If not, and you still browse through dozens of bookmarks and websites to find articles of interest, get an RSS reader instead. Here’s the story of one of the Mac’s first RSS reader apps, ready to rise from the ashes of obscurity.
Old Technology Reborn
I cut my RSS reader teeth on NetNewsWire early this century, circa 2002 (when it was owned by Ranchero Software), and before most websites even had an RSS feed.
If you’re new to RSS readers, let’s just say this is the way to scan and read dozens and dozens of websites without using bookmarks or clicking until the cows come home.
In internet years, RSS is rather old technology, but remains ubiquitous. Nearly every website of substance has an RSS feed you can subscribe to with a reader.
NetNewsWire was merely one of the first on the Mac, fell in a state of disrepair, but has risen again in recent years, and the latest version, beta and buggy it may be, foretells a longer life span.
This is the app that launched the genre of RSS readers we know and love. News feeds in the left Sidebar, headlines and summary in the center column, click and all the details from the RSS subscription show up in the main column.
Because you can subscribe to hundreds of website RSS feeds, NetNewsWire gives you a handful of features to make the effort easier, more efficient. For example, you can bookmark articles to be read later, share articles on Twitter, Facebook, or Instapaper.
Visual tabs make it easy to keep track of sites and articles while keeping many articles open and ready for reading at the same time. Did I mention distraction free reading? It’s all the rage in word processors, but fullscreen distraction free reading makes it easy to focus attention on just the content you want.
The latest version is a work in progress; promising, but not for the faint of heart. If stability is your desire, stick with the previous version of NetNewsWire. It’s good. It works.
At some point in the future NetNewsWire will have a price tag, and indications are it won’t be cheap. Already the Mac App Store has numerous capable competitors, all priced substantially less, some with similar feature sets. One of my favorites is NewsBar, though Vienna is free and quite good, and so are many others. RSS readers are in the middle of a renaissance of sorts, and that’s a good thing.