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News aggregators

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News aggregatorsIn computing, a number of aggregator software braid several syndication threads together. It alerts the updating of a website or published news (by notification sound, visual, etc.). Also, it imports the new content in question and does it for a set of sites.


The aggregator is a kind of “mailman” that will search for mails, then it will send it into the mailbox of the user, preventing the latter to regularly go for the newa visiting numerous websites. It works much like an email (almost in real time), but (unlike a mail client), the user of an aggregator is often limited to passive reading of received messages (the “thread” of syndication). He can not “respond” to the received items. There are some exceptions in the case of some kind of blogs, where some aggregators allow you to post comments. An aggregator can only process information specially structured by a particular technology.

The sources of content (web sites in general) provide the address of a RSS feed updated more or less regularly. This first phase, called “content syndication”, structures the data to the aggregator. The aggregation consists in subscribing to one or more of these syndication threads. The aggregator detects their updates and immediately alerts the user, without having to periodically visit the websites, disseminating syndication thread to the subscribers. Each thread is associated with a folder in the aggregator folder that contains the different inputs of the thread – usually in reverse chronological order (newest entries first). The detection of new elements in a thread is periodic, or performed at the request of the user who can, when he wants, to update any or all of its subscriptions.

In general, an aggregator allows you to view a list of saved threads, sorted alphabetically or by subject. For each thread, the n newest items are listed last (n selected by the user, or fixed). For each element (note, article …) can be displayed a summary or full content. Thus, the user may be required to leave the reader to read the content on the site where it was shot, or make the entire reading in its software.


Aggregators dealing with structured syndication threads, for most client software threads, interpret tagged content texts. XML is widely used for threads of type RSS and Atom, for example. Not to be confused with the curators whose business is to operate a smart sort of web content, although they can be complementary.


Syndication threads are widely used on blogs: every new post is posted and transmitted in near real-time to its subscribers, which can read directly in their aggregator. This monitoring mode begins to be adopted by almost all news sites, such as online newspapers which content, renewed periodically or arbitrarily, can be grouped into themes by the user. Most aggregators make it possible to facilitate the monitoring of the threads by categorizing them into folders and subfolders.

Aggregation and syndication are two sides of the same idea, who wants to offer the user a decentralization of content: created in isolated internet points, it must be transmitted through the network in a simple way, it should also be combined to the user and the reader, in arbitrary themes, without losing coherence. The aggregator is trying to facilitate the organization of the content, in addition to being a time tracking tool.

Service access interface

Storage of threads can be done in two ways:

  • by software running locally, to install;
  • by registration on the management and thread sharing sites. The aggregator is then a web application, not a traditional software. This avoids having to use a specific stream creation software for each operating system (Feed Editor, RSS Wizard, Feed Mix on Windows), which all require the XML file to be stored online by FTP to be accessible to Internet users via HTTP. They are part of the concept of “remote work” initiated by WebDAV and content management systems heavily using the concept of thin clients based on AJAX (JavaScript).


Free software

  • Netvibes
  • Thunderbird
  • Tiny Tiny RSS
  • FreshRSS
  • RSSOwl
  • Leed

Proprietary software

  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Google Reader: closed in July 2013

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