Google Reader is now my primary RSS experience

I have been using NewsGator's NetNewsWire for Mac RSS reader for years but yesterday I moved all my RSS feeds over to Google Reader and closed NetNewsWire for good. There are lots of things to like about NetNewsWire like its tabbed windows, responsiveness and polished look and feel, but even with these things in mind it struggles to compete with the best online RSS readers out there today.

I played around with Google Reader in its first carnation last year but its interface went over my head. It seemed to me they were trying to be clever with news rather than give users an interface they were used to and actually wanted. Recently Google re-released Reader in a far more conventional guise making the overall experience very similar to traditional RSS readers with a few added bonuses.

So how does Google Reader, a Web-based application overcome NetNewsWire's OSX savvy advantages?

Searching across websites with OpenSearch

Providing search services that span a number of disparate websites is a challenging problem that in the past has been left to the big-boys such as Google. However Amazon's OpenSearch RSS format is changing this reality and providing a means for effective multiple website search to be deployed at low cost by small development teams.


Most organisations comprise of a number of different interest groups (I like to think of them as factions) and when it comes to external and internal websites it proves far more efficient to let these groups build and maintain their own independent sites rather than combine them under a single unified banner and management structure. The reasons for this are pragmatic rather than technical, in fact from a purely technical perspective it is far easier to concentrate on building a single massive website as this means one architecture, one management group and a homogonised user base.

Dave Winer's views on the acceptance of RSS

A few days ago Dave Winer wrote a good post on the real drivers (from his perspective) of RSS apart from himself was the publishing industry, namely the New York Times in 2002. His reasoning is quite interesting, the tech industry couldn't drive the adoption of a new standard because it would make the playing field too even. It makes sense for competitors to use different standards because it creates lock-in and along with lock-in you have control. It took the publishing industry, who at the time did not feel threatened by the online environment like they do today, took take the standard and put it to use. 

RSS Feed Online

After a bit of tinkering I have a FeedBurner (RSS & Atom) feed for this subject online. It can be subscribed to here. The issue was my content management system (Mambo 4.5.1) only natively supporting feeds of the site frontpage. Fortunately there is an add-on that supports multiple site feeds but setting this up is far from intuitive. Oh well, its up now I guess.

It's actually interesting to see the development of the different RSS/Atom standards. RSS begun development as a group project but then a difference of opinion between Dave Winer and a number of other members split the project in two. Dave Winer produced RSS 0.91 whilst a little while later the working group came out with RSS 1.0.