inessential by Brent Simmons

Safari + RSS

One of the small surprises to me in the Yosemite update is that Safari supports RSS again.

It’s not the same as it used to be, but it’s there. Links show up in the Safari sidebar.

I think this is cool.

* * *

I remember the WWDC keynote when Safari/RSS was announced. I had been worried about an Apple RSS reader the year before, and I was worried again that year.

And then there it was. And right in the browser. So I figured my app NetNewsWire was screwed — off to meet Watson, wherever the hell it went.

But was sitting next to Daniel Steinberg. I don’t remember exactly what he said — something simple like “Oh, I think you’ll be fine” — and I believed him, right then and there, even as Safari/RSS was rolling out.

Now there’s a guy who’s good at being reassuring. I’m not sure anyone else could have handled me that day.

And he was right. NetNewsWire sales doubled when Safari/RSS came out. I think it was the best possible thing for my app, that Apple gave RSS a kind of seal-of-approval and let millions of people know that the technology existed.

And so, for nostalgic reasons, I’m pleased to see Safari pick up RSS again.

* * *

Later that same WWDC I talked to an Apple engineer who explained to me that there had been quite a bit of discussion over whether or not to include a “Don’t be evil” popup in Safari’s preferences. (Her words.) That popup allowed a user to choose their default RSS reader, so it wouldn’t have to be Safari and could be something else.

To this day I remain grateful to the people who argued for the right side of that argument. I don’t even know their names, but I wish them all the best.