inessential by Brent Simmons

Where we are with NetNewsWire 2.1

You might wonder where we are with NetNewsWire 2.1...

It’s in private beta testing right now, and we will do a public beta as soon as we can. There are a few more bugs to fix first.

So—what’s coming in 2.1?

The big new feature is NewsGator syncing. The idea is that you can use multiple copies of NetNewsWire and keep your subscriptions and read/unread status in sync—but, more than that, you can use other applications that sync: NewsGator Online, FeedDemon, NewsGator Outlook edition, and several other applications from NewsGator and third parties that we’ll be talking about soon.

The idea is not just syncing but ubiquity, to make it so that your feeds and read/unread states are there no matter where you are.

If you’ve used the .Mac/FTP syncing that exists in NetNewsWire already, you’ll find the new syncing to be slicker. It runs in the background. Most of it happens while refreshing feeds. You don’t have to remember to do it or tell NetNewsWire when to do it—it just happens. Except for the initial sync, it doesn’t interrupt your flow with a big modal dialog.

Another big new thing is that it’s a Universal binary. In fact, I’ve been developing it on an Intel machine since last year (I had the Developer Transition Kit; now my development machine is an iMac Core Duo, which I adore).

Another new thing: we’ve worked hard on performance. The goal is to make it seem like PowerPC users now have an Intel Mac, and Intel Mac users have, well, something even faster. Consider these benchmarks:

PowerBook G4 1.33 GHz
2.0: 19.773651
2.1: 9.830022

Intel iMac Core Duo 1.83 GHz
2.0: 9.731011
2.1: 4.917876

The above measures one specific thing—saving a 634-item list of browser tabs to disk 1,000 times. But it’s an indicator of the kind of work we’ve done to make this a faster NetNewsWire.

(Why 634 tabs? It’s a real-world tabs list from a private tester. I prefer testing with real-world data whenever possible.)

After NewsGator syncing, universal binary, and performance, what else?

Bug fixes. Bunches of bug fixes. I’ll go into lots more details in the change notes, of course.

And a couple smaller features that are among the most-commonly-requested features.

When will we release a public beta? As soon as possible. As mentioned, there are more bugs to fix. I’ll be at Etech next week, so it will probably be after that. (But you can certainly ask me for a demo if you’re there.)

P.S. It’s a free upgrade. In fact, existing NetNewsWire users will get two years of free upgrades plus a free subscription to NewsGator.

Some of the questions you might have can be answered here. But also feel free to send email to support and ask questions on the forums.

(You could email me directly, sure—but I know that you’d rather I spent my time programming rather than answering email. ;)