Sorry it took me a little bit more, but there's a literature contest, and is my biggest priority right now, and it's very time consuming.

Welcome to another issue of the Kontact series, this week we will give a look to Feeds part of Kontact, I used to use this application on KDE 3.5, and it seems like it didn't change much, but, don't misunderstand me, this isn't a bad thing, since Akregator probably have on of the simplest, powerful and easy to use interfaces all around KDE. Let's go on ;-)

Akregator

By default it looks like this:


Even, if the toolbar has many icons, the only one that can be removed (in it's current state) is the "What's this?" Icon. The browser part is useful when you're looking at the whole story, however, I'm not sure how much the user will actually browse using tabs inside Akregator. In fact, the best would be a dynamic toolbar, when you're at the main interface, they should dissapear, and when you're looking at a full story, they should appear (but it would be good if merged stop and reload), yet, the interface looks well (and not cluttered) anyway.

Akregator supports different view modes, all of them are quite good actually, with their strong point and minor weak points :-) On all views there's a little flaw, they show the feed source on the feed list, this is unnecessary, since you're looking at the feed source at the side bar ;-).

So I removed it for all the following screenshots but many seem confused, getting rid of it while viewing individual feeds, won't change the layout while looking at multiple feeds (all feeds or folders):


Normal View: The feed viewer is on the bottom while the feeds list is at the top. The flaw with this arrange, is that if the feed is a little bit long, you'll have to scroll a lot to look at the actual feed:

Widescreen view: This one gets pretty cluttered easily, however, if you plan on using the application maximized, it will be definitively the best view (however, I think that any interface that needs many space to work is flawed, and the kontact window default size is my reference):


Combined view: Will give the biggest space to look at the actual feed, however, you lose the list of the feeds, meaning more scrolling to actually know what's new and might interest you.


I personally believe the normal is the best one overall, and it's a pretty good default :-)

As I said in the first article, Kontact is a suite made of different application all combined by using KParts, this is great, and can be used by any application, Akregator makes a pretty good use of them. How's this? When you click to read the whole story, it will open inside Kontact, on a tab. This is great, of course, if you want to, you can open it on the browser too:



Disclaimer: I couldn't care less of a cat spinning... I just wanted a feed with youtube video.

Adding new feeds is very easy, you just click "Add new feed" and you're done:

Then you get a small dialog for tweaking the name of the feed, and other little things (like intervals), it's extremely well done, clean and easy. Kudos to the developers, Akregator interface is sooooo well done:


You can arrange them on folders:


Once again, search works as expected:

You can narrow your results easily:


The configuration dialogues are very clean and straight forward
(self-explanatory), take a look:


Well, this is for today, I hope you like it, as you saw Akgregator is very nice, easy, uncluttered and functional.

Coming up next: Kontact: Journal*
Stay Tuned


*Unless somebody tells me about a good free usenet service, since I won't pay for something I find mostly useless (I apologize in advance to the usenet users), if you know about about one, please mail or leave comment here :-)

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

For me it's still something missing:
http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=122179
:)

Regards

Luis Augusto said...

Yeah, that would be cool.

Stefan T. said...

Here is snapshot from me:
http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/3953/akreg.jpg

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: nice one, i've voted for it (having to cheeck feeds a lot of times during the day)

I think that another one useful would be this: http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=156905
Just to remove adsense adsense from the rss... they're growing, and it's quite annoying having them there (expecially in the post summaries)

Jonas said...

As far as the tabs, go: I use them all the time. It's a great way of reminding myself that "This post looks interesting. I need to read it more closely". Admittedly, that works better if you run akgretor as a stand-alone app rather than embedded into Kontact.

And for the free usenet service: try nntp.aioe.org

Luis Augusto said...

I agree with you about using it as an Standalone application :-)

Thanks for the usenet service, I'll try it.

Anonymous said...

If you need more usenet servers, have a look at
http://www.google.com/search?q=free+usenet+server

and you are 1-2 clicks away from showcasing KNode ;-)

Anonymous said...

If you need more usenet servers, have a look at
http://www.google.com/search?q=free+usenet+server

and you are 1-2 clicks away from showcasing KNode ;-)

Anonymous said...

Gotta admit it.. I just love these "down to earth" reviews of yours.. and you keep bringing up good points on the usability. Keep up the good work! =)

razvan said...

[offtopic] what contest, what contest?

Luis Augusto said...

@razvan: Every year here in Mexico the flm (http://www.fundacionletrasmexicanas.org/) makes one contest, is one of the most important there is here (probably the most important one), they accept 25 people for a course at Veracruz, Xalapa. Among those 25, they pick some (or even all, if they think they all deserve it) for scholarship (It can't be exactly this, since they don't pay you for studying, they pay you for writing)for one year (though, if the results are good, they can extend it) of 1,000 dollars (I don't know how good or bad this is for other countries, but it's the best one there is on Mexico). At the end of the year you have to write at least, one complete book (and they will finance everything), in exchange, your book only has to say that you were "helped" by them.

Aside from courses and money, they also assign you a tutor for guidance, help and improvement.

I'm really excited, and I have read 3 books from winners of this contest, even tough they are, indeed good, I think I can win one place.

I plan to participate on: literary essay and narrative (there are 4 categories, the other ones are poetry and dramaturgy).

For the narrative, I'm sending a micro-narrative written on poetic prose and a "short novel".

I'm quite excited about this :-)

Luis Augusto said...

@Anonymous: Thank you very much :-) I'm glad you like them!

Alexis Medina said...

Having Bookmarks in Akregator can be really useful, specially some kind of Tags (like you have in Kmail) to organize your favorites feeds. The only thing that you can do now is to "Mark as Important", but that's all, there's no way you can tag as "KDE Stuff", "Ubuntu Stuff". This is a really missing feature.

steveire said...

Try news.gmane.org:

http://userbase.kde.org/Tutorials/KNode_for_mailing_lists

Janne said...

Regarding the "add feed"-dialog... How about removing the planet-icon? It serves no purpose, and removing it would give more space to the textbox displaying the URL. Also, why is there so much wasted space between the textbox and the OK/Cancel-buttons? In fact, there seems to be such wasted space in just about all dialog-boxes. Why make the dialogs/windows bigger than they need to be?

Anonymous said...

i don't agree, that the "feed"-column is useless: if you browse a folder with multiple feeds (for example "all feeds"), it is very usefull.

sickrandir said...

Anyone who succeded in using the google-reader synchronization feature? Having tried it on different distros I think that is just a not completed feature. It would be soooo cool to have it!

Anonymous said...

Testing the "Widescreen view" with Kontact's default window size makes no sense. Most applications (not just KDE applications) come with default window sizes which do not look good on my 1920x1200 display. That's not the application developers' fault since the preferred window size is a matter of taste.

Back to Akregator...
"Widescreen view" is meant to be used on widescreen displays using most or all of the available width and there are lots of people who prefer using applications maximized and who love this layout because it uses most of the available screen to display useful information. (BTW, KMail offers the same 3-column layout.)

mahoutsukai

Karl Ove Hufthammer said...

There’s several things shown in your screenshots that I don’t like about Akregator. One is that no matter what I do, the column sizes are always very bad, and any changes are lost when I move to another folder or feed. You can see this in the third screenshot. The important thing, the titles are heavily truncated, while the date column is takes up almost half the horizontal space.

One other thing you mentioned was the ‘Add new feed’. It doesn’t autofill the URL from the clipboard, like Miro does, which is very annoying. Out of all the (hundred) of times I have added a new feed, I can count one one hand the number of times (i.e., none) I have entered the URL manually. I have always pasted an URL, and it makes very much sense to prefill the value from the clipboard (if the contents of the clipboard is an URL), just like Miro does.

derdestiller said...

Akregator is sort of my Power Applikation. I am viewing more than 50 rss feeds with it. I think the Feed Column makes perfect sense, as when you click on folders all rss feeds of this folder are shown.
The Major Disadavantage for me is performance... using the full text search is really slow, when you have 10000 feeds. Switching between Feeds is slow also. And all those kio_http processes on an update really slow other Applications down, as they take that much resources.

Luis Augusto said...

"Akregator is sort of my Power Applikation. I am viewing more than 50 rss feeds with it. I think the Feed Column makes perfect sense, as when you click on folders all rss feeds of this folder are shown."

Actually, Akregator is pretty intelligent, if you get rid of it while look at individual feeds it won't affect when the layout when looking at all feeds or specific folders ;-) (see the screenshot when I talked about creating folders).

"Testing the "Widescreen view" with Kontact's default window size makes no sense. Most applications (not just KDE applications) come with default window sizes which do not look good on my 1920x1200 display. That's not the application developers' fault since the preferred window size is a matter of taste.

Back to Akregator...
"Widescreen view" is meant to be used on widescreen displays using most or all of the available width and there are lots of people who prefer using applications maximized and who love this layout because it uses most of the available screen to display useful information. (BTW, KMail offers the same 3-column layout.)

mahoutsukai"

I know, I said, didn't I? Maximized is the best view, but it is a flaw that it doesn't work on "small" windows. Specially since I'm reviewing the Kontact suite.

"i don't agree, that the "feed"-column is useless: if you browse a folder with multiple feeds (for example "all feeds"), it is very usefull."

I said, Akregator isn't dumb, if get rid of it while looking individual feeds it won't take it away when looking at all feeds and folders (12 screenshot).

"Regarding the "add feed"-dialog... How about removing the planet-icon? It serves no purpose, and removing it would give more space to the textbox displaying the URL. Also, why is there so much wasted space between the textbox and the OK/Cancel-buttons? In fact, there seems to be such wasted space in just about all dialog-boxes. Why make the dialogs/windows bigger than they need to be?"

That space, when you hit enter, shows information. I'm not sure if I agree with the no-icon thing.

Fri13 said...

Does all those configuration windows fit to 1024x600px resolution (netbooks) monitor?

Luis Augusto said...

"Does all those configuration windows fit to 1024x600px resolution" (netbooks) monitor?

Yes they do. They have a size of: 823px × 589px including shadow and some white space around (I checked the properties of the sreenshot, later when I'm home I'll tell you the exact real size).

xoen said...

OT: Your theme rocks! What's its name? I really like the "metal" effect and the window border with the dots, I want it :P!

Janne said...

"Yes they do. They have a size of: 823px × 589px"

Some netbooks (like Lenovo Ideapad S10e) has screen-resolution of 1024×576.

And regarding the "add feed"-dialog.... I think that it's more important to display the URL you are adding than it is to display a large icon that serves no function. I could understand showing the icon if it presented no drawbacks to the user, but in this case it clearly makes the URL-textbox smaller.

Luis Augusto said...

"And regarding the "add feed"-dialog.... I think that it's more important to display the URL you are adding than it is to display a large icon that serves no function. I could understand showing the icon if it presented no drawbacks to the user, but in this case it clearly makes the URL-textbox smaller."

I know what you meant, it's just the icons is pretty XD.

"Some netbooks (like Lenovo Ideapad S10e) has screen-resolution of 1024×576."

I said, including shadow and some blank space all screenshots have. In any way, I'm not particularly worried, such a small resolution will be over in one year at most.

Luis Augusto said...

"OT: Your theme rocks! What's its name? I really like the "metal" effect and the window border with the dots, I want it :P!"

Bespin with a custom theme file:

http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php?content=103157

Anonymous said...

When I open a link in NewTab in Akregator, that new tab pops to the front. This is dumb and annoying, and ignores the whole point of tabbed browsing. Konqueror opens and loads tabs in the background.

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