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An interview with Read it Later Developer Nate Weiner

Following my Read it Later review a few days ago, I wanted to know who was behind this amazing idea. Nate Weiner from Idea Shower, was kind enough to share some thoughts with MacStories.

Here’s our interview.

How did you first think of creating Read it Later?

A few years ago I was working for a small web design firm here in Minneapolis. During the work day I would periodically come across articles or tutorials I wanted to read but couldn’t on the job.  My process at the time was simply to email them to myself.

It didn’t work.  I never read them. So I decided to build something better.

Was it hard to develop Read it Later extension for Firefox?

To my suprise: not at all!  I started work on read it later the same day I did my first firefox extension tutorial. The first version was finished in a weekend. It seems intimidating but if you can make a webpage, you can make a firefox extension.

Plus these days it’s 100x easier. The guys at AMO have done a lot of work at providing better documentation and the new Jetpack in Labs is a crazy fast way to build an addon.

Have you ever thought of a Win / Mac desktop app?

It’s crossed my mind but I think an app in firefox these days is just as good as any native desktop app.  But this is also why I opened up the full RIL API this week: I know there are others who can do it better.

Tell us something about the iPhone version.

It’s been rebuilt and recoded 3 times in the 3 months it’s been out.

I have been hard to satisfy :)

What do you think of the AppStore?

I think like most developers it’s a love hate relationship. When you rest a solid chunk of your business on it you want it to be perfect all the time. It has it’s flaws but let’s be honest, no other platform is even close right now.  It’s a fantastic platform and it’s been a lot of fun to work on.

I think the number one improvement Apple could make is the simplist one: respect.

Developers deserve more.  More contact, more response. Almost every email goes unresponded to and that’s incredibly frustrating.

I think a post (I don’t know the poster’s name) in the development forum said it best: “I can go into an apple store and have lavish attention from an employee just to buy a $300 iPod, but as a developer making Apple thousands of dollars, I can’t even get an email back.”

Are you planning some big updates / changes for Read it Later in the near future (besides 1.3 version) ?

Well the biggest update just came this week. I opened up the full RIL API so that anyone can build a RIL app for any platform. I’m really excited to see what people come up with.

For the future, the next big step will be RIL for Firefox 2.0. I want to bring all of the new features from the iPhone to the Firefox addon.

Which apps do you use most on your iPhone ?

If there was a way to see the total time spent in each app, sadly I think Light Bike would win. I have no idea why but I could not get enough of that game haha.

My other favorites are Pandora and Runkeeper. I still like using a couple of different Twitter clients but I have been using Twittelator Pro for it’s RIL integration.

Feel free to say something to MacStories readers :)

Keep thinking.

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