þreader will be a web application focusing initially on taking discussions on the web (either via feeds (Atom, RSS) or screen-scraping) which have explicit or implicit thread structure, pulling them into a local store for fast access, and presenting a UI optimized for efficient, comfortable, thread-aware reading.
My personal goal is to “bring back the glory days of Usenet”, or rather my own experience of using a good, offline, threaded, NNTP client. þreader as initially implemented will not have any NNTP (or email) features, but that could come in the future.
I intend to use þreader as my project for the Fall 2011 courses MP451 Open Source Software and CS459 Human-Computer Interaction at Clarkson University.
As this is an open-source project, all materials will be made public; where applicable, they will be reusable under the MIT license.
Fundamentally, þreader will be a feed reader. It will initially be a web application, in that the user interface runs in a web browser (mainly for portability).
It will have an “unread flags” type user interface: every new post found in feeds is initially marked unread, then marked read once the user has viewed it. The user interface will present a single post, possibly in context, together with a graphical display of the thread structure involving that post.
These are some simple ideas for the type of functionality which distinguishes þreader from other feed or threaded-discussion readers.