Anti-social FeedDemon (Killing Features, Part II)

Last night the changes to Google Reader went live, and as promised, they've removed the sharing features. This means that the sharing features in FeedDemon which rely on Google Reader will eventually stop working, so I'm forced to remove them.

A few years ago I wrote about the pain and pleasure of killing features, but deleting sharing from FeedDemon has been all pain and no pleasure. Those features took a long time to create, and I relied on them every day. Seeing what my friends are sharing, and sharing back with them, has become part of my daily routine.

I don't fault the Reader team for removing those features – it makes sense for Reader to integrate more tightly with Google+. And I certainly don't fault them for eventually removing those features from their unofficial API. If anything, I want to thank them for letting developers such as myself use their API for free for so long.

But I'm surprised that the Reader team didn't make the transition to Google+ an easy one. I realize that Reader users are a dwindling bunch, and most of them never used the sharing features. But many of those who relied on sharing are influencers, including well-known tech journalists, bloggers and developers. It strikes me as a bad idea to leave these people with a sour first impression of Google+, yet that will be the result of the painful transition from Reader sharing to Google+ sharing.

As far as FeedDemon goes, in a few days I'll have a build ready which removes the sharing features. But I'm going to hold off releasing this build for a little while since sharing still works at the API level. In other words, right now you can still use the Reader sharing features in third-party apps like FeedDemon even though those features aren't available in Reader itself.

Before the end of the year, though, there will be a new FeedDemon release which does away with sharing, and every FeedDemon customer will need to upgrade. That pains me, because like every developer, I'm used to having new releases improve upon previous ones. For some this release will feel like a downgrade, and I know I'll take some heat for it since many customers won't be aware of the reasons for the loss of sharing.

7 thoughts on “Anti-social FeedDemon (Killing Features, Part II)

  1. Will the starred feed go away too? I’ve been using it with and some scripts, and while starring remains in the new interface I dont know what it means.
    Regardless, I guess its another undocumented API..

  2. @Rahul Starred items won’t go away, but I don’t know about the starred item feed – that’s a question you’ll need to ask the Google Reader folks.

  3. Nick,
    Does this episode cause you to re-think using a 3rd party’s cloud apps? I have had 2 or 3 instances where something from Google that I used has broken or been changed, causing me problems, and it is all out of my hands. There isn’t any customer support to speak of.

  4. I’m with you. Google fucked up pretty bad.
    Here are 3 screenshots of new stuff I’m forced to live with and that piss me off:
    More over here :
    And I’m not even mentioning lost features…
    Anyhow I’m moving back to FeedDemon!
    Since new google reader update, I’ve been testing some feed reader (again), and FeedDemon is still at the top of my list.

  5. I think you should just drop google reader and rely on your own stuff. Right now one can share a link via facebook, twitter, e-mail, delicious (please include pinboard). I think it’s great as it is, without the google features. Keeping sync would be nice, but that could be a pro option, considering the costs you would have. That would be a great incentive to buy pro and you wouldn’t need to deal with the whims of the google guys.

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