One Man Shop

For almost a day now FeedWrangler’s been offline. And almost a day later there hasn’t been a word on the why or the when we can expect service restored.

It’s strange how one can feel so disconnected from what’s happening in the world when a newsreader doesn’t update anymore. But since I discover news through RSS, if that notification badge doesn’t show a number, there’s no news. Okay that may be a bit extreme, but it’s weird how much of a creature of habit we are. Yes, I could start opening up websites the old fashioned way too find out if anything happened, or start browsing Twitter streams, but since I took the time a while back to store every news source or blog I like into FeedWrangler, and organize them by theme or category, opening the websites on by one is just not that handy and relaxing.

Imagine the following scenario: FeedWrangler is down, something serious happened and the service stays down. I surely hope that isn’t the case, but let’s say it is. Then I need to find an alternative. But since the service is down, I can’t export a list of all my feeds. So I need to manually recreate the entire list based on what’s cached in Reeder or ReadKit. Hugely annoying.

And let’s say we are forced to migrate to new service.. Then it’s the Google Reader misery all over again. Do we go with a service from a big commercial company like Digg? Or a small service like Feedbin? Do we pick stability and future-proof over features and indie development? I prefer these small one man shops like David Smith, Marco Arment and hell, even Everpix. They provide great user feedback, understand their customers and create solution that are enjoyed by maybe only a small section of the (App Store) world, but are so feature-specific that they often provide the app for a certain service.

I prefer TweetBot over the Twitter app, Everpix over PhotoStream, Instapaper over Pocket and FeedWrangler over Feedly. Why? Because these apps cater to my specific needs more than the solution for the general public, for the 90%. But now with Everpix suddenly bankrupt, with FeedWrangler down without any communication, it occurs to me that this cool indie development scenes comes with a big risk. If only one guy knows the code, the service is completely dependent on that guy. If he’s sick, he can’t work, if he’s on holiday, there’s no support, and if he can’t figure it out (being it bugs, money,..) , he’s stuck.

So I’m currently really hoping that FeedWrangler comes back online shortly. But even so, I’ve begun looking for a contingency plan. Luckily, there are plenty of RSS alternatives thanks to Google’s Reader demise. Something that can’t be said of Everpix…