It was only a few months ago back in April that I launched the new font and style manager. Today I’m coming back to finish the job.

The style manager now has a new control for choosing the font size of feed titles and story titles.

Choose from extra small to extra large. These new font sizes not only give you extra customization, but they allow you to have bigger touch sizes for folks using touch screen monitors.

If you spot anywhere else that you’d like to see additional customization, please shout out to the @newsblur account on Twitter or post an idea on NewsBlur’s Get Satisfaction support site.

And please continue to talk about how much you use NewsBlur. Every tweet that talks positively about NewsBlur makes all of this work worthwhile.

Like it says on the tin, you can now go back and see what you’ve read with the Recently Read Stories feed. It’s on the bottom of your feed list, just above the saved stories.

This feed records all of the stories you’ve read in feeds, shared blurblogs, and even in feeds you’re not subscribed to. It does not record stories that are marked read as part of a mark all/previous as read action.

You can now temporarily turn off sites by going to Manage > Mute Sites. This is for those feeds you want to keep but ignore for a while.

I use this to mute craigslist feeds that I no longer want to see in my unread stories list, but I want to keep just in case I need to perform a specific craigslist search without having to go through the whole process of recreating the RSS feed.

It’s also useful for subscribing to high volume sites and only reading them when you want to know what’s happening but without having to remember to re-subscribe. Such a simple feature but with a ton of utility.

After launching Saved Story Tagging earlier this year, I realized that there is an inherent categorization to every saved story: the site. But instead of just allowing you to search by site, I created a new view that you can now use to see stories saved by site.

The neat thing about this new view is that it works for folders, too. If you click on a containing folder, you’ll see the saved stories from all of the sites inside that folder. And thanks to last month’s full text search, you can search all of these saved stories.

And you should expect that these features will eventually make their way to iOS and Android.

Last Summer Simple Search was launched, giving you the ability to search a single feed at a time. Obviously not ideal, but it was far less effort than the big enchilada: full text search across every site you subscribe to. It took a few months to come back to attack the full problem, but that means I could also take the time to do it right.

Full text search works just like the old simple search did. Open a folder or site and search at the top of the screen. Results come back instantly as you type. And this will automatically search in story titles, full text content, authors, and tags.

Because you’re searching for a story, hidden stories are also shown in the results, albeit with a red unread mark (as shown above). Also, in order to handle the demands of full text search, the first time you perform a search the system will index all of your feeds, which can take a couple minutes. It’s a one time process and you will see a progress bar that will update automatically when finished.

Since this was one of the most requested features since day one, I’m now looking to decide on the next big feature. There’s a few big ones to hit: an organizer that surfaces inactive feeds that no longer get read, a discovery platform that helps you find users, stories, and feeds related to what you like and what you may not even know you like yet, and porting many of these web-only features to Android and iOS.

This is not just any font and style manager. You now have control over font size, line spacing, story layout, and type faces directly in the reading view. This nifty popover gives you quick access to all of these customizable features.

The type faces come from Hoefler & Co. (née Hoefler & Frere-Jones) which is the premier web type foundry. It’s also one of the most expensive, but that’s where the incredible font quality comes from.

The four new fonts are:

Gotham Narrow

Sentinel

Whitney

Chronicle

These new fonts are available immediately for premium users. Another great reason to pay for NewsBlur.

It’s one thing to follow a handful of sites and use NewsBlur’s training to only read the stories you want to read. But sometimes you want to come back to stories long after you’ve read them. You could save the story, but then you would have to either scroll down your saved story list to find the story, or use the new search feature to find it by title or author.

Today I would like to introduce a big new feature: saved story tagging. It works like this. When you save a story, it is automatically tagged with all of the folders that the site is part of.

After the story is auto-tagged by folder, you can then add your own tags, which are autocompleted by previously used tags. You can also click a button to auto-tag the story with its own tags, easily clicking on the tags you want to remove.

You can also search per-tag and soon you will be able to rename and delete tags. There are more plans to integrate tagging into both iOS and Android apps.

Saved story tags also have RSS feeds. This is a big deal, since this allows you to save stories and have them automatically ingested by IFTTT for use elsewhere. You already could share stories over your blurblog, but now you have a private RSS feed that gives you far greater control.

Stay tuned because there are even more big features coming soon. Telling your friends about NewsBlur, whether on Twitter and Facebook or when spying over their shoulder and noticing that they’re hitting the same dozen sites over and over again without letting the sites come to them with new stories, goes a long way towards getting new features built. More users means more premiums which means more features getting built. It’s a vicious cycle.

A few small new features to get your first full week of the new year started off right.

Syntax highlight for source code

A common feature request has been automatic syntax highlighting in blog posts. This feature uses auto-detection to highlight code. For short snippets of code, this means that they could have inaccurate highlighting, although in testing it’s not so bad to have a few words in various colors. But for any substantial amount of code, you’ll have an easier time following along with syntax highlighting.

Video fitting

Videos from Youtube and Vimeo (and a few others) are now stretched to fit the window, resulting in bigger video previews.

Footnotes

Previously, if you clicked the little footnote reference1, you would be taken to a new window. The Feed view now smoothly scrolls you to the footnote, where you can then return back to the footnote. Easy!


  1. Like this. 

Here’s a few big improvements for the NewsBlur website.

  • The site title bar is now mounted to the bottom of the screen. This will allow you to mark a site/folder as read at any time.
  • Marking as read can go back a configurable amount: 1, 3, 7, and 14 days back.

  • If you’re reading in newest-first order, when you mark a site as read, any newer stories that have come in since you’ve loaded the site will no longer be marked as read.
  • When you add, move, or delete a site or folder, all of your open web browsers will reload to correctly show the change. This allows you to have NewsBlur open at home and at work, knowing they will be synced when you change or add sites.

You may be thinking to yourself, 1, 3, and 7 days back makes sense, but why 14 if the unread limit is at 14 days? Why, having 14 days as an option would only make sense if the full limit was… (stay tuned).

Search, which can easily be considered one of the most important features of a world-class news reader, is also one of the most difficult features to build.

While working on the feature, I came across a great method that allows searching through story titles, authors, and tags on a per-feed basis. It’s not perfect and it’s not the full feature, but this will get us 80% of the way there.

Also comes with a handy keyboard shortcut (and a refactored keyboard shortcut dialog).

You can also search your saved stories and shared stories. This feature will soon find it’s way to both Android and iOS, and is available today to all premium users.

Hot on the heels of the redesign launch, I’m already putting out new features. There are a number of post-redesign priorities on my list, but one of the most requested features is to customize the keyboard shortcuts.

After looking into the common refrain of customizable keyboard shortcuts, I identified the five keys that folks are talking about 99% of the time: the four arrow keys and the space bar. These keys can now be configured well beyond what you would expect.

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  • By default, the horizontal arrow keys control the view in which you are reading a site or folder. But there are a few keyboard shortcuts that allow you to temporarily read a story in the Text view (shift+enter) or the Story view (enter). So having other dedicated keys may not be necessary. And navigating between sites requires a two-key combination (shift+up and shift+down or shift+j and shift+k). You can now choose to make the left and right arrow keys navigate between sites.
  • The vertical arrow keys navigates between stories, but some users want them to scroll up and down by a small amount. You can customize exactly how much of a scroll distance you want to use.
  • The space bar, like the new up and down arrow keys, scrolls the page, but it does so by screen-load. So instead of scrolling by a set amount like the arrow keys, it works on a percentage of the screen. It’s a subtle difference that will allow you to more easily navigate the longer stories and the shorter stories with ease.

These features are only available to premium subscribers and I hope you like them. If you have additional customization suggestions, hop on the support forum and let me know.