Friday, August 31, 2018

NetNewsWire Comes Home

George Dick:

Since acquiring NetNewsWire from Newsgator in 2011, we’ve invested a great deal in the continued development and support of the product suite including the addition of a free sync service. Unfortunately, the ongoing cost of support and feature development for these products require more dedicated resources than we are able to provide.

With that in mind, today we are removing all versions of the app from sale. We’ll continue to run the sync service for another 60 days, then take it offline at the end of October.

We would also like to announce that the NetNewsWire brand will be returning to its original creator, Brent Simmons.

Brent Simmons:

You might reasonably wonder if nevertheless [Black Pixel] asked for some large amount of money. There was no charge. That’s what I mean by “incredible generosity.”


You probably know that I’ve been working on a free and open source reader named Evergreen. Evergreen 1.0 will be renamed NetNewsWire 5.0 — in other words, I’ve been working on NetNewsWire 5.0 all this time without knowing it!

It will remain free and open source, and it will remain my side project.

Classy move by Black Pixel, and it’s great to have Simmons working on NetNewsWire again after all these years.

Previously: The State of RSS on the Mac, Evergreen Mac Feed Reader, The Story of NetNewsWire.

Update (2018-09-03): See also: Hacker News.

Brent Simmons:

NetNewsWire Lite 4.0 was the last version I shipped before the sale to Black Pixel, back in 2011. It was a free app on the Mac App Store.

I put the source up on GitHub.

Brent Simmons:

If you’d like to run it, go to the NetNewsWire site and download the latest build.

Brent Simmons:

My goal used to be to make NetNewsWire a great Mac app with lots of paying users. Secondary goals were to promote reading and writing on the web, the blogosphere, and RSS and open web standards.

My goal now is to make NetNewsWire a great Mac app with lots of users. Other, no-less-important, goals are to:

  • Promote healthier news-reading via the open web and RSS
  • Promote native Mac app development by providing a good example and by making the code open source

(Yes, I’m strongly considering an iOS version, but I’m concentrating on the Mac app first.)

Update (2018-09-05): Daniel Jalkut:

Over the years I considered other news readers such as Reeder (which is free for a limited time, by the way), but none of them scratched that NetNewsWire 3 itch. I rely upon some arcane features of the app including “scripted feeds,” which allow me for example to run Python scripts on my Mac that connect to Twitter and generate RSS feeds from search results. That’s not possible in most feed readers.

I used to fantasize about getting access to the NetNewsWire 3 source code and sprucing it up. I wondered how things might have turned out differently if, in addition to acquiring MarsEdit from NewsGator, I had acquired both? I can’t say I would have done a better job than Black Pixel, but I would have preserved the features I care about, and that Clippings folder icon would be the right size!

Brent Simmons:

I was considering publishing the source on GitHub and/or making a 3.4 build that strips out the Esellerate and Google Reader syncing parts.

So I sent the code to Daniel Jalkut, who quickly hacked at it and got it running and sent it back to me.

And then I ran it too — and quickly realized a few things[…]

Update (2018-09-08): NetNewsWire:

Before anyone ever saw a copy, NetNewsWire was called AquaReader. It was renamed to NetNewsWire not long after.

Back in those early days of OS X it was pretty common to put the word “Aqua” or “Cocoa” in your Mac app’s name.


Before NetNewsWire 1.0 shipped, it went through a couple different app icons. In those days, globe icons were very common.

Update (2018-09-10): NetNewsWire:

Here’s a screenshot of the blog editor in NetNewsWire 1.x, which was later split out into a separate app: MarsEdit.


This is what the Combined View looked like in NetNewsWire 1.x.

This was before WebKit existed — HTML display was done by some NSAttributedString method which could handle basic HTML formatting.

Update (2018-09-13): Brent Simmons:

NetNewsWire 1.x included an outliner — a single-document notepad for storing thoughts, links, RSS articles, and so on.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

Wait, does that mean Evergreen 1.0/NetNewsWire 5.0 doesn't have syncing? It's a Mac Only app?

@Nathan I think syncing is planned for after 1.0/5.0.


Syncing via FeedBin is actually planned for 5.0. Until it's in place, I can't really use the app. I am just checking once in a while :-)

Installed, working fine on High Sierra so far. But I think I'll be sticking to Vienna, at least for now. Like to configure stuff: font type, font size, styles, how many rows of text per news item etc.

Thanks for the info. I concur with Joss, at this point I'd probably just stick with Vienna if I was using a Mac. However, syncing is a whole different ball game, that I would pay for no less!!!! Good luck to Brent Simmons and I hope the app gets rolling.

Right now, I've settled on Feedly via app/web. Feedly does alright with the syncing, but it doesn't always get state 100% right between devices. It's better than not syncing of course.

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