inessential by Brent Simmons

Looking back

Justin Williams: NetNewsNostalgia. Thanks, Justin!

I started work on NetNewsWire nine years ago. Before that I worked at UserLand Software six years. When I like something, I don’t want to stop doing it.

When I started NetNewsWire, my heros were the developers who’d been doing great work for a long time. BBEdit has been around a lot longer than my app, and Rich Siegel was and remains a hero.

Other developers I looked up to (and still do): Dave Winer, Peter N Lewis, Mark Aldritt, Jim Matthews, Chuck Shotton, John Norstad.

Just typing the names of their apps is still exciting to me. Frontier. Anarchie. Script Debugger. Fetch. MacHTTP/WebSTAR. NewsWatcher. These apps were what made me think that one person or a small team could do fantastic software that people love.

And some of those apps are still going strong. NetNewsWire has older siblings.

(In many ways, NetNewsWire was inspired by NewsWatcher. It was never my intention to make RSS like email — it was to make it more like Usenet, which was a pretty familiar thing to geeks. Note even the similarity in name.)

Community then and now

The community of Mac developers ten years ago was much smaller than today. Cocoa was new to those of us who came from Mac programming rather than coming from the NeXT world. It was a great time — exciting and fun, full of possibility.

And today is an even better time.

The community today has grown so much and yet retains — and improves on — the character I saw in it back in the ’90s. That’s a remarkable achievement, and credit goes to a whole ton of people, more than I could begin to name. (There’s a great chance you would be on that list.)

Community is the software we build together. I couldn’t be more proud.