NewsGator API

The NewsGator API allows synchronization of feed and item-level data across multiple locations. NewsGator has a few unique features not available in other APIs such as Google Reader, so I will dive right into the unique features.

SOAP now, REST later

The NewsGator API is currently offered as a SOAP interface only but Brent Simmons mentioned future plans for REST support during his presentation at last week’s Emerging Technology conference.

Authentication

An application acts on behalf of a user with a NewsGator account. The account also allows access to NewsGator Online, a web-based aggregator that can be used anywhere.

Locations

Each product using the NewsGator API can establish its own unique location setting to allow separate feed lists for different applications and environments. You may have one feed list on your mobile phone, another list of feeds you track at work, and a third set of feeds you track at home for example. Read and unread status can be set for a feed item across multiple locations.

Centralized updates

Once a feed list is established any application using the NewsGator API can request all updated items across all feeds since the last update. If two million aggregator clients request updates from your site every half hour but reroute through the NewsGator API each individual aggregator will hit NewsGator’s servers instead of your site and NewsGator will poll your feeds for updates on behalf of those two million users. NewsGator communicates the total number of readers subscribed to your feed in the User-Agent field of each request. Feed publishers may ping NewsGator directly to make sure all requesting applications have access to the most up-to-date information.

Current implementations

NewsGator owns a portfolio of products that establish a large footprint on the Windows and Mac desktop. FeedDemon is a popular standalone application for Windows owned by NewsGator and will support the NewsGator API in its 2.0 release, currently in its third beta stage. NewsGator Outlook edition integrates with Microsoft Outlook. NetNewsWire is a popular Mac client with millions of users and will support the NewsGator API in its 2.1 release. NewsGator also has a media center aggregator and an online mobile aggregator.

Given the millions of existing users using NewsGator applications there is a good chance users of other feed aggregators will interface with a NewsGator aggregator and expect a full synchronization experience between applications and devices. NewsGator’s single update request for all modified feed items makes it pretty useful regardless, but the user footprint is an added bonus.

More information

There is an official NewsGator API blog with more details and sample code. Greg Reinacker, NewsGator’s CTO sometimes posts information to his blog that you won’t find documented anywhere else.

4 comments

Commentary on "NewsGator API":

  1. matt on wrote:

    I would be careful about developing anything using the Newsgator API. They held a developer API contest last year (http://www.newsgator.com/ngs/api/contest/default.aspx) and stated that “Winners will be announced on December 5, 2005.” It is March 14th, 2006 and not a thing has been posted about the outcome of the contest, the entrants, or any information on what’s going on.

    Seems like a poor choice do disappoint so many by making these false claims.

  2. Greg Reinacker on wrote:

    Matt – the winners and other participants were notified, and the prizes were awarded. We just chose not to publicly announce the results.

    Greg Reinacker
    NewsGator Technologies, Inc.

  3. matt on wrote:

    If you don’t want to post the winners, that is your choice, but I was under the impression that you were going to announce the winners

    NewsGator API Contest Terms and Conditions:
    “3.1 All valid entries will be showcased on the NewsGator website.”

    NewsGator Daily Blog:
    “The winners will be announced on December 5th and posted on the NewsGator website.”

    Newsgator API Forums:
    “We will definitely post the winners to our website, and possibly some of the other entries, too.
    We will update NewsGator Daily (feed link) when the winners are announced.”

    NewsGator Daily Blog:
    “As you know, we had planned to announce the winners this week, but it turns out we’re not going to be able to make that announcement for a couple of weeks.”

    An official announcement that you were in fact not going to make such an announcement would probably have been in order (and still would be).

  4. WorldRider on wrote:

    matt – i am in agreement with you. I’m not sure newsgator’s motivation, but they obviously aren’t holding up their end of the promise as you’ve dutifully outlined in a number of NG’s communications. my guess is they didn’t get many entries and are slightly embarassed about the outcome. you would think that if someone excelled at developing some innovative use of the API that this would be a great opportunity to leverage PR and incubate discussions throughout the blogosphere. but instead they are sitting around licking their wounds and crying over their API gadgets but won’t let anyone join in their API games…

    oh well….