It's feeding time . . .
What we do with syndication is really simple to explain:
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In the beginning, Mac OS X did not come with an RSS/Atom feed reader. Back in 2002, right after Apple introduced iCal, Subsume Technologies introduced an experimental service called wCal (view the whimsical wCal press release), allowing Mac users to view a limited number of website feeds right in iCal. In 2005, Apple shipped a version of Safari that included a feed reader, and work on wCal was abandoned.
Since then, the feed-to-calendar converter was largely forgotten by us. Even as we used and developed for iOS over the years, we were fine (for the most part) doing without a decent feed reader. Other feed readers did exist, of course, and we tried them all. They were of limited use because the apps had to be launched before they did anything, a limitation that was a slow, cumbersome, obtrusive hassle. They tried to make up for that by using whiz-bang graphics tricks, but that only made them slower!
Then Apple introduced the iPad, a device that was large enough to reasonably replace a desktop/laptop for most things. But the screen size didn't solve the problem with feeds not loading in the background, it only created an increasing frustration in us that no decent feed reader existed yet. Then some genius here finally remembered the work we did nearly a decade ago on wCal. A fair bit of hard work later, and calendaRSS was born.