inessential: Why I’m Writing These Particular Apps by Brent Simmons

I’ve worked all these decades to be able to be in the position where I have the ability and freedom to write the apps I want to write. Anyone could argue that I should be putting my skills and experience toward something more likely to be earth-shaking, and that’s fair — but I believe I can do the most good by making the apps I was born to make, rather than working at something that doesn’t excite me.

Large numbers of users doesn’t excite me. High-quality, open source Mac apps excite me. Bringing the power I enjoyed with Frontier to a new generation excites me. Bringing RSS reading back excites me.

My goal is just to be able to continue working on these apps, no matter how few or many users they have. My exit strategy… well, eventually cognitive decline will come, and I’ll write less code and do more writing about the apps. And eventually I’ll end up turning them over to someone else (or some group). But hopefully that’s 15 years from now, at least.

I have a great deal of regret for not following my passion and continuing to develop web applications. I stopped around 2010. I should have followed my passion instead of a paycheck.

inessential: New World NetNewsWire by Brent Simmons (inessential.com)

This means that NetNewsWire does not have to be designed as if it’s anybody’s only source of news. And it doesn’t have to be designed to please the maximum number of people.

My thinking, instead, is to make it fit into an ecosystem: it’s just one of a number of sources, and not even the only RSS reader.

This allows me to design more carefully. NetNewsWire used to be quite over-featured, and now I have the luxury of being able to make a leaner NetNewsWire.

I can say no to things that I would have said yes to — I can make it the app I want it to be, an app that hopefully lots of people love using, but that isn’t trying overly hard to be everybody’s friend.

It’s okay, in other words, to remember that there are other RSS readers, and it’s totally a-okay when somebody likes another one more.

In other words, NetNewsWire of the future will be more me than any previous versions were.

I stopped using NetNewsWire several years ago but I have a nostalgic soft spot for one of the first RSS readers I installed on my Mac. It seems Chris has made a decision. NetNewsWire will not go quietly into the night. It will reborn as something new perhaps based on the re-imagining of something old. Perhaps Chris is making an IndieWeb microsub reader. No, he didn’t write anything to suggest that. But I can only hope.