Superfeedr 2010

Superfeedr 2010

2010 has been a wonderful year for Superfeedr. The idea of a realtime web made tremendous progress even though I think people are still not fully realizing the benefit of having a smart web of interconnected islands, rather than having an archipelago where each website interacts with others in a very limited set of functionalities.


PubSubHubbub basically went from a very small set of implementers to a massive adoption, where all the blogging platforms support it : Worpdress, Typepad, Blogger on the legacy side, but also Tumblr, Posterous, Over-blog for the new wave. Additionally, a lot of social apps also implemented it, making it now possible to get very different types of content pushed to you and your applications. The community has done a tremendous work and they should be acknowledged as such. It’s also interesting to see initiatives like Diaspora embrace PubSubHubbub as well. It’s still mostly limited to feeds, which is great because it’s like a lingua-franca for any types of document, but I believe 2011 will see great progress of PubSubHubbub for APIs.
Superfeedr has been at the heart of the PubSubHubbub movement, and we’re proud that the idea of it alone made so much progress!

Superfeedr also continued its commitment to make the web developers lives easier : stop polling resources, just get them pushed to you. No need for you to deal with the format, namespaces and even encoding complexity. Superfeedr pushes clean ATOM or JSON, or arbitrary content, based on your need, always encoded in UTF8!

We also made it easier for developers to query us for past items, with our ‘cave’. It’s very important to show some content to your users when they start using your service. Unfortunately, when you subscribe to feeds, you have to wait for the data to show up. With our Cave, you can easily query Superfeedr to get the last items pushed your way.

Tracking keyword on the web has never been easier with superfeedr and we have a few more surprises to come very soon to make that even more impressive!

If you like streaming HTTP and Comet, we’re also ready to push you content thru these channels as we believe they will play a growing role in the near future. Browsers are smarter and app will eventually be much smarter too!

Of course, we faced a lot of challenges and we’re likely to face more (which is why we’re hiring) in the coming year, but I’m proud to say that we solved all the issues we had in a timely manner. We put Redis at the center of our datastores strategy and we’re not regretting it an instant. Of course, it’d be great that the long-time promised cluster arrived sooner than later, but Redis is a wonderful tool and we will likely use more of it next year.

The People

Superfeedr is a cloud service, but it’s also being built by actual people. First, Astro has done a lot of great work, sharing a lot of his knowledge and expertise in XMPP, Ruby and other fields. The web needs more Astros. Secondly, we’ve been able to assemble a dream team of investors and advisors and we’re barely harvesting the fruits of their help.

Finally, our customers have built or enabled great applications. To this day, I’m still amazed that the content I publish on my blogs shows up instantly in Google Reader. Now, when I read a story, I feel that the author is still behind is screen, proof reading his article one last time. It’s even more amazing when people interact at the minute I press “publish”. Getting push iPhone notifications is also an amazing reward and I will never cease to be excited about them.

The Money

Superfeedr is now profitable. We started charging back in July and, after a few improvments to our business model, we’re proud to say that we are now able to fund our growth, which brings a whole lot of new possibilities. As we have other products in the pipes, we also expect the coming months to be shiny on this front!

The Future

It’s no secret that we’re deeply convinced that the web is changing. It’s definitely more mobile, more pervasive (notifications everywhere) and will also be much smarter with the advent of more realtime technologies. The user interfaces are also evolving toward richer interfaces with changes appearing on the pages without reloading the pages. Superfeedr is at the crossroad, riding the growing wave.

On a less bright note, we’re obviously concerned by the growing power of closed platforms. We have the technology to federate the web and we need more good will from a few more actors to enable it. I don’t think Twitter and Facebook would lose anything if they allowed me to DM my sister from Twitter on Facebook. Foursquare would not lose anything if they let me build apps that are notified upon my checkins, rather than force me to waste my resources polling for outdated content. At Superfeedr we’ve been convinced from very early on that the web’s long tail is far greater than the few hits that we keep hearing about. In 2011, we will fight even more on the side of the open web army to break these walls.

I personally wish you a wonderful year, full of joy and happiness as well as success in all your venture.

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Previously, on the Superfeedr blog: Ruby 1.9.2.