Wow! How did this happen?
As regular visitors to my support forums know, the biggest request - by far - that FeedDemon customers have had is the ability to synchronize their subscriptions between multiple computers. They use FeedDemon on one PC at home, on another at the office, on a laptop while traveling, etc., and they want their feeds to be synched between them.
If someone reads an item on one computer, it shouldn't show up as unread on another computer. And when they subscribe to a feed, it should automatically appear on any computer they use. Basically, provide the convenience of a web-based aggregator with the power and speed of a Windows desktop application.
I toyed with various hack-ish ways to do this, and even considered creating my own web-based sync service, but in the end came to the conclusion that to really do this right, I needed to join forces with someone who already had the server-side piece in place.
Why NewsGator? I thought they were just an Outlook plug-in?
I used to think that, too. But shortly after I decided I needed to join forces with someone, I read this post in NewsGator founder Greg Reinacker's blog, in which he laid out NewsGator's plans. This post really opened my eyes to where they were headed - let's just say, I was impressed.
Funny enough, soon afterwards I got an email from Greg asking whether I'd consider joining forces with NewsGator. Truth is, if I hadn't already read Greg's blog post and been so impressed with the direction NewsGator was headed, chances are I would've turned him down - but because I read that post, I flew out to meet with the folks at NewsGator (score one for transparency through blogging!).
Long story short: we agreed that I should come on board and bring FeedDemon and TopStyle with me.
So what does this mean for FeedDemon customers?
I think you're going to like this :)
NewsGator uses a subscription model, and FeedDemon will become part of their subscription plans. All existing FeedDemon customers will get a two-year business standard subscription for free - and this includes upgrades to FeedDemon. In other words, if you've already bought FeedDemon, you'll get brand new versions of FeedDemon and a subscription to NewsGator Online free for the next two years.
Are there going to be changes in FeedDemon as a result of this?
Certainly. The most obvious will be that FeedDemon will integrate very closely with NewsGator's online synchronization platform, enabling using FeedDemon on multiple computers while maintaining state between all of them. You could even use FeedDemon on your home computer, NewsGator Outlook Edition while at work, and NewsGator Mobile Edition while traveling, and still have everything synched between devices.
Beyond that, having a server-side piece offers a lot of interesting possibilities. Coupling a rich desktop client with a first-rate server-side aggregator provides the best of both worlds: you get the power of a Windows application and all the flexibility of a web-based approach. There have been a number of features I've been wanting to add to FeedDemon that required a server-side piece which I can now provide.
While these changes won't happen overnight, we've already been working hard on a new release of FeedDemon - version 1.51 - which will include much better integration than currently exists. You should expect to see the first beta of FeedDemon 1.51 a couple of weeks from now.
And what about TopStyle customers?
While the acquisition obviously came to pass because of FeedDemon, NewsGator has made it clear that they're committed to TopStyle as well. This was an important part of the deal for me. I use TopStyle every single day, and I personally couldn't work without it. I'm already developing TopStyle 3.12, a free upgrade for existing TopStyle customers which will be released as a NewsGator product.
Oh, and you'll get the same deal as FeedDemon customers: a free two-year subscription. For the record, TopStyle has a lot of users - even more than FeedDemon - so this is a very generous offer from the folks at NewsGator, and it illustrates their commitment to the product.
So, what about you, Nick? Are you moving? And will you still be doing support?
Although I'll be working for NewsGator (my official title is "Architect of Client Products"), I'll be staying here in Tennessee, with frequent trips to NewsGator's offices in Denver.
I'll continue to be active in the support forums - I need to, in order to understand what my customers need - but I'll be handing over the support reigns to the folks at NewsGator. In fact, NewsGator has already taken over some of the support for FeedDemon - they're the "reinforcements" I mentioned in this post last month. The mysterious "Ron" I talked about is actually NewsGator's Ronnie Gilbertson, who will no doubt be relieved that he's no longer a secret!
And to illustrate their commitment to FeedDemon and TopStyle, NewsGator has already hired Jack Brewster to help support both products. Jack starts next month, and he's been a very frequent contributor to my support forums over the years (sometimes I think he knows TopStyle and FeedDemon better than I do). Welcome aboard, Jack - glad you could join us!
Patience is a virtue :)
So, there are obviously some major changes underway here, and we've got a lot to do to integrate my site, support system, etc., with NewsGator's.
As long as this post is, I know it leaves a ton of questions unanswered, and I'll try to address them here over the next few weeks. In the meantime, I do ask for your patience while we get everything sorted out. The entire process will likely take several weeks, and it's possible there will be a few hiccups along the way.
The end result, though, will be something special. I'm excited to have this opportunity to take my software to a whole new level, and I look forward to entering this new chapter in my life.