Dan Mackey On ColdFusion Development

ColdFusion, Java, .NET, AJAX, DHTML development and general programming. Daniel is owner and Administrator of CFTagStore.com and works for an Application Development Company in Ireland called Digital Crew. His interests cover all areas of programming in multiple languages with a particular interest in Internet Technologies.

All Articles tagged : RSS
2008-01-10 09:50:00.0

FeedDemon is now free. I'm happy and dismayed at the same time

I was checking my RSS feeds (using a paid version of FeedDemon) and noticed on Nick Bradbury's blog that FeedDemon (and all newsGators non-enterprise RSS products) are being released free.

While I appreciate why they are doing it, something inside me felt disappointed. Why? Cause I paid for quality software and feel like our exclusive little club is letting in free members ha ha Its hard to explain, maybe I am just paranoid. Along with HomeSite (originally from Nick also), FeedDemon is one of my top apps to keep me productive. If I lose it, it will impact my productivity.

This leads onto why I might lose it.  What if their enterprise plan does not work out? Will they start putting ads in the software? Will they discontinue the product and concentrate on the online readers? I hope not. At least with FeedDemon on Windows I know that I get all my feeds right away and not whenever the main server decides it has new feeds. Also, I have authenticated feeds that dont get synchronised online. I dont want to use an online reader.

If their plan does not work out, I will gladly pay for FeedDemon as a stand alone commercial product again. Its that good.

Now that my concerns are voiced, I must go into why it may be a good thing.

Finding valuable feeds is hard. The logic of giving out FeedDemon for free will give a bigger user base, which will give a bigger field of data to NewsGator, which in turn will suggest better feeds for me. I dont buy into the whole "I am afraid of my privacy" argument most people seem to be offering. The data they are accumulating and analysing does not in any way identify you as a person. It identifys a feed you subscribed to and other aggragated data.

I trust Nick and while he is still on board at NewsGator, I am confident that my privacy is respected.

I have always recommended FeedDemon as the best Windows RSS reader and will continue to do so as a free product. Coupled with the online tools, RSS has never been easier to consume. The iphone version of NewsGator online is my most used app and the fact it synchronises with my 2 desktop copies of FeedDemon (Work and home) means I am always up to date!

Anybody know how this will affect TopStyle? Will we see a free version of that tool aswell?

PS: Nick, if your reading this, can you blog more about your actual development of the product? My favourite posts from you are the ones where you give an insight into the programming, the algorithms and issues you face and your thinking when it comes to user interfaces.

Tags: RSS | Tools
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2007-08-02 17:35:00.0

Securing Your RSS Feeds Using Basic HTTP Authentication and ColdFusion

We are working on a project at the moment that requires secure RSS feeds. We need it to be secure in both browsers and Feed readers such as FeedDemon so decided that Basic HTTP Authentication was the best way forward.

The snippet of code below demonstrates how to force the user agent (browser/feed reader) to prompt for a username and password which in turn ties into our existing users table without messing around with IIS permissions and users etc

<cfset REQUEST.userAuthenticated = false>
    <cfif isDefined("CFLOGIN")>	
	<cfquery name="checkUser" datasource="myDatasource">
	SELECT	u.userId
	FROM	users AS u
	WHERE	u.userName = <cfqueryparam value="#CFLOGIN.name#">
	    AND u.password = <cfqueryparam value="#CFLOGIN.password#">
	<cfif checkUser.recordcount NEQ 0>
		<cfset REQUEST.userAuthenticated = true> 

<cfif NOT REQUEST.userAuthenticated>
   <cfheader statuscode="401">
   <cfheader name="WWW-Authenticate" value="Basic realm=""My RSS Feed""">
	<!----------- Continue With RSS output ------------------->
	Output your RSS Code Here

One small sticking problem which took some time to figure out:

On my local development server, the above worked perfectly. When I uploaded it to the production server running Windows Server 2003 Web Edition, the authentication popped up but kept popping up no matter what was entered in the username and password fields. The Realm header text was also not the one entered in the code above. After alot of digging it turned out to be a simple option on IIS that needed to be turned off.

The option to turn off is Directory Security -> Annonymous Access and Authentication Control - Edit - Integrated Windows Authentication

Once you disable Integrated Windows Authentication the whole thing works like a dream!

Not only is this a good way of securing your RSS feeds, its also perfect for Web Services or even securing your whole application. The draw back is that you cant style the login form as it uses the built in browser dialog.

Tags: ColdFusion | IIS | RSS | Security | Tips | WebDev
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