The Stream Blog

Announcing Winds 2.0 — an Electron App with Support for RSS & Podcasts

In late 2016, we announced the release of Winds, an open-source RSS reader built with ReactReduxSails, and Stream. The application was published on GitHub, accompanied by a fully hosted version on the GetStream.io domain. The project became so popular that GitHub Pull Requests to contribute to and improve it became a daily occurrence, and Winds soon became a repository with thousands of GitHub stars. What’s even more impressive, is that the showcase application also served a very important purpose; it drove hundreds of daily activated signups to our website.

What’s Next?

This year, we’ve decided to revisit the project and work on Winds 2.0, a completely new build of the application. We wanted to make a splash, again, and to do so, we needed something exciting. We’re excited to announce that we decided to introduce podcast discovery and playback support within the Winds application. Although the addition of podcast support may sound trivial, it’s actually quite a difficult task from both a design and development perspective. Combining two vastly different forms of content has proven to be an aesthetic challenge, as well. Thankfully, our Lead Designer has come up with a beautiful, unifying design.

The Development Stack

Given that we’re building an open-source application, it only makes sense to use open-source technologies. With Winds 2.0, we’re using a similar React / Redux stack, with one caveat; our team is building 2.0 with Express instead of Sails, and as a cross-platform desktop application with the help of GitHub’s wonderful Electron project.

There are many reasons as to why we have decided to go with a pure desktop version of the application (specifically Electron):

  1. The common use of JavaScript makes its migration to the desktop feel like a natural next step. Its API is 100% JavaScript! 👍
  2. With Electron, there is no need to write code for various browsers. Electron sits on top of Chromium, allowing us to write modern CSS without various vendor prefixes and additional bloat. 👨‍💻
  3. Easy to target multiple platforms with a single codebase (Mac, Windows, Linux). 🖥
  4. Electron is maintained by GitHub and has an active community. 👩‍🔧
  5. It’s awesome. 😎

When to Expect Winds 2.0

The project is under active development and we broke ground roughly two weeks ago. The scope of this build is far more complex than Winds 1.0, and therefore, it is going to take longer to build. However, we are anticipating a late November to early December launch (right about the same timeframe as our launch last year).

Final Thoughts

We’ll continue to blog and keep the community up to date on our progress, and are extremely excited that we are able to put out a second version of Winds. Should you have any questions about Winds 2.0, or if you are interested in hearing the specifics around what we are building, feel free to post in the comments below.

As always, we encourage you to check out GetStream.io, an API for building scalable news and activity feeds in a fraction of the time, for a fraction of the cost and development resources that it would normally take. We have a great 5-minute tutorial to help you get started on the Stream website.