Awasu » Purr, purr…
Friday 29th October 2004 8:31 PM [General]

As you are probably all aware, the number of RSS aggregators (what a horrible term :-() out there is increasing steadily. While this is maybe a good thing in the sense that it indicates the increasing popularity of RSS, it can perhaps make things a bit harder for the average RSS newbie to get started. I mean, Awasu is clearly the best news reader around :wink: but why exactly is it the best?

I got an email the other day from about a new thing they're putting together for their site. It compares a bunch of different aggregators, feature by feature, and allows you, the users, to join in the fun by adding your own comments and ratings. From the sneak peeks I've had already, it looks pretty neat.

Update: This part of their site is now live. Mosey on over here and give Awasu a boost :-)

The email contained a long list of questions about Awasu's features and capabilities and to cut a long story short, this is how we went:

So, out of the 26 things covered in the survey, Awasu missed out on, count 'em, two. One of them was localization (we just don't have the resources to do it well (and we're not interested in doing it badly) and frankly, not many people have been asking for it) and the other was the ability to drag a feed URL into Awasu to subscribe to it. Hardly a show-stopper.

And not only were we able to answer "yes" to most of the questions, in a lot of cases it was a resounding "Oh yeah, baby! We can do that and a whole lot more!"

I've posted our full response here.

We also came up with a bunch of other questions that should probably be included in such a survey. Now, I'd be the first to admit that I'm perhaps not the most unbiased person on the planet to be dreaming up questions for a survey of this type :oops: but some of them, at least :-), are quite reasonable. Awasu, of course, scores a perfect 100% on these bonus questions. Yay!

So, apart from the obvious reason that Awasu did rather well, why am I posting this?

One of my favorite questions in job interviews is "Describe some of your weaknesses" because I get a chance to be a smart-ass (and God knows, I need to do that more often :roll:) and say something like "Hmmm... Well, I set very high standards for myself which often means that I spend too much time and effort working on things to make sure that I'm satisified with the level of quality, not just the client (and my boss)." While this might sound like (and is often taken to be) utter crap, it is in fact true.

I've been spending a lot of time over the past few weeks goofing off and reading feeds doing a lot of usability testing and given the much snappier UI (due to the database optimizations made in 2.0.4) and a search engine that not only now works but works really well, the thought crossed my mind as I ploughed through my channels at a high rate of knots that Awasu was becoming a pretty classy piece of software. Even by my standards.

I've spoken several times about the reasons why I've spent so much time and worked so hard on Awasu (here and here, for example) and answering the survey questions really brought to my attention and made me think about what we've achieved. We're one of the news readers recommended by the BBC. These guys really like us. Over here too. We get thousands of new users every month downloading the software.


Thinking back to the very early days when I had stars in my eyes and a dream of what a cool thing this program was going to become, it's amazing to see how far along that road we've come. And we're not done yet, either. Not even close.

I so need to find me a smiley of a cat purring gently to itself... :-)

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