RSS and Atom feed catcher NewsGator has published a pre-release version of their long-awaited and controversial FeedDemon 3.0. The update to one of the most popular desktop feed readers is abandoning the NewsGator proprietary synchronization site at newsgator.com in favor of syncing with Google Reader, and the transition--along with the forced obsolescence of several features that aren't available from Google.
Overall, FeedDemon 188.8.131.52 offers the smoothest synchronization experience yet, but it's still rife with problems. Because of a Google Reader limitation, feeds will only sync the most recent 10 unread items. If you've got 11 or more unreads in a single feed, the process will mark the oldest one as read. Once a feed has been synced, then its unread count can climb above 10.
The synchronization of FeedDemon's "flags" to Google Reader's "stars" has been imperfect, as well. The sync is imperfect, with some flagged items not becoming starred when they appear in Google Reader. Also, the newly imported starred items in Google Reader lack the tags that associate them with your folder structure, forcing you to manually tag each one according to the folder name you want it to appear in.
Although those are big problems for the synchronization process, it's a definite improvement from the previous beta versions, which encouraged readers to convert their feeds while a bug-crippled conversion process was still in place.
There's more in this pre-release version than syncing improvements. A new Quick Tag menu for assigning post pre-existing tags on the fly has been added, as has the space bar as a keyboard command for advancing to the next post. As previously announced, this version removes automatic feed pre-fetching as a feature, and other stability and bug-fixes. This version feels like it starts up a bit faster, too.
If you're new to FeedDemon and like keeping browser resources down, the synchronization between Google Reader and FeedDemon should be flawless, or at least nearly so. Pre-existing FeedDemon users, however, face an uphill and tedious battle to everything that should be synced into Google Reader before Aug. 31: that's when newsgator.com stops syncing.