NetNewsWire as a platform

There’s an opportunity for Ranchero if they act soon. We are still in the early stages of RSS readers and aggregators, both web-based and desktop apps. Over the next year, we are going to see even more tools for managing weblog subscriptions and discovering new blogs.

<a href=”http://www.dashes.com/anil/index.php?archives/005631.php

“>Anil Dash wants to follow many, many weblogs:

“The second idea that I really believe in, despite the fact that nearly everyone who heard it thought I was either being crazy or facetious, was that in 2 or 3 years, many of us will be reading 10,000 weblogs. It’s a hard statement to justify literally unless you factor in how software and platforms are going to evolve.”

At SXSW, he made the comparison to the New York Times. Instead of hundreds of writers and editors at a newspaper, you have thousands of bloggers focused on topics they know something about, and smart software that brings it all together.

Impossible today. At least two things are needed: Better ways to discover new blogs, using blogrolls and FOAF-like formats to connect bloggers that share common interests; and filtering systems that allow unimportant entries to be hidden, or special topics flagged and brought to your attention.

Back to NetNewsWire. It has a good UI, it’s built on a nice database (SQLite), it knows network stuff and RSS, and it will soon integrate a good rendering engine (WebKit). Why not use that infrastructure to build other tools on. Plug-ins could hook into the application at different levels, such as filtering incoming RSS feeds, providing search services, or making changes to the subscription list. NetNewsWire has great AppleScript support, but this would go a step beyond that.

Now would be a great time for Ranchero to start thinking about this, before everyone starts writing their own aggregator. The last thing I want is 10 applications with incomplete features. I’d rather have a couple good ones that are compatible and can be extended.