It’s actually been available for a week, but I’ve been waiting for Nick to announce it before I said anything ;)
So now that Nick has not only posted the announcement but uncovered one of the best new features, I wanted to explain why I’m so happy with this release. Much like a few of Nick’s other point releases, it was hailed as being good enough for a new major version during the beta. A quick look at the features Nick has highlighted should make that obvious, the full feature
/ fix list is in the readme.
The two big features for me are the Blue Vista newspaper style and the newspaper pagination. In one fell swoop, Nick has seriously alleviated a lot of the information overload that I often struggle with. FeedDemon has been improving that situation for a while now, but these two features fix a huge problem I have with the often-touted “river of news” paradigm.
As much fun as the river is, I often leave feeds unread for days which leaves more posts to look at than I have time. This meant that instead of skimming them all, I had to go through and click on each one as I read it – I couldn’t turn on the “mark as read when changing feeds” option or I’d miss the older stuff when I wanted to stop reading. Pagination gives me the best of both worlds, and vastly improves the speed of each page load to boot.
Blue Vista on the other hand takes the expando newspaper which has been around for a year and shows a summary for each post using FeedDemon’s built-in “show post summaries” option. I never used summaries before, because it meant viewing the full post required fully opening it which interrupted the flow of the page. And I gave up on expando pretty quickly because post titles aren’t usually enough to tell me if I want to read the post or not.
The result of all this is that I can quickly skim 10 post summaries at a time (the default pagination size), expanding the ones that look interesting and then use ctrl+d (or the hidden toolbar button) to mark that chunk as read and move to the next page. You can even do all of this with keyboard shortcuts :)
The final thing that I must mention is a new ability to synchronise the “flag for later” state of posts. This should be the most fantastic feature since synchronisation was first introduced, unfortunately the whole sync feature is a bit crippled at the moment because Newsgator will only sync the posts currently in the feed. For low traffic feeds this is fine, but geeks like me subscribe to high-traffic feeds rendering the sync close to useless for half of my subscriptions.
Fortunately Nick has promised me that a fix is in the works for that, which I’m really looking forward to. It’s a serious hole in the feature, but once it’s plugged FeedDemon will become the true competitor to online RSS readers that Nick has been trying to achieve.