frequency for feeds I might be in control of, that exist on my server, from my applications. In this case, I’d hate to be limited by the 1 hour most clients use. More important than that is the higher setting. I’ve got a ton of feeds that get checked every 6 to 12 hours, every day, every week, etc. I do this either because I know the sites do not update that often, or they are not important enough for me to worry about on an hourly basis. This mean less requests from my aggregator, and less hits to the servers that host the feeds.

Anyway, I applaud aggregator developers willing to introduce new features. We can push beyond just being a river (or puddle) of news in so many ways…

2 replies on “Polling Doesn’t Have to be Painful”

Another nice idea sir! I often use the polling frequency as a throttle on those feeds that are too active. They may produce 50 new items per day (or hour) but I really don’t need that much from them…

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