Cheah Chu Yeow has some screenshots of RSS and Atom support in Thunderbird, which got turned on in today’s builds. This is one of the big new features in 0.8, along with local folders support for POP3 accounts and a better quicksearch toolbar and is a very welcome addition.
I downloaded it myself today (being the inquisitive fellow that I am) – in the installer builds, it is an option if you choose Custom Setup. Once installed, you need to create a ‘RSS News & Blogs Account’ in the same way that you would add a new mail or newsgroup account. The account then appears in the folder pane, and any feeds you add become subfolders of that account. It seems to work okay, although there are a few bugs still to be worked out – by default it checks feeds for new items every 10 minutes(!) and there’s also no autodiscovery. I don’t think I’ll use it as my primary RSS reader since FeedDemon is currently serving me very well. And I paid for it.
This feature is good for both Thunderbird and the wider RSS and Atom community – Thunderbird will gain because this is an excellent new feature which will help set it apart from its rivals, and the syndication community gains because now more people will have the software to get involved. While Microsoft have promised an RSS reader for Windows this won’t come until Longhorn appears in the dim and distant future.
Oh, and while you’re looking at the screenshots, see if you recognise the feed used 🙂 .