It is a match made in heaven really.  The best native Mac feed reader (no offense Vienna, Safari, Mail.app) has always been NetNewsWire.  Their online component, NewsGator, has always been a little lacking behind Google Reader, however.  That was then, this is now. 

NetNewsWire 3.2Beta now syncs your NetNewsWire feeds through the Google Reader engine allowing you great offline access that is tied directly to your Google account (for sharing feeds with your friends, etc – – if you are into that sort of thing).

The 3.2Beta version updates many of the features, like Twitter integration, that will be implemented in a forthcoming 4.0 version of the software which should hit the streets later this year. 

You can always pick up the 9to5mac.com feed here and the 9to5mac.com/Toys feed here.  Screenshots and more info below…

The main point of 3.2

This is supposed to be a minor upgrade. And it is, largely — though Google Reader syncing is a pretty big feature.

The main point of 3.2 is as transition to 4.0, already in progress, which will be a major upgrade.

NetNewsWire 3.2 upgrades some of the data storage to 4.0-format. (Some, not all.) A bunch of the code has been modernized, and as a result it now requires OS X 10.5 (Leopard).

And it removes some features, in order to clear some of the slate for 4.0.

Features removed

A bunch of small items are gone that most people will never notice. Some larger features are also gone:

  • NewsGator syncing
  • DotMac/FTP syncing

Here’s the thing: I consider offering a range of syncing choices to be user-hostile. How does anyone know which to pick? And: how does the developer work on any cool new features when all his time is taken up with working on the various types of syncing?

It’s way better to offer just one, the one people are asking for, and make it good, and then start working on other cool stuff.

So that’s the deal: this release is all about getting to that one type of syncing, and 4.0 will be about the other cool stuff.

There’s a FAQ on the NewsGator website that talks more about NewsGator syncing and what’s happening.

Known bugs in Google Reader syncing

The basics are in place, though there may be some bugs.

There are some things we know are incomplete or are still on the to-do list:

  • You can flag items and they show up as starred items in Google Reader, but the syncing of flagged/starred items is not complete.

  • You can’t share or “like” items yet, or view shared items (yours or your friends). Still on the to-do list.

  • You can’t import OPML at the moment, because it needs to be re-worked to work with Google Reader syncing. But you can import OPML via Google Reader, so you’re not totally stuck.

Clippings

They’re not gone — it just looks that way.

Since no feature of Google Reader maps exactly to clippings, I’m trying to figure out what to do with clippings. It could be one solution, it could be several.

(Note: as added precaution, NetNewsWire made an HTML backup of your clippings at [home folder]/Library/Application Support/NetNewsWire/ExportedClippings/.)

The Deck

NetNewsWire 3.2 also displays ads from The Deck. You’ve seen their ads on places like A List Apart and Daring Fireball.

(The ads are displayed in the lower-left corner of the application, where before we had the thumbnail/NewsGator-news feature. They’re not in-line; they’re not embedded in the articles.)

But we know, because people have told us, that they’d be willing to pay to remove the ads. We haven’t set that up yet, but we will.

The new app icon

The app icon is designed by RogueSheep. Their designer Brad Ellis, who created this icon, also designed their very cool iPhone app Postage, which won an Apple Design Award.

I totally love it. It’s modern. It’s not Just Another BlueGlobeyThing(tm) on the Dock. It’s still very much in the spirit of NetNewsWire, with the satellite and concentric rings and blue and gold-ish amber-ish bits.

Here is the evolution of NetNewsWire app icons: 1.x, 2.0 – 3.1.7, then the new one.

NetNewsWire 1.0 iconNetNewsWire 2.0 - 3.1.7 iconNetNewsWire 3.2 icon

How to help — how to report bugs

Look in the Help menu — there’s a new command: Report Bug or Feature Request.

Choose it, and a window opens where you can write up a bug report or feature request or other general feedback. Whatever you write gets emailed to me personally.

If I responded to all those emails, I wouldn’t be able to actually work on the software. (I’m so not joking — that’s the trade-off, very real.) I apologize in advance for not being able to respond to everything. But I read carefully and save everything.

To-do list

There’s a To-do list and Known Bugs page. You can get to it any time from the Help menu.

How to follow NetNewsWire development

Also in the Help menu is a new command: NetNewsWire Developer Blogs & Twitter.

It opens a web page which lists the various ways you can follow NetNewsWire development. That web page is here.

What about the iPhone version?

We’re working as quickly as we can on NetNewsWire 2.0 for iPhone. It also will sync with Google Reader.

It’s a complete rewrite, based on our upcoming TapLynx framework and on the code written for NetNewsWire 3.2 for Mac.

 

A few other small things:

  • There’s a new Open in Browser toolbar button. Do a Customize Toolbar to add it. (This has been an astoundingly common feature requests over the years.)

  • You can create Twitter search feeds easily. Choose File > New Special Subscription > Search Engine. Twitter is one of the choices in the popup menu.

  • You can also run a Twitter search via the browser address bar: type t some search word(s) and hit return. Or you can choose Twitter from the popup menu in the search bar in the toolbar.

 

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