Six Apart News & Events

New NetNewsWire Beta and some other thoughts

The latest NetNewsWire beta release (1.0.4b3) has been posted.

Some very cool new features:

  • Web Kit rendering
  • The ability to view differences in updated feeds (very cool)
  • TypePad has been added as a weblog publishing system choice

See entire changelog here.

It's tools like NetNewsWire that make web publishing richer and what we do a lot easier.

(I know I'm NetNewsWire and OS X-centric. I'll leave it to Anil to promote other worthy applications for the PC).

Since we released TypePad, we've had the great opportunity to introduce a significant number of users to a variety of news readers and third-party posting clients. These are users who are completely new to weblogging and who don't care about the technology they are using -- only about the flexibility of the system. In speaking and working with these users, it becomes obvious that we, as developers, need to continue to strive for interoperability.

An interesting experience I had the other day:

Through the help ticket system, a TypePad user posted about the troubles he was having trying to export his weblog posts from another system. Before we could answer him, he provided his own response to say that he had solved his problem himself.

His explanation to what he did wrong?

"Duh, I forgot to do step number 15."

This made me laugh, not because of anything that this user had done, but because there *is* a step 15. No user should have to go through 15 plus steps to get their content out of a system. Every tool should either provide an export mechanism or support an API that allows a user access to *all* of his/her posts. In other words, a method that allows a user to move his/her content in and out of the system. Of course, it would be even better if all of the tools supported the same format and API.

If Atom can accomplish this, I think that it had served a very important purpose that is much more practical than theoretical.

At the Supernova conference, I spoke about Six Apart's "Philosophy of Yes." For the most part, we try to accommodate what our users want and have a hard time saying no to features. We support a number of protocols and formats because we feel it is important to err on the side of mass support. From day one of Movable Type to day one of TypePad, we have provided not just an import mechanism but also an export mechanism. We never wanted to hold content hostage in order to guarantee tool lock-in.

The "export" button in Six Apart's products keeps us on our toes. Knowing that you can leave at any time is our motivator to keep on developing stable, intuitive and flexible applications. We want you to stay because you like the product, not because you can't get out.

This post took an interesting direction -- I had intended only to mention that the newest NetNewsWire release was pretty neat.

I guess I've got a lot of other things on mind. Whether you agree with me or not, be sure to check out the new NetNewsWire release (and remember it's still beta).