inessential by Brent Simmons

iTunes, NetNewsWire, podcasts

I’ve had lots of people asking me what I thought about the iTunes podcasting support and what it means for NetNewsWire.

First off—I think it’s cool that iTunes supports podcasts.

I think that, more and more, we’ll see RSS support in lots of different apps, since RSS can be used for lots of different things. You might imagine that one day iCal will download calendars via RSS. Automator might download new actions. Help books for all your apps might get updates via RSS.

Who knows? We’re still only getting started with what all syndication can do.

I took a quick look at the iTunes podcast RSS extension, and it could be better. My guess is that it will end up getting revised: I doubt that the current spec is the one we’ll live with.

Check out Edd Dumbill’s and Dave Winer’s critiques.

Some of the feedback I’m getting is that NetNewsWire should hit back and compete hard against iTunes. Other feedback I’m getting is that NetNewsWire should just tip the hat to iTunes. And other people are just wondering what our plan is.

Our plan is to continue to add new features for podcasting and RSS enclosures.

Since NetNewsWire is a general-purpose RSS aggregator, it’s not in competition with iTunes, which is an audio player and organizer. There is some overlap, yes—but, then again, there’s overlap in lots of apps. (Your email app has a built-in text editor, no? Unless you’re using something like mutt.)

Because handling RSS enclosures is part of the baseline set of features a general-purpose RSS aggregator should have—and because there’s lots more innovation to come in this area, and because this is part of the fun of doing NetNewsWire—we’re going to continue keep on doing new podcasts and enclosures features. Not out of some notion of competing with iTunes, but because we can keep making NetNewsWire users more powerful.