"How small and neat and comically serious the other men looked, with their grey-flecked crew cuts and their button-down collars and their brisk little hurrying feet!" Richard Yates
Fortunately, we're not talking about shirts and collars here. Buttondown is a serious piece of software, written by a talented developer, who clearly has a sense of humor. His name is Justin Duke.
I do not dare to tell how long I have been looking for a reliable newsletter and rss system. Not only reliable, but open source too. Buttondown is V.O.S! ( very open source) While I was searching for a solution, I developed an allergy for the word "Freemium", a clever trick most companies in this field use: "give us your credit card and you can start right away for free! Only after reaching 50 subscribers or 100 newsletters will you start being billed."
There was one possible alternative to Buttondown...Freelists... a project started in 2000 (!) with a great philosophy. Freelists has no rss offering, I think, but the same subscription can be used for newsletters and for a discussion group. Unfortunately, I was unable to register, tried many times. The automatic answer was something like "If you can repeat this problem, send a complaint." I did, never received a reply. A pity, it looked so promising. This lack of communication is in sharp contrast to the way Justin Duke treats his 'customers'
At first , when I started this website, I did not plan to add a newsletter or RSS. I had strong opinions: "RSS is dead" and "Who needs a newsletter , when you can read the same content online, in the blog". Listening to people and reading some more, I can now see there is a need for RSS and newsletters. Many people are addicted to the effficiency of using a newsreader and others want an article delivered in their inbox, as it feels the article has then arrived in their home. Both groups do not like having to surf around, to follow their interests. That is something I now fully understand.
The basic Buttondown setup is very simple, both for the site owner (me) as for the subscriber (you, hopefully!) However, there are many less important details to set up and -knowing myself- it could take some days/weeks before it all runs smoothly...One of the things I couldn't realize so far is adding a custom style to the newsletter. The default CSS is truly nice, but I had hoped to mimic the blog posts.
Now, who dares to push this button and discover Buttondown?