Apr 2004

What’s coming in NetNewsWire

The next release of NetNewsWire is going to be a big upgrade, perhaps bigger than you were expecting. (And it will be a free upgrade.)

There are lots of new features. What follows is a partial list—I’m leaving some surprises.

(Also: NetNewsWire is in private testing. If you’re interested in helping test, please send me email. We have a great group, but there’s always room for more.)

Browsing in place

One of the most common feature requests we get is to be able to open links inside NetNewsWire, so you don’t have to jump out to your browser. This is there—and it’s an option, so you can still open links with your browser if you want.

We jazzed it up a bit and added tabbed browsing. (It even remembers your tabs between runs.)

Searching

Searching works as you would expect, with a standard search field in the toolbar. It searches as you type.

Persistence

There’s a setting for how long you want to keep news items. There’s a global setting, but you can also set it at the group level and for individual feeds.

Flagged items

You can mark items as flagged. They get a little flag icon, and there’s a special feed that shows all your flagged items. Flagged items are kept permanently (or until un-flagged).

Activity window

A new activity window lets you know exactly what’s happening in the current download session. You can cancel the entire download or cancel individual items.

At the same time, we’ve provided a much larger range of options for concurrent downloads, so that you can better tune NetNewsWire’s refresh speed.

Per-feed refresh settings

Some feeds you want to refresh often, but other feeds you want to refresh every four hours, or once a day, and so on. You can now set all this on a per-group and per-feed basis. Settings inherit, so you could set your Macintosh group to refresh every two hours, but then have some feeds inside that group that refresh more or less often.

You can also set feeds that don’t refresh at all. (This was a surprisingly common feature request—people want to save feeds sometimes but have them not refresh.)

Synching

People who use multiple computers will be able to synchronize their subscription lists and the read/flagged status of news items between two copies of NetNewsWire.

Smart feeds

There are two main approaches you can take—either filters (as in email apps) or smart feeds. We went with smart feeds. You can create smart feeds that show headlines from other feeds. It’s much like smart playlists in iTunes or smart groups in Xcode.

Scripted feeds

You can write AppleScript scripts or shell/Perl/Python/etc. scripts that return RSS or Atom. Scripts can take parameters or not. These scripts can do whatever scripts can do—I expect some people will write screens-scrapers, but you can also use them for things like watching a drop folder on your hard drive or monitoring log files and so on.

Search engine feeds

You can subscribe to searches at Blogdigger, Daypop, and Feedster. You just tell NetNewsWire what to search for and choose your search engine.

Feeds that haven’t updated

We get a lot of requests for different subscription management features—but the most common was to find out which feeds haven’t updated in a long time. You can now see all feeds that haven’t updated in n days (where n is a number you choose).

OPML subscriptions lists and groups

You can export your OPML subscription list with groups intact, and you can import OPML files with groups.

Atom feeds

It reads Atom feeds. If you’ve been using the Atom beta, note that we’ve fixed a bunch of bugs (most notably the bug where summaries-only feeds appeared as title-only feeds).

Surprises

I haven’t mentioned some little things (like favicons in the Sites Drawer, an Errors window)—but I’ve also left out a few big things. As I said above, if you’re interested in helping test, just send me email.

Vegas

Sheila and I got back last night from a four-day weekend in Las Vegas. We went with some family and friends, stayed at the Paris hotel, had a wonderful time.

Right before we left, we noted the announcement of PulpFiction. You know what? It looks pretty good.

Only a masochist craves competition—but quality competition is a sign of a healthy ecosystem.

At any rate, it’s probably a good idea if I talk more about what’s coming in the next release of NetNewsWire. Which I’ll do, in a follow-up post.

Bowie

Sheila and I saw David Bowie at the Key Arena last night. He was great, the band rocked—and Sheila and I both have “All the Young Dudes” stuck in our head.

Pure magic. Easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

The P-I has a review and photos.

Socializing at WWDC

Buzz Andersen proposes a weblogger get-together at WWDC. Good thinking. Count me in.

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