My Plan for FeedDemon

Since announcing the end of FeedDemon last week, I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who say they’re sad to see it go. Many of these people have told me they want to keep using it.

So here’s what I’m going to do: sometime before the demise of Google Reader, I’ll release a new version of FeedDemon which no longer syncs with Google Reader. This version will be free, won’t contain any ads, and will have all of the features of the Pro version. You can use it free of charge for as long as you like – but it will be the last version of FeedDemon.

It’s been impossible to respond to the many tweets asking me about open-sourcing FeedDemon, or making it sync with another service. So I’d like to address those questions here.

First, open-sourcing FeedDemon sounds nice, but I don’t see it working. I use a number of commercial third-party components which can’t be open-sourced, and some of them are older versions that I’ve modified quite a bit. Perhaps more importantly, FeedDemon was developed in Delphi 7, which is very out of date. Delphi geeks will recall that version was released before the product supported Unicode, so all the Unicode support you see in FeedDemon was added by me (using owner draw, custom string routines, etc.). Long story short: it would be easier to write a new RSS reader than it would be to upgrade FeedDemon’s code to the latest Delphi version (which would need to be done).

Second, switching to another sync service isn’t practical. It’s not as simple as just using a different set of endpoints for API calls, as some have suggested. No matter how close the new sync API is to Reader’s, there will be differences that require a lot of attention. Reliably syncing RSS feeds is a ton of work, and as I mentioned in my previous post, I already have a full-time job as an Android developer and just wouldn’t be able to devote extra time to switching sync platforms.

I don’t take the end of FeedDemon lightly – after all, it has occupied a huge chunk of my life since I created it back in 2003. But I haven’t been able to give it any attention for quite some time, and it has earned very little for the past few years. Really, it’s time for me to let it go.

PS: As expected, the end of both Google Reader and FeedDemon have brought a fresh round of articles saying “RSS is dead,” which is way off-base. Google Reader and FeedDemon represent the “old school” of RSS readers: they were designed for geeks and held little mass-market appeal as a result. There are plenty of popular “new school” feed readers with new approaches, and most of them don’t even call themselves RSS readers or even mention that they rely on RSS (which is a good thing, since most customers don’t care about the plumbing).