RSS Bandit is a free Windows-only news reader app which promises to let you leave comments on posts from inside the app. It turns out that feature doesn’t work with most blogs because it has certain external dependencies, but the idea is cool enough that it deserves a mention.
The news reader niche is dominated my either mobile apps or browser apps, so I was a little surprised to discover RSS Bandit. This app offers a blue-accented, minimally customizable interface that draws heavily on existing Windows design elements.
Before I go further, let me share the single biggest problem with this app: it appears to have been abandoned. It was last updated in 2010, and the last mention on the blog and project pages date to 2012/2011. This presents a problem because I don’t like the design of RSS Bandit interface. I feel it is in desperate need of refinement and user customization options:
As you can see, RSS Bandit has 3 panes in its window: feeds, post, and reading. I have not found a way to remove one or more of the panes, though they can be moved around. I also have not found a readily obvious way to increase the font size or hide the folders that don’t have new content.
This app of course works with a mouse, and it also has its own keyboard shortcuts with options for most of the basic activities, including going from one post to the next and marking all posts in a folder as having been read.
You can either read the feeds offered, use the feed discovery tool, or import your own OPML file. All in all this app covers the basics adequately.
But one thing it can’t do, so far as I know, is respond to comments. From what I can tell this feature requires that a blog install a plugin that will cooperate with RSS Bandit in letting the readers post comments. I haven’t found that plugin yet (I’m still looking), but I decided to go ahead and mention it so I could help other users who were stumped by the non-function of this feature.
Also, I really don’t care for this app but I like the idea of external reading apps letting readers leave comments on the source website. That is an idea that I wish more news reader services would add, if possible. Right now the one news reader that even comes close is BazQux. That merely pulls comments for the post you’re reading, and it is the only news reader that can do it.