Sunday, September 9, 2012

River of News

It is astounding how the simplest ideas are often the most difficult to get.

Good example: I have tried many RSS readers and article gathering apps, like Reeder, NetNewsWire, FlipBoard, Zite, etc etc. And while they each have their different charms, they all have the same idea: you see a list of headlines, presented somehow, and you then get the full article.

River of News is different. I haven't even tried it with the iPad in horizontal position yet, but in vertical position, it's brilliant: each article from the various sites you subscribe to is simply presented in a frame under each other, in a never-ending stream that you scroll through. No clicking and going back and forth.  I love it. Very readable.
You can do it either for each feed, or for the mixed unread articles.

Fonts can be adjusted, there are all the modern ways of sharing, and you can open an article in Safari (which is one thing you can't in Zite, which I otherwise like).

Ooooh: just one little detail is enough to make this app brilliant:
Long ago I wrote to Marco, maker of Instapaper: wouldn't it be possible to make it simpler to mail a link to an article (every time I want to blog one, I mail it to my computer from my iPad)? I have to go through half a dozen taps and selections every time... Well, River solved this: I made a gesture (two-finger tap) to mail a link, and I could set a default address to mail the link to, my own! So: one tap, and the mail is ready in a split-second, and I hit send! I love it!
Gawd, I wish all software was as brilliantly made as this.

[It should be said though, that it does not have a Search function, which NetNewsWire has. And it does not have groupings of sections like Zite.]


Xyzzy Magic said...

That looks like it was probably inspired by a feed-reader for Firefox called Sage -- it has a collapsible sidebar to move between feeds or groups of feeds, but otherwise it looked basically the same. (I used it all the time back when I used my laptop without a mouse or external monitor.)

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Could well be.
It does have a sidebar, when the iPad is horizontal.