inessential by Brent Simmons

Where I am with NetNewsWire

Afternoon coffeePeople ask me what’s up with NetNewsWire — and this week they’ll ask me in person. So I figured I’d better write a post about it.

Here’s the scoop: both versions are in extremely active development. I’m currently working on NetNewsWire 3.2 and 4.0 for Mac and NetNewsWire 2.0 for iPhone.

I recently set up Twitter accounts for them: NetNewsWire/Mac and NetNewsWire/iPhone. I haven’t posted much yet, but I will. (You can also follow my personal account, but I often post things that have nothing to do with NetNewsWire. And I can’t do support via Twitter via any of the accounts.)

I don’t have time estimates — any guesses would be completely wrong. But nobody’s more impatient than I am.

What’s coming

You may have seen the FeedDemon beta with Google Reader syncing.

The plan is to add Google Reader syncing to NetNewsWire 3.2/Mac and NetNewsWire 2.0/iPhone also. I can’t promise for sure for-sure, but I’m 95% sure.

More about NetNewsWire 3.2/Mac

This version, as the number suggests, isn’t a huge upgrade — the main thing is Google Reader syncing. (Plus a couple small features and some bug fixes.) It will be a transitional release — it drops a bunch of stuff, gets leaner, and moves some of the data storage over to the format 4.0 will use.

Here’s what it drops: Tiger support is gone — it will require 10.5 or greater. The DotMac/FTP syncing and Bloglines syncing are gone. Some little features like the Send Email to Author command are gone.

My favorite part is under-the-hood — dropping code I don’t need for Tiger support, mostly. Switching to ObjC 2.0 properties, especially.

More about NetNewsWire 4.0/Mac

Work on 4.0 is in parallel with other work — but it’s farther behind. It will also be a bigger upgrade.

I’d talk about what’s going to be in it, but it’s too soon.

Well, I can talk some technical stuff: I plan to move storage completely over to Core Data and I’d like to turn on garbage collection.

More about NetNewsWire 2.0/iPhone

It’s a race — I don’t know which will ship first, NetNewsWire 2.0/iPhone or NetNewsWire 3.2/Mac.

I’ve spent the last six months or so mostly in iPhone-land, working on the foundation for NetNewsWire 2.0. Along the way we discovered it was generalizable and that there’s a business doing private-label apps based on the same foundation that will power NetNewsWire 2.0. The highest-profile example is All Things Digital — if you use it, you are in a way using an early version of NetNewsWire 2.0.

It turns out that learning how to do good news readers on iPhone is harder than I expected. Almost the entire ballgame is about performance.

Think of all that a Twitter client has to do — then imagine running 100 Twitter clients at once. I think I’ve spent about 3 man-months just in Shark and Instruments, figuring out how to scale and perform well on the iPhone, which is for real a new platform, even though we still get to write in Cocoa.

Destroying the hard drive(Another thing I spent a lot of time on was UI. NetNewsWire 1.0 for iPhone is quite spartan, you’ve noticed.)

Anyway, the plan is to add Google Reader syncing for NetNewsWire 2.0 — and a few other things, which I don’t have time to write about now.

But it’s all new — taken apart, scrapped, put back together, taken apart again, written anew, etc.


So, if you see me at WWDC, tell me how your stuff is going. I’m interested. And now you already know how it’s going with NetNewsWire. :)