Authenticated Feed Reading

I utilize Central Desktop on demand collaboration software to organize my business including projects (with internal and external members).  RSS feeds from any of workspaces are readily available.  Of course since I’m dealing directly with clients on confidential business issues and the site is password protected, logically, one would assume that the RSS feeds have a level of protection…and they do.  It’s called an "authenticated feed" and it requires a user name and password to get it.

In the normal course of blogging and feeds, we rarely chat about this topic.  I think that internal corporate blogging or feeds that contain sensitive business conversation versus those intended to be broadcast to the world should be getting more attention.

Recently, I invited about 50 external clients and potential clients into a workspace.  This workspace was public until yesterday.  The micro site housed the RSVP form, hotel information, contact information, "Who’s already registered", etc.  Now I’ve made it private and have invited those that attended to get a username/pass to access the PowerPoint’s they saw, some pricing information, and other documentation.  The doors have been sealed and any RSS feeds generated from the site are shut down.  (Example:  I had an RSS feed set up to feed me the new database entries as folks signed up for the conference).  Thus, I thought I’d share a couple of solutions that I’ve found to be pretty decent.

Newsgator – This is a nice feed reader and many folks use it for their day-to-day feed reading.  It does offer the ability to accept "http authentication".  Basically, you’ll enter the same username and password that you use to access the Central Desktop workspace.  The feed will behave just like any other at that point only you can be certain that Joe Schmo (whom I know very well) will not have access to the RSS feed that lays out your 2008 business strategy.

Attensa – This is a nifty little add-on for MS Outlook (and probably other mail software).  Attensa allows authenticated feeds to be ported into your Outlook world as "folders".  For those of you that live in and work out of Outlook 24×7, you’ll love this.  I have Outlook 2007 and it does allow the same functionality for feeds to be subscribed to and feed into the folder structure.  But to my knowledge you cannot get authenticated feeds with MSFT’s built in functionality.

I’m sure there are more solutions out there but we need to pay a bit more attention to this since most of us prefer to use 1 feed reader or 1 email program vs. an amalgam of applications.  If you love Bloglines like I do, forget it (at least for now).  If you use Google Reader…you need to give up too.  I’m contemplating a total switch to Newsgator in the short term to aggregate ALL of my SECURE and NON-SECURE feeds into one elegant environment.

This may not be an issue for you now or for the foreseeable future.  However, as RSS feeds gain popularity as a replacement for much of the "corporate email spam" caused by rampant CC’ing of this or that to CYA (or at least a compliment that enables email volume reduction), you’ll need to be up to speed.  If I began a project with you tomorrow, I’d get us collaborating immediately.  You’d probably ask me (as a feed reading, uber productive, don’t clog my inbox with that when I can get it in my own way with a feed….guy…., "Hey man how can I get feeds out of this workspace?"….and now you know.



One thought on “Authenticated Feed Reading”

  1. Hi Doug,
    I agree that authenticated feeds are an important and all-too-often overlooked feature of RSS readers. FWIW, FeedDemon has supported authenticated feeds since the very first version.

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