inessential by Brent Simmons

Safari, RSS, NetNewsWire

“So, Brent, what do you think of Apple putting RSS reading into Safari?”

The first thing to know is that we have no intention of stopping NetNewsWire development.

The second thing is, I’m not surprised. I half-expected it last year, and this year I’d heard rumors (even seen some screen shots) before WWDC, so it’s no shock. Syndication is such great technology, it makes sense for Apple—and Microsoft—to add RSS reading to their systems.

The RSS reader in Safari is not a full-featured newsreader, at least from what I could tell by the demo. For instance, it doesn’t appear to remember what items you’ve read or tell you how many unread items you have. And some of the other features that it does have—such as RSS searching—are coming in NetNewsWire 2.0.

So... even with Safari’s RSS reader, there is still a need for newsreaders that do more. (Much more.)

What I like about this announcement is that it popularizes syndication. Despite its fast growth, there’s still a huge education job to do. The average Mac user doesn’t know about the technology yet, but putting it in Safari means they will know about it, and it gives the technology a kind of validation, an Apple seal of approval, for the people who are slower to look at new technologies.

It also may mean that Apple will evangelize RSS to publications that haven’t yet adopted it. Which is great: it’s not something we have much time for, and when CNN hears from Apple it carries a bit more weight than when they hear from Ranchero Software.

This could trigger a shake-out in the Mac OS X newsreaders market. There are a dozen or so readers right now, but by this time next year there may be Safari and just a few others. (NetNewsWire will be one of them.)

So I don’t feel as we’ve been Sherlocked. But it does look to me as if the Konfabulator folks might have something to say about Dashboard.