Talk of Dave Winer’s mobile news reading “river” is seemingly everywhere. If you don’t know, Dave recently made a way for people to easily read news on their mobile device by creating custom displays of popular websites: TechCrunch.com, NYTimes.com…etc. Inspired by Dave’s idea and knowing Britney Spears will be thin again before Dave ever gets around to making a “river” version of Hell Yeah Bitch! .com, I decided to make a very simple way to take our, or anyone else’s RSS feed and display it for mobile devices. Dave’s has been getting tons of traffic I assume, but even my little mobile viewer has been getting its share of usage lately as well. All this mobile web development over the past few days as started much more of a stir that I would have thought, I think its time I clear a few things up on my end.
1. Isn’t all this re-inventing the wheel? Haven’t you seen Bloglines Mobile or any of the RSS readers out there?
No, its not reinventing the wheel. I’ll get in to this in a different article though, because its seems too broad for this. (which I hope to post later today)
2. How are Dave Winer’s different from yours?
Other than the fact that I’m a Dave Winer Wannabe and Dave is Dave Winer…actually a lot. Granted what I know about Dave’s has been gleaned from scant posts and a flickr comment discussion, but there’s plenty. Dave’s is based on OPML, he is working on it to become a platform of sort for generating customized news, and he’s Dave freaking Winer, so I’m sure there’s more going on thats just not out yet. Mine on the other hand is a very simple PHP page that just makes a cURL call to pull the page and auto-sense the feed, then it pulls the feed and displays the articles, on the fly, without styling. Like I said before, I was or am not under the illusion that mine is anywhere in the ballpark or the parking lot with Winer’s, but I made mine, like I said above, to cop that “river” feel on sites that he hasn’t yet made to work with his. Mine is extremely simple by design so that me or anyone else with a blog can plug in their url and make a mobile version without taking more that 10 seconds out of their day. Honestly I made it for my own using so that I can read all kinds of blogs easily on my phone, all the other people using it are bonus. Hell if someone even wants to redirect their url “mobile.[someblog].com” over to my Mobile Viewer, I have no problems with it (if you are a big site though, please let me know in advance). That all being said, if Winer ever makes his “river” public allowing us to put it on our own sites or allow us to use it on any site (guess that depends on how it works) then my little app will be quite useless for the most part. Until then, and probably after “then” too, my Mobile Viewer will be available for all to use for all blogs you want to read but don’t have in your RSS feed, or for you to make a mobile version with little to no configuration.
For any more questions, comments, suggestions or anything else, feel free to contact me.