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A look at Mozilla Snowl 17 January, 2009

Posted by aronzak in Mozilla Firefox.
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Mozilla Snowl is a new experimental Firefox addon that acts as a more advanced feed reader. It can display RSS feeds and also Twitter messages. I’ve never gotten into microblogging, but it’s an interesting concept. Here’s how Snowl works as an RSS/ATOM aggregator.

Snowl has three modes; List, Stream and River.

River modes shows a list of messages in a page view. It shows the title and a small snippet of text, and the author.

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List mode shows messages like an email client. It allows the a news article to be displayed in full by double clicking the message. There doesn’t seem, however, to be any way to open up links in a tab.

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Stream mode displays a sidebar with the latest messages at the top, with nice icons.

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Snowl has a lot of nice concepts, but it seems to be more intended to be used with Twitter than web feeds. The small amount of text in river mode, the small size of the frame for viewing articles in list mode and the ability to select people, rather than just feeds, all point to this. It would be good if Snowl was more customisable to better suit needs one way or another.

1. It would be good to be able to select how much text is displayed in river mode.

2. It would be even better to have a feature to expand the text, like in the old Isohunt.

3. It would also be good to be able to customise the number of messages that are kept. I’m not really interested in anything in a feed if I don’t read it after a day.It would be good to limit the time of messages, as well as the number that display in stream mode.

4. It would look nice if icons are displayed in river mode.

5. It would be good to be able to use something like greasemonkey to alter the way in which Google news appears.

6. It would be good if river mode could support the formatting in Google news, rather than just displaying it as text, which repeats the title.

Otherwise, Snowl is looking good.

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