The folks at Ranchero Software have released the latest version of NetNewsWire, an application that aggregates news from Web sites that use any version of RSS (Really Simple Syndication and other expansions) and Atom to publish the latest items on a given page or section. NetNewsWire 2.0 is available in Lite (free) and Pro (paid) versions.
A news aggregator means that instead of powering up your computer and loading 50 Web sites to check headlines and blog entries, you turn to the aggregator, which scours these specially formatted XML (eXtensible Markup Language) files and turns them into an organized list of the latest information.
This new version, which I have been using in its beta form for months, adds a host of features, including Spotlight searching, podcast support (see "Podcasting: The People's Radio" in TidBITS-766), Automator actions, synchronization among multiple computers of feeds and news items, and scripting support for creating feeds or controlling the program. There's also an embedded Web browser that supports tabbed browsing.
Version 2.0 omits the previously included blog-posting capabilities, externalizing them as MarsEdit 1.0, a separate program for writing blog entries offline and then posting them to a variety of blog services and software.
NetNewsWire was in interminable beta - although almost always in good working order - due to Tiger's shipping date. With Tiger out of the gate, Ranchero was able to unveil its Mac OS 10.4-dependent features.
While Tiger's Safari 2.0 also handles RSS, and offers some interesting sorting and display options, it's a rung or two down from even NetNewsWire Lite. If you're trying to get your feet wet with RSS, start with Safari, move up to Lite, and then graduate to Pro.
NetNewsWire 2.0 Pro costs $25 or $40 with MarsEdit, but is free to all paid users of version 1.x. NetNewsWire Lite remains free, but is stripped of more-sophisticated features. MarsEdit 1.0 is $25 when purchased separately.