Years ago before I bought my first Mac when blogs were just starting to be a thing on the internet I was facinated by all the new content that was appearing. I bookmarked any site I found interesting and then proceeded to methodically visit every site whenever I sat down at the computer to see if anything new had been posted. This was not a very efficient use of time but there was no better way to check for new content at the time. Some smart people recognized this way of searching for new content was a mess and invented the RSS content format and not long after that one of the first RSS readers was released NetNewsWire for the Mac. As a Windows user at the time I wanted an RSS reader as good as NetNewsWire.
When I eventually bought a PowerBook laptop one of the first things I bought was NetNewsWire and I have been using it practically every day since 2003. I have been a big fan of NNW for years and years. NNW was created and developed by Brent Simmons first as an indie developer then as part of NewsGator when it bought NNW. However NNW now has a new home, Brent left NewsGator to start a new company and before he left he conviced NewsGator to pass off NNW to a new company Black Pixel. I have used NNW as a client to Google Reader for years and while there have been some issues with syncing between NNW and Google Reader I guess it just never bothered me enough to even complain about it.
With NNW changing hands and the release of the Reeder RSS reader in the Mac store I decided to try something new. I have used the Reeder iOS app on my iPhone for a while but I don’t actually read RSS that much on my phone. I like the iPhone Reeder app better than the NNW iPhone app. The Mac OS version of Reeder is only $10 so I thought I would give it a try. So far I like it as a stripped down RSS reader. The UI is very attractive and it looks like it’s ready to be a part of the next Mac OS X version Lion already.
I do have a few quibbles so far with Reeder. Although it’s UI is very nice it’s pretty opaque the toolbar buttons have give you no textual reference as to what they do stand for. As someone who has so much ingrained muscle memory from having used NNW for so long getting used to a completely new set of keyboard shortcuts is a bit of a pain. Reeder also has a tendency to get a little hung up when I try and quickly select the next unread item when the current item is large or contains pictures or video. I know part of Reeder’s aesthetic is that the reading pane is styled very minimally but I miss NNW custom styles and I hope Reeder adds that capability in the future.
I will probably continue to use Reeder for the short term until I see what Black Pixel has in mind for the next version of NNW. For basic RSS reading I think Reeder is a pretty good application however I am hoping the next version of NNW continues it’s tradition of being one of the best applications on the Mac platform.