I was going to write a quick post about why web-based readers don't work very well within the enterprise, then I noticed that Nick already wrote that.
- Most web-based readers (NewsGator's being an exception) can't subscribe to secure feeds. I don't know about you, but that's a show-stopper for me - I have a number of password-protected feeds that I absolutely have to keep track of.
- Web-based readers can't access "behind-the-firewall" feeds. For example, we have an internal server which runs FogBugz, and I'm subscribed to several FogBugz feeds which alert me to problem reports and inquiries regarding my software. I can't add these critically important feeds to a web-based reader.
- Most web-based readers offer no offline support, and even when they do, offline reading is still far better in FeedDemon (this screencast shows why). FeedDemon doesn't just download your articles so you can read them offline - it can also prefetch the images they contain and the pages they link to, enabling you to browse the web without an Internet connection. Your web-based reader can't do that. This is one of those features that you don't think you'll need - until you do.
- Many desktop readers are full-fledged web browsers, complete with access to your favorites, tabbed browsing, etc. In fact, FeedDemon is my web browser - I rarely use an external browser anymore. If you haven't used a browser that's also a powerful RSS reader, you're missing out.
- If you live in Microsoft Outlook, you can use an RSS reader like NewsGator Inbox which integrates with Outlook, complete with flagging, indexing, filtering, archiving, and all the other features Outlook power-uses rely on.
- Desktop readers have access to local resources, enabling a slew of features that aren't available in web-based readers. For example, desktop readers can integrate with your favorite blogging client, or download podcasts and copy them to your iPod or WMP device. NetNewsWire even integrates with iPhoto, Twitterrific, Mail, and iCal.
- Desktop readers give you a choice about which feeds to keep completely private. Want your reading habits regarding a subset of your FeedDemon subscriptions kept completely on your local computer? Just put them in a folder that's not synchronized.