Home Three More Microsoft WPF News Readers Launched: Forbes, Seattle PI, Daily Mail

Three More Microsoft WPF News Readers Launched: Forbes, Seattle PI, Daily Mail

Following on from the New York Times
last year, made with Microsoft’s rich presentation technology WPF
(Windows Presentation Foundation), three more big media companies have released
Web/desktop News Readers built with WPF.
Tim Sneath from Microsoft
notes that the Daily Mail in the UK, forbes.com and
the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have
all just announced WPF-powered News Readers that are similar to Times Reader.

Nigel Parker, Microsoft NZ

Read/WriteWeb covered the NY
Times Reader
back in August, noting that it works online or offline – and is probably
best suited to a portable computing device like a laptop or tablet. It also aims to be a
mix of the print and Web reading experience. With big media publications, where content
is read every day and often on public transport like trains and buses, the user
experience is considered to be key. Microsoft believes the WPF technology provides a
better experience than with browser-based News Readers (like Google Reader or Bloglines).
Many people would debate this, pointing to the increased convenience and portability of
browser-based solutions. Nevertheless, this news today shows that Microsoft is putting a
lot of effort into bringing big media companies on board and using WPF instead of browser

Tim Sneath argues that the new WPF News Readers provide “tremendous flexibility,
control and customization over the reading experience”. He also says the goal is
ultimately to provide a toolkit to publishers “that any web content publisher can use to
create their own custom reading experience.” At the same time it will allow publishers to
create branded News Readers, which again is important for big media companies. Currently
the toolkit is in private beta, but Microsoft expects to open this up “in a few months
time” so that anyone can build a similar customized News Reader. They will probably get a
lot of takers too, given that most newspapers and big media companies will want to try
and ‘lock in’ their customers with branded, standalone RSS Readers.

Nigel Parker from Microsoft NZ has
checked out all the new readers
and notes that Forbes is the only one not to
ask for user registration. He says that registration enables newspapers to deliver
targeted advertising:

“By providing a reader with a richer user experience the papers are able to request an
identity (people are used to providing this for client applications like itunes, IM and
email). The advantage here is that the papers are able to deliver more targeted
advertising to their readers. Forbes appears to have gone against this trend and provide
the data to the reader (no identity required).”

He also says that Times Reader is the most feature rich of the 4 current products –
with advanced search, note taking, emailing and saving or articles. Although he points
out a neat Daily Mail accessibility feature called “Speak this article”.

Overall, desktop RSS Readers are a tough sell in the current environment – where
Google Reader and others have proven that a lot of ‘magic’ can be done with the browser
in web-based Readers. Microsoft’s WPF news readers may well be just a white label
solution for newspapers and big media, rather than showing the way for generic RSS
Readers. Still, that is a big market in itself.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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