Trying something new
Well, hot damn!
execCommand is apparently coming soon, and that will be a huge, huge win for anyone who’s ever beaten their head against the wall trying to make
Anyway, Inquisitor rocks my world; it’s the way in-browser search ought to work. But what about NewsFire? I’ve seen some glowing praise from Jon Hicks, whose opinion I respect in all matters design, but can it live up to that standard?
Well. I’m not sure yet.
A few things did jump out at me immediately, and not in a good way:
- First thing when I fire it up, there’s a little bar at the bottom which asks me to register and gives me a place to type in the email address I used to buy it. That’s cool. But also upon launch, just as I’m starting to type in the address I registered with, it pops out a goddamn modal dialog asking me to register and won’t let me finish typing my address until I dismiss it. That’s bad and wrong and ugly and broken and a whole bunch of other negative adjectives.
- I don’t know enough about OPML to know whether NetNewsWire Lite should have exported my subscriptions as a set of groups. It looks like maybe the language can handle that, but maybe it can’t. OK, so I’ve got to create the groups and drag feeds into them; no biggie. Except there’s no way (that I could find) of selecting multiple feeds at once in the feed list pane, so I have to drag them one at a time. I’m still relatively new to Mac, but Command+Click seems to be the standard for this and NewsFire needs to support it.
- The default setting, apparently, is to bounce its icon in the Dock when it notices new items. Mail, which is usually much more deserving of my urgent attention, doesn’t even have an option for that. A lesson can be taken away from that fact: bouncing in the Dock for a new item is probably a bad idea. At the very least, this needs to be off by default.
- The Dock icon displays a little graphic with the number of unread items, just like Mail and NNW. Except its little graphic is a tiny white number in a tiny green circle. I’ll have to dig a bit to find research to support this, but I’m pretty sure the white-on-red used by all the other apps which do this is demonstrably more readable (especially since the green in question is a fairly light shade) and, besides, it breaks consistency with the other apps in my Dock (well, except for Adium, but Adium also needs to get its act together on this).
NewsFire isn’t without its nice points:
- The interface is gorgeous, even if it takes a little getting used to.
- The display of individual items feels cleaner than NNW’s, and I think it generally does a better job of conveying the different types of information it contains.
- The controls shown various contexts are quite a bit more logical than NNW’s, though some of them are made necessary by the different way NewsFire’s interface works.
- The interface as a whole is, as Jon Hicks pointed out, wonderfully pared down to the bare minimum, and does a great job of blending standard OS X controls, where appropriate, with custom stuff needed to do its job.
None just yet. I need to spend a week or two using NewsFire exclusively before I can really compare it to other readers I’ve used, and even if I end up ditching it my twenty dollars won’t have gone to waste because, hey, I got Inquisitor out of it, too.