RSS Bandit vs Blog Bridge

After hearing and reading some nice things about Blog Bridge (an open source blog aggregator), I finally downloaded and installed it today. I’ve been using RSS Bandit (another open source blog aggregator) so far and been quite happy with it. Now I have both the aggregators running and its a good time to compare the two (RSS Bandit v1.3.0.29 and BlogBridge v2.7).

The UI of RSS Bandit is simple and has well managed visual real estate. I find its three-pane layout quite good. Although the Feed Subscriptions pane won’t extend wider after a point. The reader themes are also clean and neat in their look & feel.

The BlogBridge UI is also quite cool, show-casing a three-panel layout but slightly different. The good thing about RSS Bandit is that it only displays the new articles/posts in the main frame, while I could only get BlogBridge to list all the downloaded articles/posts in the main frame (I guess it groups the news posts under the “Today” section, which clutters the main pane. The coolest thing about the BlogBridge UI is 7-day activity chart (a tiny matrix of the post activity for each blog). There are other features like tag integration, blog guides, keyword association and blog rating (BlogStarz). Although I couldn’t find in-built support for posting comments/replies to blog posts.

Considering that RSS Bandit is written in .NET and BlogBridge is written in Java, I was eager to gauge their performance and memory footprint. Running on a Dell P4 laptop with Windows XP Pro, 512MB RAM and a 40GB HDD (with nearly 50% space free), RSS Bandit started with around 61MB of RAM (as seen in the Task Manager) and BlogBridge started with around 64Mb of RAM. The memory usage dropped to 21MB for RSS Bandit and 8MB for BlogBridge after a few minutes. What was quite strange, was that during a complete feed refresh, resource usage for RSS Bandit shot upto 61MB RAM and 60-80% CPU usage while for BlogBridge it rose to about 60MB RAM and 20-30% CPU usage. So I conclude, wihout bashing any development platform or language, that RSS Bandit is more resource intensive than BlogBridge, atleast in the regular test condition I had.

So will I replace my default blog aggregator from RSS Bandit to BlogBridge? I guess not now! Because the BlogBridge UI and usability still has some sharp edges to it like frequent flickering and sluggish responsiveness. However, I won’t uninstall BlogBridge right away. Its UI is a bit of a up-ladder coming from RSS Bandit, but I find it quite suitable for daily blog reading.

4 thoughts on “RSS Bandit vs Blog Bridge”

  1. Ash

    Thanks for your reply.

    A couple of responses:

    1. on startup we will poll all feeds, unless they were already polled in the last 30 minutes. If you ask for a full repoll (click button on the toolbar) then it will poll again no matter when the last poll was.

    2. Added the html in description problem to our bug tracker. As far as editing the URLs, we purposely don’t let you edit those. If you want to change them you need to delete and re-add the feed.

    3. We don’t have that yet. We will follow up on the link you sent.

    4. We have a tradition of using bridges from around the world. This one is our 5th, and actually the next release has a new bridge. Just one of our quirky little things 🙂

    5. Search in a priority on our list; but while you wait, check out SmartFeeds to create a query across all feeds – it’s very powerful and would include locating articles that mention a certain word or phrase. This isn’t search, but it’s very handy nonetheless!

    Thanks again for your feedback!

    1. @Pito,

      Please make the XML URL field editable! So often, I need to update a feed by adding a new query string argument. Having to delete and re-add 50 feeds is not my idea of fun. In fact, updating the URL of 50 feeds isn’t fun, but it’s more fun 😉

  2. Hey Pito,

    Thanks for your reply. I guess the performance different between RSS Bandit (.NET) and Blog Bridge (Java) has more to do with the code-level architecure optimization. Not that RSS Bandit is crap at that, but it does need to tidy up.

    Thanks for your tip on the “show unread only” option … that’s what I was looking for 🙂

    Further to the brief review, here’s a list of some other suggestions I have for Blog Bridge:

    1. The app automatically starts refreshing all feeds on startup. It would be great if it was a setting: automatic refresh on startup Or manual refresh with F5 key or like.

    2. Under the Feed Properties window, there are a couple of issues: Description shows the HTML tags if present in the feed, and Site URL & XML URL is not editable.

    3. Couldn’t find support for direct replies/comments for blog articles ( ref: http://wellformedweb.org/story/9 )

    4. Just my 2 cents – would be cool to include the Blog Bridge logo (as on the web site) on the startup splash screen.

    5. A search module to find articles with given keywords will be a big plus.

    In terms of performance: its quite stable except for some isolated main window flickering (while the feeds were refreshing) that I came across twice. The menu controls and the window panes get a bit sluggish in user interaction at times. BTW, I’m running Windows XP Pro with 512MB RAM so I don’t think its due to a lack of system resources, more so when other apps I use respond just fine.

    On the whole, Blog Bridge is cool!

  3. Thanks for the great comparison of BB with RSS Bandit, thanks for looking at it. I am actually also amazed at the memory footprint differences – that a .NET native app uses MORE memory than Java. Yeah we spent a lot of time optimizing BlogBridge, but still, pretty amazing.

    BTW, there’s a command on the Articles menu of BlogBridge to “show unread only” which would do what it says and I think what it sounds like what you want.

    I would be VERY interested in an email from you with some more details about the usability problems and the flickering and sluggish performance in BlogBridge!

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