NetNewsWire As Syndication Router

January 23rd, 2008

My friend Brent Simmons, developer of the amazing NetNewsWire client, which I think I neglected to mention, but you probably learned anyway, turned free eariler this month, has written up a nice summary of the ways in which NetNewsWire serves as a router for incoming RSS feeds.

I’m especially struck by this analysis because the metaphor is very much how I see an application like NetNewsWire evolving into the future. I use the application myself for all my “regular feeds,” but I also find myself using it as a “copy/paste” stopover point, for instance, when I want to subscribe to a podcast in iTunes. I click the RSS feed URL on some podcast home page, and it pops up in NetNewsWire, where I copy and cancel the “add feed” dialog.

Taking the “RSS router” idea to the next level, I’d like to see NetNewsWire able to handle incoming RSS subscriptions transparently and without intervention. For instance, what if clicking on an RSS feed that contains a bunch of audio files as cargo, could be automatically determined by NetNewsWire, and it forwards the feed on to iTunes for me?

As the world becomes more and more syndicated, I need something smart to serve as the “post office” for RSS delivery to my Mac. And NetNewsWire is the perfect candidate.

2 Responses to “NetNewsWire As Syndication Router”

  1. Jamie Phelps Says:

    Good thoughts on this topic, Daniel. One of the things I have wanted an RSS reader to do for me is adjust refresh intervals. Let me explain.

    Some sites publish very sporadically. Some are like jack rabbits on dates with their publishing, especially if they have multiple authors. What I’d like is for NNW to allow me to specify a minimum and a maximum refresh window. NNW then parses the feeds that I have in my subscription list and ascertains their post frequency. If it’s faster than my minimum refresh rate, then set it to the minimum. (Just because Lifehacker posts every 42 seconds doesn’t mean that I want NNW refreshing it that fast.) If, however, a site like Merlin’s only posts every few weeks or months, I want it to check at least weekly or monthly just to be sure. But in between there, I’d like NNW to be smart enough to be able to update the feeds that need to be updated based on the likelihood that they have posted new content. This would make subscription refreshes much faster, too, and allow me to get in, read my stuff, and get out.

    One of the things that I think is really tough for people is trusting computers. But in the past little while I have come to embrace this. I trust my reminders to Sandy ( I trust my iPhone keyboard to correct my mistypes. As a result, I have reduced my baseline anxiety about appointments and tasks and I can type like a mofo on my iPhone. I think computers are getting to the point where they can really be trusted with a lot of this stuff, and the more that I can delegate to a machine or the cloud, the better.

  2. Bob Peterson Says:

    Does anyone have software to do what Scott Anguish does on Stepwise? That is, easily creating a newsfeed from articles I like. Kind of blogging without my own content.

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