inessential by Brent Simmons

NetNewsWire 2.1: NewsGator Syncing

Some of you are already familiar with NewsGator, and some of you aren’t—so I’ll explain what the deal is with NewsGator syncing and why it’s cool.

All these feature requests

I’ve long had feature requests like this:

“What about a website version? I’d love to be able to read my feeds online for when I’m away from my regular computer.”

“What about a Windows version? I use Windows at work.”

“What about getting feeds on my phone?”

Feeds everywhere

It became obvious to me that people get their feeds on more than one computer—in fact, sometimes it’s different types of computers (Windows-at-work is common), and sometimes people have cool gadgets where they get their feeds.

But, the thing is, people want their feeds and read/unread state to be the same everywhere.

And so that is what NewsGator syncing is about. It’s not just about NetNewsWire—it’s about having your feeds everywhere.

There’s a web-based version for when you’re away from NetNewsWire. There are other apps (for Windows, mobile phones, Media Center) that sync using the same system.

(You have no idea how many feature requests were, specifically, “Please make it sync with FeedDemon!” Lots of NetNewsWire users are also FeedDemon users. Well, now, cool—they do sync.)

More about syncing

Unlike the .Mac/FTP-based syncing, the NewsGator syncing works in the background, during refresh sessions. (Except for the first sync, that is.)

It’s much less obtrusive—you don’t have to tell it when to sync, it just does it. And there’s no big modal dialog box (except for the first sync), since syncing is just part of downloading feeds.

One of the side effects of this syncing is that, even if you only use NetNewsWire on one machine and don’t use anything else, you still get the benefit of faster feed refreshes. Here’s how it works:

1. At the beginning of a feed refresh session, NetNewsWire finds out from NewsGator Online which feeds need to be downloaded.

2. NetNewsWire then downloads only those feeds. It may be just 5 or 10, or it may be 100—but it doesn’t download every single one of your feeds every time. This saves bandwidth and CPU.

P.S. Here’s a screen shot showing NetNewsWire and NewsGator Online.