Interview with Brent Simmons, NetNewsWire Creator: 5 Key Questions

Following the recent launch of NetNewsWire 3, I had the opportunity to chat with Brent Simmons, the mind behind the software. He shared insights into the new features of NNW, his personal use, and his views on software development. Here’s what he had to say.

Which new feature of NNW 3.0 do you find most useful on a daily basis?

Brent Simmons: For me, the Attention report is invaluable. It highlights the feeds that aren’t capturing my interest, allowing me to clean up my feed list.

I advocate for users to unsubscribe from feeds that no longer serve them, even though it might seem counterintuitive coming from a developer. Currently, I’m subscribed to 87 feeds, the lowest in over five years, and I aim to reduce that number gradually.

With the increasing overlap between web and desktop applications, what unique aspects does NNW offer compared to a web app?

Local data storage, integrated Spotlight search, and AppleScript support are just a few features that set NNW apart. The application also boasts a rich user interface typical of Mac applications, such as a customizable toolbar and quick access to preferences. Moreover, NNW excels in inter-application connectivity, supporting a wide range of actions from sending emails via Mail to posting updates on social media platforms.

During the development of NNW 3.0’s UI, what were some of the hardest and easiest design decisions?

The design process involved numerous iterations, especially with the placement and style of tabs.

Deciding what to keep and what to remove was challenging, particularly when it involved features I personally liked but were not well-received by others. However, this iterative process is crucial for refining the user interface.

Was there a feature you hoped to include in this release but could not?

One feature I wanted to implement was pagination in the Combined View, which would improve performance by not rendering too many items simultaneously. Although I started developing this feature, time constraints prevented its completion for this release. It remains a priority for future updates.

Aside from NNW, what are some other applications you use regularly?

As a Cocoa developer, I frequently use Xcode.

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Donald is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest insights and updates on all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail and a love for technology, Donald covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest macOS updates. His articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex topics accessible to all. When he’s not writing, Donald enjoys exploring the capabilities of his MacBook Pro and capturing moments with his iPhone camera.