I held my review of Aggie for a day because as it turns out, I was invited yesterday to lunch with Joe Gregorio and some other RTP bloggers today and I figured I may as well meet Joe before I wrote the review. Anyway, we wound up talking about other stuff and just glossed over Aggie, and I only have good things to say about it anyway, so there was really no reason to delay the review.
In any case, I have nothing but unreserved praise for Aggie. The only catch is that in order to use it, you have to install Microsoft’s .NET runtime, which is huge. The Aggie download is around 30k. The .NET download, which Aggie requires, is about 20 megs. And then you have to download the first service pack for .NET. That said, Aggie does a great job of showcasing the power of the .NET class library. You guys know that I’m no Microsoft fan, but after trying out Aggie, I wanted to buy a book on programming in C#.
Basically, Aggie has a simple GUI that lists your subscriptions, fetches RSS files from the ‘net, parses them, and opens a window that shows you the new items from each of the feeds you subscribe to. All of this functionality seems to be built into the .NET class library, hence the small size of the actual application (Joe confirmed that the .NET class library is amazingly powerful at lunch today). Anyway, Aggie does what it’s designed to do extremely well. In fact, it is the essence of simplicity itself. The skin that it uses for rendering the list of items in your browser is a nice bit of CSS hackery, and works perfectly in both Mozilla and IE as far as I can tell.
Ultimately, the simplicity is the thing I love about Aggie. It just works. And it’s multithreaded, fetching the RSS files from more than one site at a time, which means that it works rather quickly. The major downside of the application (which I’ve gotten over) is that it’s called “Aggie,” evoking my feelings of ill will toward Texas A&M University every time I see it. I’d recommend Aggie to anybody who knows what they’re doing and just wants to follow RSS feeds without a lot of overhead or things getting in their way.