Outlook RSS integration Last night, I took the plunge, and I'm now using Office 2007 Beta 2 on all of my computers.

The last stronghold of Office 2003 was my home PC, where I'd installed NewsGator, an Outlook add-in for subscribing to RSS feeds and storing their contents in Outlook folders.  The Exchange server would then sync the feeds between my army of long-suffering laptops.  (I prefer having my RSS feeds flow into Outlook.  Of all the options I've seen, it's this "sometimes connected" choice that best suits my workflow.)

But the Newsgator arrangement wasn't ideal, because it meant that only my home PC could poll feeds for me.  (When I installed Newsgator on multiple machines, I ended up with duplicate copies of each feed item in my Outlook folders.)

But Outlook 2007 now contains "RSS Subscriptions" as a top-level feature. 

So I imported the OPML file that contains all my RSS subscriptions into Outlook 2007.  And now, as Michael Affronti from the Outlook RSS Team explained:

"Once you add an RSS Feed to Outlook, we sync down posts for that feed to your store.  If you're connected to Exchange we will then sync both the individual items and the fact that you are subscribed to the feed to the server.  Therefore a new Outlook client that you connect to that account will sync down the items (just like mail) from the Exchange server, as well as 'learn' about that RSS Feed and add it to the Account Manager.  You can have multiple Outlook clients connected (even simultaneously) and we handle the conflict resolution and duplicate detection since they will all be syncing down their own versions of the feeds."

So now, not only does Outlook 2007 sync my subscriptions between multiple machines, but the Exchange server will act as a backup of my coveted OPML file that enumerates all my RSS feeds.

As an aside, Newsgator is now adding value for RSS subscribers in different ways, such as web-based aggregators.  And it looks like I may be in for some teething pains with the Outlook 2007 beta.  (Compared to 2003, it consumes resources like they were going out of style, and, for the record, they aren't.) 

But I'm delighted to have my subscriptions catered for so ideally!  Thanks to the Outlook RSS Team for really getting this one right. 

For more on RSS in Outlook, see Michael Affronti's blog.  You might also want to download the free beta of Outlook 2007.