Thoughts on Systems Integration using Microsoft Technologies

Introducting jarwin – “Just Another (Rss) Reader for Windows”, Beta

This is a post to introduce a personal project I have been working on for the last few months and announce the availability of an early beta version, which I hope people will download and provide feedback to me on.

I have learnt an enormous amount over the last few months working on it and had lots of fun along the way (and some frustrations too!).

If you would like the short version of this post, the app is available for download here.

Also check out the wiki here.

Unfortunately a known issue/limitation is currently no ability to specify proxy server credentials, so you will be probably out of luck trying to sync on a corporate network.  This will be a new feature in the next release…

Also issues/bugs can be logged here.  I’m a very busy man these days so I will try and reply as promptly as I can.

What is this app?  Well it’s not much really – it’s a (very) simple Rss reader and a Windows forms application.  I use it to follow blogs that I’m interested in.

As I mention in the app wiki, it represents only a small percentage of the vision I have in mind, which is an app that I can use to download content from various disparate data source (email, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc) and present all this information in an intelligent and meaningful way, such that I can view at a glance and get answers to questions such as: what are the key trends in the systems integration space right now?  What information is meaningful to me?  What is the impact of blog post x?

It would also be possible to “swap” datasets in and out of the analytics (quickly and efficiently).

These ideas are nothing new, I know…  There are tools out there already too.  But I’m fed up using other peoples software outside of my work domain/practice – I would much rather write and use my own.

The seed for these ideas come from a common problem pervasive in all industries I believe: masses amount of data, that is constantly evolving and changing.  How is one supposed to digest and make sense of all this data?  I follow a number of blogs and Twitter feeds, for example.  But I myself feel overwhelmed with the amount of “noise” out there; recently I have stopped following my Twitter feed, since although there is a lot of interesting and useful information in it, there is also a lot of stuff I’m not interested in – life’s too short to trawl through that, let alone try to link it with other data sources.  (I remember reading somewhere that Donald Knuth decided to no longer bother with email, for this reason).

So one day, over an early morning coffee, I hope to be able to view quickly and intelligently, a consolidated view of all my data feeds.  To have a view also, that is not just a mass of text but a complete model that (most importantly) makes sense to me.  Anyway, there is quite a way to go to reach this goal!!


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