October 2012

1 post

5000 users, starting iOS app, future plans, hopes & tears

This is amazing. Incredible. Outstanding. And absolutely unexpected. We reached our personal milestone this morning. In early June Dmitry made a bet that he would start making an iOS app once The Old Reader hits 5000 registrations, and the team gladly accepted this challenge. We have not expected this to happen until early 2013 but in these last five days ~1900 new users registered. These are mostly some awesome people from Brazil who have found us and spread the word in Twitter with astonishing passion and lots of sincerity. 

We are sorry for some technical issues you might have experienced recently; importing your feeds should work much better now and we are trying various things to make it work perfectly. And thank you all for your patience, words can’t describe how important and touching it was to receive reassuring replies like “Ok, I can wait :)”.

So, 5000.

What does this mean for us?

The Old Reader is not even half-finished. We have lots of different tasks to do and the list is growing on a daily basis. All Dmitry talks about these days is different optimizations, while Anton silently opens terminal and starts typing, while Elena is trying to land us a sponsorship or a partnership. And, of course, we are looking forward to bookmarklet, mass-editing, sorting, and lots of other features you requested.

What does it mean for you?

The Old Reader is not even half-finished. But some day it will be.

What does it mean for all of us? 

As we promised earlier, along with other tasks we are going to start working on an iOS app. Yes, it’s a big deal for us.

Last month was not the best for our team in terms of our project: one of us changed jobs, some of us changed countries and all three of us are now unable to spend evenings and weekends coding, tweaking, fixing, writing emails, resolving issues, and generally having the best experience that friends can have: creating something together. But we will continue doing everything we can to bring The Old Reader to the new level.

We thank all our users for your interest, kind words, critique, suggestions, patience, and new challenges you give us. And thanks to our old and new friends for using The Old Reader to read, curate, and share the best content ever. Keep on going and we will keep on working. 

P.S. We knew that Elena can cry while reading emails and replies in Twitter, we witnessed her doing that multiple times during last few days, but apparently she is also able to write a post and cry at the same time. Hardcore multitasking.

3 notes
#milestone #theoldreader #5000 #news #reader #rss #wow

August 2012

1 post

First public release

Also known as Milestone 2.0 in our internal discussions. We closed 51 tickets in our tracking system and dedicated five weeks to designing, implementing and deploying a lot of key-features. Most notable for our users are: 

New identity and slick interface design

We teamed up with bright and talented Igor Kosyrev to create a completely different image of our project. Our logo, interface, twitter and blog already look brand new, however we will be additionally fine-tuning the interface during next several weeks.

Pocket integration

We replaced ‘Star’ button with a ‘Pocket’ button to store everything you want in your Pocket (ex Read It Later) account. Their app was made for it and it gives lots of organizing options.

Browser extensions

We created small Safari and Chrome browser extensions to notify you on new things to read.

Enhanced hotkeys and list view

Full list of hotkeys:

  • 'j' and 'k' (space and shift + space) to navigate posts;
  • 'o' opens the post in a new window;
  • 's' to share a post;
  • 'l' to mark it as liked.

Navigating through list view will open next post and close previous automatically.

We are concentrating on Bookmarklet, mobile versions, mass-editing features and everything we mentioned here for now.

Thank you and stay tuned.

2 notes
#news #about #reader #improvements

July 2012

1 post

Milestone 1.5

(The Old Reader team, finishing a milestone on a Saturday night)

This is another happy announcement — we closed milestone 1.5, which means that The Old Reader now has the following features up and running:

  • List view;
  • Folders view (with counters);
  • New landing page and a privacy policy;
  • Facebook approval for timeline sharing;
  • Better performance: optimized tables, revamped feeds fetching, some operations running on the background;
  • Atom feeds bug fixed;
  • Tiny userpics;
  • Resharing your friends posts.

Things we are currently working on:

  • New (but still simple) design and style;
  • Mass-editing of RSS feeds;
  • Bookmarklet;
  • More sharing options;
  • Search filters;
  • Post tagging;
  • Read It Later (Pocket) integration;
  • Brushed up mobile versions.

We have also added one more server and are happy with the project so far — it is something we have done from scratch by ourselves (with friends’ help) and now new tasks, things to manage, bugs to deal with, user feedback to consider and milestones to reach are getting are more and more challenging and interesting. We now have to deal with with scalability, performance optimization and interface issues and we are excited about that.

Thank you for being with us.

#news #theoldreader #reader #In Progress #improvements

June 2012

3 posts


(artwork by dimic77)

Even before going beta, we had already been working on improvements and enhancements for the future. We read and considered every bit of your feedback, so here are some major things our small team is now working on:

  • Folder view (clicking on a folder shows posts from all feeds that folder contains) — done!; 
  • List view for RSS feeds;
  • Bookmarklet to share almost everything;
  • More keyboard shortcuts.

We understand that these things are important part of The Old Reader’s experience, so we are keen to deliver them as soon as possible.

Thank you for your feedback and patience. We appreciate you keeping in mind that we are a small group of friends teamed up on this project, not a Google department (though we sometimes wish we were).

P.S. We are happy to announce that fourth person has joined us in this development adventure: meet an old friend, Mykola Bugaiov, 24, RoR Developer currently living in Germany. 

#news #improvements
Thank you note

Today  The Old Reader’s beta version became public and our team is happy with all the support and feedback so far, please keep ‘em coming.

I want to thank my friends for inspiring, helping and motivating me, so I never gave up on something I liked. I want to thank Dmitriy Krasnoukhov & Anton Tolchanov for making it happen and being incredibly patient while doing so.

I want to thank everyone who responded to my numerous letters and helped us along these eight weeks and personally Igor Safonov for logo lettering and UI improvements, Danil Mekhanoshin and Sergey Tomilov for UI analysis and fixes, Dasha Mingalieva for icon, Kseniya Ryzhkova for priceless guidelines and advices on communication, Natasha Rostovtseva for insightful questions and comments, Anna Gorodetskaya for a professional view on social media issues, Anton Outkine for agreeing to take care of some future layouts, Nata Pokrovskaya for being an attentive OCD beta-tester, Anna Zabolotnaya for encouragement and my sharebros for incredibly detailed useful feedback and kind words. 

I could go on and on with the list, you guys are awesome, thank you for every new user, mention, tweet, feature request and bug report. We already have a new milestone and some serious improvements to deliver.

Thank you all very much,

Elena Bulygina (The Old Reader’s team)

#reader #improvements #beta #theoldreader
Majority report

Pic of the day: it’s Friday night! Project manager watches from her laptop as front end / back end developer is deploying final version. 

Awesome drag-n-drop controls — check. (we also offer keyboard shortcuts)

Bug fixes — check.

Folders collapsing — check.

Logo and favicon — check. (try making The Old Reader a web app on your iOS device)

Resolving all beta version issues — check!

Whoa, that’s a big happy check.

It means, we are ready to show The Old Reader to our friends.

#news #improvements #pic of the day #daily reader

May 2012

3 posts

Daily report

Pic of the day: our front end / back end developer and engineer, rewriting landing page.

What else we did today for The Old Reader (in no particular order):

  • Tweaked layout a bit;
  • Edited landing page;
  • Colored some buttons;
  • Migrated to a different server;
  • Received enormous pack of UI revision from some awesome guys (details later);
  • Broke following and comments features;
  • Fixed following and comments features;
  • Added four new issues and closed two existing;
  • Wrote several important letters;
  • Created an error 500 page with a kitten;
  • Changed about us page.

Unfortunately, after all this we launched The Old Reader in Firefox 3.0 and Internet Explorer 6.0 (both in Windows XP) and right now all we want to stop doing anything. Ever. And spend the rest of our days on a different planet.

#daily reader #improvements #news #in progress #pic of the day
#news #improvements

How we started? A part of our team loved the original old reader so much, she never missed a chance to whine about how good it was. Another part of our team was really patient to listen to all of that whining and was ready to start doing something right after another 1/3 of our team realized it was a really cool challenge and started coding.

We are nearly ready for a private beta (Share With Note and comments are being deployed right now). We missed the old reader and were tired of waiting for someone to do it so much, we created The Old Reader from scratch in five weeks.

P.S. Our cats, waiting for The Old Reader: