Coda Confidential (The birth of RSD)

Coda Confidential: We had just recently finished Coda, and with one hour to fill and a lot of Coda-related things still swirling around my mind, I pretty much just started talking. What followed was a whole lot of hyper-warp thoughts about all things Panic. [So what caught my ear was the story of the first product they did which was an early version tracker which got shelved because they realized they’d either have to have access to “version tracker” or the like, or maintain their own database of latest versions.

This was kind of how RSD got started. I had a docs page which discussed the settings Archipelago (the blog editing software I had authored) needed for several of the major blogging platforms. As I was updating it for the millionth time with yet another engine I realized that I could write a document that Archipelago could use for setup, and the customer service emails (which is what caused me to update the page) would probably go away to a great degree. All I’d have to do is keep, say an XML file on my server up to date, and having done it once all Archipelago users could benefit.

Happy with the thought, I was dissatisfied with how this wouldn’t reduce the problem to near zero because while I had all the major cases covered, it would always be my problem to keep “database” up to date. I looked for an existing format so that I wouldn’t have to sell anyone on a format and found really dense hard to understand formats that were very general and didn’t seem to cleanly fit the use case. I floated a couple of versions past the indie developers I know, found some support initial support from two vendors I cared greatly about, and the rest as they say is history.

It was a nothing to lose story in that if I had received a big yawn, I could have hosted the file for my users, and they at least would have had a better experience most of the time. But this result was far better since everyone has benefited, and we all continue to benefit from the support of the blog engine folks.

Anyway, years later it comes as little surprise that a lot of software small and large have similar birthing stories…]
Source: Coda author