NetNewsWire and External Weblog Editors

ecto rules, and Adriaan Tijsseling is a cool cat. Adriaan writes:

With the forthcoming NetNewsWire 2.0 release, you can now set ecto as the external blog editor. You'd be reading a cool feed in NetNewsWire, select a command, and - whoosh - the feed item's link and contents appear in a new entry in ecto. Like it? I sure do.

Here’s the story...

About a year ago (at last year’s WWDC) I first mentioned to Phil Ulrich—another good guy, and developer of a weblog editor named Userspace—that I planned to make it so that NetNewsWire would work with external weblog editor apps.

I told him that in NetNewsWire you’d be able to set a pref for which weblog editor app you use, and then whenever you choose Post to Weblog it would send that post to your preferred weblog editor.

And now we’re making that happen in NetNewsWire 2.0.

A few days ago I got email from Adriaan asking if there are any ways we could work together. I replied with an emphatic yes, because I had done support for external weblog editors in NetNewsWire, but I hadn’t yet talked to Adriaan or other weblog editor developers about it yet. (Other than that mention to Phil last year.)

So I gave him the scoop on all this and sent him some code—and, practically before I could blink, he added support to ecto and released a new version.

Today I sent email to some other weblog editor developers: Phil Ulrich (Userspace), Fraser Speirs (Xjournal), and Michael McCracken (Blapp). I like all these guys: I’ve met and/or emailed with each of them in the past, and I hope they all add the same support to their apps.

(If there are any OS X weblog editor developers I’m overlooking, please send me email. It’s my intention to be inclusive.)

But what about Ranchero’s weblog editor?

Good question. Our weblog editor is getting a complete re-do. We think, frankly, that it’s going to totally rock. (We have to think that, or else why do it all?) So we’re also in competition with other weblog editor developers.

My philosophy is that, by working together on things like this, we can show that weblog editor software has grown up, and that the main priority for each and every one of us is our users. And, if I’m right, the market for this software will grow, benefitting us all. (The number of people who would benefit from a weblog editor is huge compared to the number of people using a weblog editor.)

In the end, each person will choose the software that fits them best. For each person, it might be our weblog editor, but it might it be ecto, Userspace, Blapp, or Xjournal—and that’s cool, that’s as it should be. (Again, if I’m forgetting somebody’s product, please email me.)

What about other feedreaders?

Another good question. On a practical level, there’s no way I could prevent other feedreaders from including the same support for external weblog editors. This is one of the things I was thinking about when I wrote my Collegiality Clause post the other day.

I will publicly document this interface, sometime near when we ship NetNewsWire 2.0. Other feedreaders will be free to use it too.

Can I realistically impose a collegiality clause on this documentation? No, not really.

So here’s my pitch to other feedreader developers...

I’ve been a programmer for 24 years. I have a lot of good ideas for things like what I’ve talked about today. (There’s more to come, in other words.) If, instead of sniping, we concentrate on benefitting the people who use our applications by working together on compatibility, we can go a lot further in developing a larger market. (It’s the old rising-tide-raises-all-boats argument, in other words.)


I just heard from Fraser Speirs that Xjournal will be on board with this. I’m so pleased. Good deal. Thanks, Fraser.

23 May 2004