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Hi. All my current writing is over at Audacious Fox, and I'd love to show you around. Thanks for reading.

Reeder 2 for Mac Beta

I’ve been a long-time fan of Silvio Rizzi’s Reeder 2 for iOS. Reeder is an excellent RSS client, and it remains my preferred way to consume news feeds on the go.

Earlier today, Rizzi announced a public beta of Reeder 2 for Mac. Anyone who wants to try the software before it is, presumably, sold on the Mac App Store can check it out here.

I’m pretty picky about the software I use to read news feeds with, particularly since I can go through hundreds of articles a day. My current setup is Balazs Varkonyi’s ReadKit, which I’ve been enjoying for the past couple months. Nevertheless, there’s nothing I like more than when my favorite apps get competition, and the Reeder 2 for Mac beta takes some big steps towards hijacking my current workflow.

If you’re familiar with the iOS client, you will feel right at home in the Mac beta. The animations, icons, and navigational hierarchy found in the iOS client have been lovingly carried over, and the Mac beta exhibits many design decisions that create a nice subdued-skeumorphism middle ground between iOS and OS X .

There are five built-in color schemes available. From left to right: Reeder, Dark Reeder, Light Reeder, Standard, and Dark White. Outside of each theme, there is not a lot of customization you can do (article display options are not available with this beta), but I found the standard Reeder theme to be perfectly fine for reading.

The most prominent influence from iOS comes in the Mac beta’s Preferences window. Look at the rounded toggle switches and list view. Surprisingly, iOS design conventions feel much more at home in an OS X app than I thought they would. As a growing number of consumers get an iPod, iPhone, and iPad as their first device, I wouldn’t be surprised to see future OS X interface elements borrow more heavily from their iOS counterparts.

Reeder currently supports Feedbin, Feedly, Feed Wrangler, and Fever as syncing protocols. It also supports local RSS, for those who don’t use any of the aforementioned services.

One of my favorite features in the Mac beta is the Minimized Layout view, which condenses everything down into a nice, clean layout.

When you click (or arrow over) to a story, the sidebar disappears, leaving nothing but a simple window for the text. A bar at the bottom of each article lets you click to the next story, but I prefer to use the arrow keys and keyboard shortcuts to navigate within the app.

At their smallest widths, Reeder 2 beta is 47% smaller than ReadKit, which is something I appreciate on my 13-inch Macbook Air. If you’re on an even smaller screen (11-inch Macbook Air or you want multiple windows open at the same time), Minimized Layout is a great way to save precious screen space without sacrificing functionality.

Overall, I’m impressed with this beta. I won’t be switching to Reeder full time, but I do plan to flip between it and ReadKit over the next week or so. It’s interesting to see the various iOS interface elements make their way into OS X, and, if Rizzi keeps them in future betas, this could become an important convention for developers to consider.

Friday, 11 April 2014