inessential by Brent Simmons

NetNewsWire for iPhone progress

I’ve been working like crazy on updates to NetNewsWire for iPhone — but, unfortunately, updates aren’t being pushed to the App Store yet. I don’t know why, though I imagine it’s just that things are crazy in the early days.

I don’t know when updates will go out — wish I did.

In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been doing, and here’s the plan:

1. I’ve been fixing bugs and performance issues, and implementing some of the more obvious features. (Not done yet, but getting there.)

Some of the obvious features include things like email-link, choose-clippings-folder, send-to-Twitterrific, mark-as-unread, and remove-feed-from-iPhone-location.

The plan is to finish this up — make stable and fleshed-out the app as it exists right now.

2. Then I’ll revisit the user interface. A number of people have asked for something like a Combined View, where you see excerpts of news items. A reasonable request, absolutely. But the plan is to shore things up in #1 first, then move on to this, once there’s a stable base with a more complete set of features.

Again, I have no idea when any updates will actually appear. But I have indeed been working as quickly as I can — I’ve been pretending to myself that you’re actually getting the updates. ;) (Though not completely satisfying, the pretense fools me enough to keep me going.)

PS Here are my change notes since last Friday:


- Worked around feeds without titles -- pulls the title from the first words in the description. (Instapundit's feed, for instance.)

- Worked around feeds that forget to put an "http://" at the beginning of their home page link.

- Tightened up metadata display on news item view: categories now appear at the bottom. There's now a space rather than a line break before the author name.

- Performance: lots of parsing and processing happens in background threads now, so as not to block the main UI thread.

- Performance: at parse time, now ignoring any items published more than two weeks ago. This cuts down on the sheer amount of data the app has to manage, and it goes with the idea that the iPhone reader is for reading what's new. It's not meant to deal with an archive.

- Performance: at startup, deletes news items more than 2 weeks old. (See above for reason.)


- Small performance gain by not invalidating all unread counts every time a news item changes status. Just invaliding unread counts for affected feeds and folders.

- When you open a web page inline, it opens in a new view (it slides over, etc.) You can then go back to the news item view.

- Add to Clippings now works for web pages.

- The Next Unread button in the web page view moves you back to the news item view before showing the next unread.

- Settings are now in the main, rather than in NetNewsWire. The Account button is gone. (Note: you still enter username and password in the app the first time you run the app, of course. And you enter username and password in the app if there's an authentication error.)

- Doesn't always refresh/sync at startup -- only if the last refresh/sync was more than 5 minutes ago.

- Fixed a caching bug where new news items sometimes wouldn't get displayed.

- Now displays unread items only (and only feeds with unread items).

- Added a default screenshot so you get something besides black as the app is loading.


- Decreased the font size of the title in the news item view.

- If there's an authentication error contacting our sync server, it's reported and you can re-enter username and password.

- Bigger fonts for text fields in setup and options screens.

- Fixed a crashing bug due to a missing lock.

- Empties the favicon cache if app receives memory-low warning.

- After tapping Mark All as Unread, go back to Feeds view.

- Fixed a couple small memory leaks.

- Mark news item as read the moment the webview starts loading, rather than waiting until it has loaded (which may not happen if you're off-network).