Still looking for the right feed reader for you? I recently came across AlmondRocks, a new web-based feed reader. What I like about AlmondRocks is how simple and lightweight it is but still maintains great functionality. AlmondRocks also uses Ajax for viewing subscribed feeds and adding of feeds. Creating an account is free and is very easily, especially when using the Guest Account Creation.

When first signing up, you will get directed to the Manage section of AlmondRocks. This is where you can subscribe to individual feeds or by OPML import. Both seem to work perfectly, but what I loved about the manage section are the lists of Recommended feeds, Popular feeds, and Recent feeds. These lists allow you to simply click on a site to add it to your subscriptions. The more feeds that you have subscribed to, the more accurate the recommended feeds list will be. Once you have subscribed to some feeds, you now can read them by clicking on the “Read” button.

The read section will list your subscribed feeds on the left and display the posts on the right. The list of feeds on the left works differently then many aggregation services though and I like it. What it does is lists only sites that have new posts and shows how many new posts there are. So if a subscribed site does not have any unread posts, the site will not be listed until there are new posts. You will also notice that if you keep the browser open, the list will refresh automatically.

When viewing a feed, you will see each post layed out in a simple and easy to read format. It shows full text feeds and also supports HTML and images. But my favorite features are saving posts and related posts. On the bottom of every post you will see a link to save the post. Clicking save will then stick it on the left column in an unordered list so you can easily view saved posts by title and view it at a later date. You will also see related posts on the bottom of posts as well, but only when a relation can be made. I am not sure what the relation algorithm is, but it looks like a simple keyword matching method. Either way, it works great and I find it very useful because when reading an interesting post, I can now easily find other posts that are related to it which in return can help me find a new site to subscribe to. One feature that I think would be nice to add would be an, mark all as read, type functionality because sometimes first subscribing to feeds, such as Popular, result in a thousand or more results when I am just interested in what new. Another feature I would like to see would be an export option to export subscribed feeds to an OPML. You can import, but you can’t export OPML.

One last thing that I want to mention is the Guest Account functionality. Unlike many services that let you sign in as a guest to see the interface, AlmondRocks creates a temporary guest account which lets you do everything that a normal user can do, including subscribing and OPML import. But what I found interesting was that once you are done playing around and subscribing to sites, you can then convert the guest account to a real account by clicking on convert in the “Read” section. It will then let you create a real account and still keep your same list of subscribed feeds and saved posts so you don’t loose anything. Great idea and I hope to see more applications using this method.

Overall, I feel that AlmondRocks is a great web-based service to use for aggregating feeds. It is simple, quick, has OPML importing (although I didn’t see export options), and even uses Ajax to make things even quicker. It may be small but it definitely get the job done well.

View AlmondRocks: Lightweight Web-Based Feed Reader (via DownloadSquad).

10 Comments on “AlmondRocks: Lightweight Web-Based Feed Reader”

  1. Rohit says:

    Nice find. I would migrate from Bloglines if they:

    1. Had a notifier extension for Firefox.
    2. Displayed all my feeds, not just the ones that have updates.

    Bloglines is very good- I just wish it had a better user interface.

  2. Brian Benzinger says:

    Ah yes, a notifier extension would be great and also automatic feed discovery so feeds don’t have to be entered manually. I personally like how only feeds with updates are shown as it helps narrow down a large list of subscriptions. Thanks for the comment, Rohit.

  3. m. barbarino says:

    The OPML export is a must as well as a way to update/configure your own CSS file like the Firefox Sage plugin. I prefer the compact display in Sage.

  4. MP:Ole says:

    A realy nice feed reader! I like the Similar posts funktion. Please pimp AlmondRocks up!

  5. Sumeet says:

    AlmondRocks now has automatic feed discovery. I’m very satisfied with them and will be using them from now on. They’re pretty much exactly how I would make an RSS reader if I had the time.

    One thing I did notice was an occasional delay in getting new posts. Some of the feeds I added showed the newest post from a month or a week ago, whereas the actual newest post was made a day or so ago. Did anyone else experience this? It may just be a problem with the feed itself.

  6. Almondrocks - web based feed aggregator at wordpress says:

    [...] in Uncategorized. An alternative to Bloglines. AlmondRocks Review at Solution Watch. / [...]

  7. John Tokash » Blog Archive » links for 2006-01-09 says:

    [...] le shel blogging book) Comparing High Speed USB Flash Drives (tags: usb storage flash) AlmondRocks: Lightweight Web-Based Feed Reader (tags: aggregator [...]

  8. Patrick Crosby’s Internet Presents says:

    [...] very interested in your tool for creating WSDL out of a Python web service. As you already… More AlmondRocks Press… Wednesday January 04th 2006, 9:13 am Filed under: XB Labs Wow.  This article at SolutionWatch is the most detailed description of AlmondRocks yet. [...]

  9. BillyWarhol says:

    Is AlmondRocks still going??

    i get some 403 Forbidden message now*

    i liked it*

  10. Bender says:

    The Wizz RSS News Reader for Firefox is actually a MUCH better feed reading option. It is far richer than Sage, offering many features and options. Like the ability to automatically check feeds for new content, the ability to hide items that have already been read, the ability to filter feeds, etc., etc., etc.

    Try it, I’m sure you’ll agree.