Thursday, September 25, 2014

Feeddler Pro 2 Just Released

Feeddler Pro 2 was finally approved by Apple and was released in the App Store this morning. I appreciate your continued support.

The free version had some issues raised by Apple's App Review team on Monday. I had to re-submit the free version on Monday night. Hopefully the issues will be resolved this time and the free app can be approved soon too.

Update on 9/30/2014:
I have submitted an update to fix aggregated item loading for The Old Reader, fix RSS summary for feedHQ, add options to disable full screen in list view or article view, and enable unread badge and background refresh. These were widespread bugs or popular requests from the initial release so I want to release an update as soon as possible. I will address other issues in the following updates.

The free version is still under review :(

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Feeddler 2 for iOS 8

Feeddler was first released on April 1st, 2010, two days before the first-generation iPad was released. At one point, it was ranked 11th in the App Store across all categories. In the next three years, Feeddler was constantly ranked in top 20 in the iPad News category, and top 30 for iPhone News.

Feeddler was first written for iOS 3.2 to support Google Reader. Over time, the code was upgraded for iOS 4, 5, and 6. There were more than 20 updates. When Google Reader was shut down, Feeddler continued to support a few RSS services.

Apple made a bold change in iOS 7. But for the first time I couldn't update Feeddler accordingly. My wife was fighting a cancer. I had to pause all plans to support her and the family. Luckily my wife has recovered well after all the chemo treatments, surgeries, and radiation therapy.

In the past few months, I have rewritten most of the code for Feeddler. The new Feeddler uses the similar UI layout with the modern iOS design. New features include Feedly support, full screen reading, full text mode with Readability, and GIF image support among many others. Test users have praised the new app for its improved speed and reliability in iOS 8.

I have submitted Feeddler 2 to the App Store and hopefully it will be approved in time this week for iOS 8 and iPhone 6 release. Feeddler 2 will be a new app. The Pro version is priced at $4.99 again. If you are not ready to pay (again), I invite you to download the free version for Feeddler 2. I decided to make most Pro version features available for the free version this time.

I hope you will like the new Feeddler and appreciate your continued support. Thank you!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader!

Google Reader is going to be shut down today. Users have felt bitter, angry, and somewhat panic in the past few months. However, so many developers have been working hard to create Google Reader replacements. I have seen new services popping up everyday. We may very well witness the RSS rebirth right now.

If you have not migrated your Google Reader account to any new services, you better take actions immediately. Follow this article to backup your Google Reader data. Feeddler 2.0 supports three alternative services. Sign up any services now and import the subscriptions.xml file from the backups to these services. Use Google login when you sign up these services so some of them may import your Google Reader data automatically.

If you use Google login to sign up these services, you need to create a separate mobile login for Feeddler to sync with your select services. For BazQux Reader, select settings (upper right gear button) and select mobile login to create a user name and a password. For FeedHQ, go to its Account Settings. For The Old Reader, add a user name and a password in Settings.

I have also fixed a few bugs in Feeddler 2.0. A minor update is almost ready for App Store submission.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Feeddler 2.0 release

Feeddler's iPhone-only Pro version has been approved by Apple. There are not many users on this one since I have encouraged users to purchase the universal version. I keep this version in the App Store so I can continue to update the app for users. Most of you need to wait a bit more for Feeddler 2.0 release.

After the last blog entry, other than Bazqux Reader, I added two services to Feeddler 2.0 update: FeedHQ and The Old Reader. Bazqux costs $2/month and supports the most Feeddler features including custom feed sorting. FeedHQ costs $12 a year or you can host this open source yourself. Feeddler will support self-hosting FeedHQ later. Both Bazqux and FeedHQ offer 30-day free trial. And I don't take any cut from these subscription fees. The Old Reader is free. No starring or article tagging support for the first API release, but they will work on these features next.

All these three services are developed by highly dedicated individuals or teams. I encourage all users to try them all. Feeddler 2.0 still supports multiple accounts like before, and also from multiple services now. You can still use Google Reader till 7/1 with Feeddler 2.0. Feedly support should come next.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Feeddler status update

Long story short: I will submit a Feeddler update soon that should transition well into the post-Google Reader era.

No, it's not Feedly or Digg. Their API is not ready yet. I am aware of Feedly's announcement last week and I did get its API access after the news. But Feedly folks are still working day and night to fix bugs. Their API is also different from Google's, so it will take me some time for integration.

Feeddler will first support BazQux Reader which nicely duplicates Google Reader API. In the past few days, its developer even implemented a few advanced API methods that are only used by Feeddler (e.g. drag-and-drop sorting and feed pagination) after my requests. BazQux Reader is the only one I have seen that supports full set of Google Reader API, which means Feeddler users will not miss any major functionality. It has a very usable web interface too. BazQux Reader offers a 30-day free trial and charges a $2/month subscription fee.

Not ready to commit to a subscription service? Feeddler will support Feedly later, but you might lose some functionality due to API changes.

How about Feeddler's own solution? I have completed the code for RSS aggregation and successfully tested hundred of feeds in several languages. But I still need to work on cross-plateform syncing. No subscription fee, but likely a separate app. Some non-technical issues have prevented me from spending time in this new development. I cannot promise when I will release it. Hopefully soon.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Feeddler 2.0

Google will shut down Reader on July 1st.

It simply means that if I cannot find a service to replace Google Reader, Feeddler will be useless. In fact, all RSS reader apps on any platform will be obsolete if they rely on Google Reader. In the past few days, some have stood up and claimed that they already have or are developing Google Reader replacement and will open API for third party developers. I hope they will be as good as they advertised and I can just change API domain and keep Feeddler working after July 1st. Sounds easy? Probably not. I have tried and investigated a few of them. They were either very slow or API is half-baked. Simply put, there is no good solution so far. I do not want to take risk and believe that someone will offer a good solution soon. I hope for the best but plan for the worst.

Feed aggregation and management is not rocket science. However it is difficult to achieve high performance at Google's scale, which requires intensive computation resources. Google will stop picking up the tab for a great service we all love. Someone has to pay for a high-quality service but most users are not ready to pay. So here is the plan for Feeddler 2.0 without Google Reader. I will first implement a cheap syncing solution that can be offered for free without browser support. A high-performance solution will be developed later with browser support for monthly subscription fees. The subscription fee might start with $1/month for up to 50 feeds.

Feeddler will be fine without Google Reader. If many users like the new Feeddler, a Mac and an Android app might come soon!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Flash integration: Always check stage size before you do anything

I had a project to design a Flash component API that needs to be easy to integrate with all video players. I had investigated more than a dozen video players used by web publishers of any size. These video players included big brand names like YouTube and Brightcove, and generic players such as JW and Flowplayers. The goal is simple: the Flash component API needs to work on any given web pages. Making jobs easy for other developers means we have to do all dirty works.

Some web sites have lots of problems in their HTML markups and JavaScripts. Often times, these publishers have no engineering resource to maintain their code. They probably did not test their site performance across different browsers on different platforms. Some bad codes are not fatal but just make the site slow. But for anyone who needs to add code into it, watch out!

More than once, I found my Flash component failed to load on IE. It's always perfect on Firefox. It also happened only on a few sites.

It turned out that this was a timing issue caused by some JavaScripts that IE had problems with. When I initialized my Flash components, the Flash stage size was ZERO! Yes, you don't always get the stage dimension you set in HTML object tag. Solution? I now always add a timer to poll stage width and height till both are not zero before I even initialize any objects in ActionScript. This is a protection for my ActionScript because I have no idea how it will be used by others.

Remember, if your Flash does not work on IE, and IE only, always check if Flash stage size is zero! Before you can fix your JavaScripts and make IE happy, you can always protect your ActionScripts by waiting till Flash stage is properly initialized.