Thursday, May 26, 2005

Bloglines per-feed article limits should function like a queue

I absolutely love Bloglines and couldn't live without it. Having a centralized newsreader that stores my feeds and tracks what I've read minute-by-minute, no matter what machine I'm reading them from is a huge deal. Even now with my new Blackberry I can stay on top of matters with Berry Bloglines and feed status is still shared.

However, recently I had a string of days where I was too busy to even take a peek at my news. More than a few of the feeds are high-volume feeds such as the BBC, NYT, and Engadget. After a couple of days of being left unread, these feeds quickly would swell up to several hundred entries.

Now I completely understand that Bloglines would limit the number of posts per feed that it saves for me for practical reasons (I now know that this number is currently 200), but what struck me an unintuitive is that the data structure that imposes this limit operates more like a stack, when it should be a queue. Once a feed has reached the 200 post limit, no more posts are saved for that feed. It's like a stack or a "grocery bag" that is filled and can no longer accept any more product. Instead, what I'd like to see is that the saved posts operate like a queue or a sliding window, so that every new post that appears above the 200 limit simply bumps the oldest out of the queue. In this way at least when I go get caught up I'm not missing the most recent posts which are more likely to be relevant.

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