Words in Boxes

Nouns, verbs, and occasionally adjectives.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordcycler 2.0 Released

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve released a new version of Wordcycler, the program for two-way Instapaper sync for Windows and your e-book reader. There is only one major change — now, instead of scraping the site, Wordcycler uses the offical Instapaper full API.

This means two things for current users:

  1. Wordcycler will be more reliable and future-proof. Since Wordcycler was nothing but a glorified site scraper, it has always been one minor Instapaper site upgrade away from being completely broken. We’ve been lucky so far, but it’s a bomb waiting to go off. The official API is guarranteed to keep working.

  2. To use Wordcycler, you must be an Instapaper subscriber. Only subscriber accounts have access the full API. It’s only $1 a month and helps keep Instapaper running, so I recommend you subscribe if you haven’t already.

I realize this is a trade-off, so if this is a deal-breaker you should not upgrade. But I will not be updating the 1.x versions of Wordcycler, so if Marco Arment changes the HTML and breaks Wordcycler, you will be on your own. Using the full API is the right thing to do, if only just to be a good Instapaper citizen.

The Future of Wordcycler

The fact is, I don’t use Wordcycler myself much anymore. I own a Mac now, and I do most of my Instapaper reading on my iPhone. Wordcycler is not a money-making project, so my time and attention has been spent on my day job, my personal life, and other projects – the usual reasons. Wordcycler 2.0 has been sitting on my drive half-finished for about six months, but I wanted to finish it up to leave things in a good spot.

So that’s a long way of saying that this could be the last release of Wordcycler. It’s been a fun ride, and it’s been very gratifying to see so many people get use out of it. But it’s time to stop kidding myself that I have the time to maintain it, especially now that I’m no longer an active user myself. I’m exploring the possibility of open-sourcing Wordcycler, but no promises yet.

I'm James Sulak, a software developer in Houston, Texas.

You can also find me on Twitter, or if you're curious, on my old-fashioned home page. If you want to contact me directly, you can e-mail comments@wordsinboxes.com.