If you like living on the bleeding edge, you should join the NewsBlur iOS beta program. You’ll get access to the latest releases a few weeks before they go out publicly.
All you need to do is add your email address to this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1XSerwoY-PEJ7JfglNr0zOKpsoMXqplSomdORSDsZ3_g/viewform?usp=send_form
You might be wondering why this is a bit different than the older method used in the past. The old beta program used an enterprise distribution provision profile, which was available as a workaround to install apps on devices without having to go through the App Store. Unfortunately that program has ended and Apple now recommends using their new TestFlight beta program.
In order to use TestFlight, email addresses of interested beta testers need to be collected. But the benefit is that you can now easily move between beta and release versions. You will also automatically upgrade to the release version when it comes out. You can also give feedback in a more accurate way, with your device and OS version automatically added to anything you write as feedback.
So if you want to try out the latest betas, specifically for iOS 9 and a whole bundle of new features, then add your email to that list and watch your inbox. It can take up to a couple days for these emails to be imported, so be patient.
Here we are today with version 4.5.0 of the NewsBlur Android App. This is a great release because we took our time to update and improve a number of things about the app.
The app now has the common header shared between all of NewsBlur’s first-class clients (web, iOS, and Android).
Here’s the full changelog for version 4.5.0 (October 2015):
- Reduced CPU and battery usage
- New activities/interactions list
- Updated feed list UI
- Explainers for empty lists
- Support for more types of alt/title text on images
- Better error messaging
- Tons of bug fixes, especially around offline usage
What would an RSS news reader be without its own RSS feeds? It’s be a pretty lonely reader is what.
NewsBlur now supports RSS feeds for each of your folders. Just right-click on the folder, go to Folder Settings, and behold:
These folders keep track of sites you add and remove from them. They also allow you to filter out stories you don’t want to read or even choose to only show the stories you have in focus.
All of your feed subscriptions in the folder, including subfolders, are merged into a single river of news in RSS format. Technically we use Atom 1.0 format for NewsBlur’s many RSS feeds, but I’m not choosing a side here.
The Folder RSS feeds join the Shared Stories RSS feeds and the Saved Story Tag RSS feeds that you can already use if you are a premium subscriber.
Today I’d like to announce the release of version 4.3.0 of the official NewsBlur Android app. Lots of goodies, bug fixes, speed ups, and more.
The best new feature on the app is the new Read Stories feed. Take a look.
Here’s what’s new in version 4.3.0:
- New Read Stories feed
- New comment-less shares
- Memory use reduction
- Modern http library for improved connection handling and reduced timeouts
- Many bugfixes around sharing, commenting, and replying to stories
- Fixed unread search order
The Android app just keeps getting better! Not bad for a minor point release.
Used to be that a friend shares a story without commenting on it and you’d be out of luck in trying to reply or thank them for sharing it.
Not anymore! Comment-less shares now have the ability to be replied to and favorited. Take a look at this recent story on The People Have Spoken.
These new comments are immediately available on the web and will be coming to iOS and Android shortly.
YouTube, owned by Google, deprecated their v2 APIs on April 20th, 2015, which means that RSS news readers can no longer watch for new videos. What a bummer!
Except it’s not at all a big deal because here at NewsBlur we’re making sure that your videos keep coming in. Previously enterprising users setup hacks and workarounds for the API, which was a somewhat tedious solution as you had to update each feed and prone to breaking in the future.
But there’s good news today because NewsBlur now has a custom-built solution for YouTube videos. All of your existing YouTube RSS feeds are automatically ported over to the new YouTube video fetcher.
And that’s not all. The improved YouTube video fetcher now displays a big embedded video so you can watch the video right in NewsBlur.
To subscribe to new YouTube channels, just enter in the URL of the channel in the Add Site popover.
When Google takes away your tools, NewsBlur builds them better than before.
There are currently three ways to read stories on NewsBlur:
- List view: every story is a single line and read inline
- Split view: two panes of stories, one for story titles and the other for story content
- Full view: every story is fully expanded and ready for reading
Each of these views has its own benefits and drawbacks, and each of these views can be further customized. The Split view, for instance, can place story titles on top, below, or to the left of the story content. The Full view can auto-truncate stories so that you only see a couple paragraphs at a time so long stories don’t overwhelm you.
Today I’m launching a new view: the Grid view.
The Grid view is half-way between the Full view and the List view. It provides big previews of the images from a story as well as several lines of content. It’s not as overwhelming as the Full view and it doesn’t force every story on a single line.
You can also customize the Grid view to only show as many stories per line as you like.
Choose between 1, 2, 3, or 4 stories per line, or stick with automatically scaling the number of stories based on how wide your browser is.
The Grid view is perfect for sites and folders that contain a lot of images. And because you can now preview a larger part of the story, it makes sense to add a new preference that allows you to mark stories as read as you scroll without having to open up the story.
However, the Grid view is not perfect for all feeds. That’s why I’m introducing another big change today. The four views are now saved on a per-feed and per-folder basis. You can choose a default layout in Preferences, but each feed/folder overrides that preference.
This can become a bit complicated if you have a lot of overrides and want to instead just reset all of your layouts. So you can now reset both layouts and views for all feeds and folders right from the Preferences dialog.
I hope you enjoy this new story layout. And as always, tell your friends about NewsBlur. World of mouth is killer and it’s how NewsBlur is able to be a success.
The beauty of NewsBlur is that you can start off with only a handful of subscriptions and naturally work your way up. This is actually the reason that free accounts cut off at 64 sites. When I started building NewsBlur in 2009 I only subscribed to 42 sites. Nowadays it’s closer to 200 sites.
Because NewsBlur makes it so easy to pare down individual stories with the intelligence trainer, you can follow more blogs without feeling overwhelmed. But that also leads to oversubscribing to sites that just don’t publish anymore. Or even subscribing to sites that publish too often.
Launching today is the Organizer. This organizer helps you identify sites that may be posting too much or too little and then gives you the power to move and delete them all at once. Sure, you can do this one-by-one, but that takes time, and only in the new Organizer is everything right in front of you.
You can sort sites, both in and out of your folders, with the following orders:
- By name
- By number of subscribers
- By frequency of updates (stories per day)
- By last story posted
- By the number of times you’ve opened the site
You can multi-select sites and move/delete them in one single batch edit. You can even move a bunch of sites to a new folder that you can create right in the Organizer. This makes moving sites around so much easier. You can even click on the folder title to select every site underneath that folder.
Try out the new Organizer and let me know how it works. And go hog wild because you will be emailed a backup of your sites after you move or delete anything. You will only be emailed a backup a max of once per day, as to not overwhelm you when you’re making a bunch of edits.
This month’s new iOS features are big, big features. Search made it on the web only a few months ago and is now available on the iOS app. You can also now easily add tags to saved stories, making it easier to organize and save stories you read for re-reading later.
Here’s the full list of new features:
- Search feeds and folders.
- Fixing rotation issues so you can watch a video and rotate without losing position.
- Saved story tagging: add and remove tags with a handy tagging popover.
- Native controls for sending a story to other services (mail, safari, chrome, evernote, instapaper, etc).
- Progress bar for the Story view when loading a story using the in-app browser.
- Further UI cleanups and memory fixes/speedups for iOS 8.
It’s a free download from the App Store. And if you are enjoying the app, please leave a 5 star review on the App Store. Every positive review, tweet, and share on Facebook helps.
This is a huge release for the NewsBlur Android app. So much has happened in the last six months. We’ve had a big backend rewrite that makes the app feel like new. It’s faster, which is necessary to make the new offline reading feature really shine. Now you can read on your Android phone or tablet while on the train, underground, or just in airplane mode to save battery.
Better yet, not only can you read while offline, but you can better read at night with the new dark theme. Take a look.
Here’s what’s new in version 4.0:
- Offline reading and story syncing. Stories read while offline will sync as soon as you’re back online.
- Option to also store images from stories for offline reading. They do take space, though.
- A dark theme for reading at night.
- The Text mode can be set to automatically fetch, so you can get to the full text quicker.
- An option to mark stories newer than a story as read.
- Major backend improvements for faster story loading and transitions. This app should feel like new.
The NewsBlur Android app is a free download. And as always, there’s more big ticket features coming soon for Android.
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