inessential by Brent Simmons

Embedded browser in NetNewsWire 1.1?

We’re starting to think about what new features will appear in NetNewsWire 1.1. There are lots of good ideas—some of which appear on the feature ideas page.

One of the things we’re thinking about is embedded browsing. The idea is pretty simple: click on a link in NetNewsWire, and the page opens right there rather than in your web browser.

It would be optional, of course, and probably turned off by default.

There has been a really excellent debate about this on the testing list. People mostly seem to be against it. Which is fine by me—I’d rather work on things like synching and persistence and so on than on this particular feature.

However, some people are in favor of this feature. And it may be that this is just one of the standard features of RSS newsreaders.

Screen shots

Check out the Windows newsreader named Beaver—click on the Main Window screen shot (in the left-side column). (It gives me a 403 if I link to it directly.)

And here’s a screen shot of a quick demo I did for NetNewsWire. Note that there would have to be some more UI (a back button and so on), but otherwise the screen shots are very similar.

Should we do this feature?

Beaver isn’t the only newsreader with this feature. A case can be made that it’s a checklist feature, that we pretty much have to do it.

But, aside from that, and more importantly—do you want this feature? If so, do you want it before synching, persistence, flagged news items, Atom support, more scriptability, Rendezvous, etc. etc.?

To help out the discussion a little bit, I did a special build that has embedded browsing. It doesn’t have the full UI needed, but if you click on a link it opens in place. (I used this build to make the screen shot above.) This is not meant for everyday use, but if you’d like to try it, you can download NetNewsWire 1.1d1. This is for thrill-seekers only, it’s meant as a quick demo only.

So—what are your thoughts? Post a comment here or send me email. Thanks!