All the News That’s Fit to Feed

NewsMacThe reigning king of Macintosh XML news readers is NetNewsWire from Ranchero software. It really is a solid piece of software engineering, but I’ve been looking for something that will let me organize all the XML feeds I’ve been collecting in a more orderly fashion. A search on VersionTracker led me to NewsMac, which has lots of great features but has been riddled with a few nagging bugs in its latest incarnation. But the author has been really responsive with fixes and updates, and has even laid out a pretty detailed road map for the application (when’s the last time a shareware developer laid out a road map?). This level of support has, over the past few weeks, gradually won me over, and I’m pretty sure that I’m settling on NewsMac as my reader of choice now.



  1. I’m not trying to win you back to NetNewsWire, just trying to find out how I can make my software better…

    Question: What do you mean by organizing your XML feeds in a more orderly fashion? What features is NetNewsWire missing in this area? What about NewsMac allows for better organization?

  2. It’s a personal thing, but I like NewsMac’s high-level categories. They’re a bit didactic in that they are pre-ordained, but I like the custom icons, which serve as added visual cues for me when I’m browsing. I also like the Mac OS X Finder-like three column browser, and the way that the ‘collections’ — similar to iTunes’ Smart Playlists — integrate with that tripartite structure.

    To be honest, I had only discovered NetNewsWire’s ability to create groups (and nested groups) when my trial period had nearly run out. That’s partly my fault, of course, for not digging. But perhaps I could suggest that the feature could be more prominently displayed in future versions?

    Anyway, I tried not to disparage NNW in this post, as I honestly do think it’s an excellent piece of work.

  3. Brent,

    I’m brand new to news readers (after Khoi built my site with an XML feed I figured I should try them out) and have been using NetNewsWire lite for the past week.

    Well I’m addicted to news feeds now, but I also had no idea that I could organize items in a hierarchy in NetNewsWire. Like Khoi this is a bit my fault for not looking in the menu, but it’s actually a feature that I’ve really wanted in the back of my mind, and I was wondering why there was no button to add a new folder.

    Maybe a new folder button on the toolbar by default or a small plus button like in Safari bookmarks would help.

    … now back to work on my own app that has similar problems though few more of them. 🙂

  4. Thanks, folks, I appreciate the feedback.

    There is a new-folder button for the toolbar, but it’s not there by default. I think you’re right that it should be there by default, so people notice this feature sooner.

    About the two different styles of organization — columns-view vs. outline-view — I could consider making it an option in NetNewsWire, but I don’t plan to do the NewsMac thing where there are pre-defined folders. My preference is to let you create your own folders (using the Sites Drawer as a collection of hints if you want).

    But that’s not to run down NewsMac — in fact, I think it’s pretty cool. If I had never created NetNewsWire, there’s a good chance I’d be using NewsMac.

  5. Thanks for the tip on NewsMac. I’ve only just started using a news reader, and will probably try a few before I settle on one as my primary app.

Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.