• Three new features for the web: syntax highlighting for source code, adjustable video widths, and footnotes

    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.


    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!

    Like this. ↩︎

  • Faster parallel network requests for version 3.5 of the NewsBlur Android app

    The single biggest criticism I’ve heard of the Android app is that it can be slow when loading feeds and then loading stories. That changes today with the release of version 3.5 of the NewsBlur Android app.

    Here’s what’s new:

    • Completely rewritten parallel network stack
    • All network requests are now much, much faster
    • Bugs fixed when marking as read and saved

    And remember that only a month and a half ago, version 3.0 hit the Play Store and the Kindle Store with these great features:

    • New story traversal buttons make it easy to flip between stories.
    • New text view fetches and parses the story from the original site.
    • New logo.
    • Public comments are now be hidden in preferences.
    • Ability to unsave stories.

    There’s more coming to the NewsBlur Android app, now that it’s reached speed parity with the iOS app. Look forward to lots of updates, improvements, and new features.

  • Background updates and dynamic font sizing on the NewsBlur iOS app

    This week brings us a minor, but major, update for the NewsBlur iOS app. Several new features, some due to new APIs in iOS 7, have made it into the app.

    Here’s what’s new:

    • Background updates so NewsBlur can download stories while you sleep
    • Custom text sizes for feeds and stories
    • Dynamic text sizes based on your system preferences
    • The story title is now linked to the original story
    • New preference to use either the in-app browser, Safari, or Chrome
    • Major iPad fixes include better transitions, bugs squashed, and improved performance

    Coming up I have a big ticket feature that is just about ready to launch. Stay tuned for saved story tagging, which will also make its way into the Android and iOS app soon.

    Download the latest and free NewsBlur iOS app.

  • Version 3.0 of the NewsBlur Android App

    Hot on the heels of version 3.0 of the NewsBlur iOS app comes the next version of the Android app. A bunch of new features have made it into this release, including the new story navigation pane and the text view.

    Here’s what you can see today in the Android app:

    • New story traversal buttons make it easy to flip between stories.
    • New text view fetches and parses the story from the original site.
    • New logo.
    • Public comments are now be hidden in preferences.
    • Ability to unsave stories.
    • Numerous bugs squashed and crashes fixed.

    Thanks to our Android developer Daniel, the next version is already starting development, so shout out to @newsblur with your feedback and ideas for new features.

  • The NewsBlur iPhone and iPad app meets iOS 7

    Apple’s latest operating system for iOS is a departure from their old aesthetic. So I’ve decided to give the NewsBlur iOS app a slightly new look. But even more than how the app looks is how the app works. Tons of new features made it into this mega-release.

    • Entire interface has been redesigned for iOS 7.
    • Gestures galore: mark stories as read/unread, save stories, mark feeds as read, train feeds.
    • Long press a feed or folder to choose a mark as read date: 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, 14 days. Works offline, too!
    • Long press a story title to send it to a third-party read later service.
    • New view layout for iPad: move story titles to the bottom in portrait.
    • Significantly improved scrolling speeds on the feed list and story list.
    • You can now unread stories that were read while offline.
    • Faster marking of folders as read.
    • Fixed numerous bugs related to reading stories while offline.

    The iPad app also has a new view for extra-wide reading while in portrait orientation.

    I hope you enjoy this latest update. And stay tuned for the next update coming soon which will include even more iOS 7 features: Dynamic Text Size and Background Updates. The NewsBlur iOS app is and will always be free.

  • Offline reading with the NewsBlur iOS app

    Today I’m launching version 3.0 of the iPhone and iPad app for NewsBlur. This major update brings loads of big features that combine to make the world’s best iOS news reader with the fastest sync in town.

    • Offline support - stories and images are downloaded quickly and in parallel.
    • Syncing - read stories offline or with little connectivity.
    • Preferences - override global order/read filter settings, configure offline, and other options.
    • Send to - rewritten to include single-tap Instapaper/Readability/Pocket integration.
    • Saved and shared stories now show the proper icon.
    • Activities/interactions have been rewritten to be easier on the eyes.
    • A major performance improvement when returning to the app and when initially syncing.

    The biggest feature since this Spring’s redesign is finally here. As always, the iOS app is a free download.

  • Upping unread stories to 30 days for premium accounts

    While I love shipping new features and fixing bugs, the single largest user request was neither a feature nor a bug. NewsBlur allows for two weeks of unread stories. Once a story is more than 14 days old, it would no longer show up as unread. The justification for this was simple: you have a week to read a story, and have a second week as a grace period.

    But after scaling out to tens of thousands of users, a new pattern emerged. Some users would go on vacation for two weeks at a time and then want to catch up on everything they missed. Some users only check RSS once a month. Some users just want to leave lightly updated feeds alone until they have free time to read them, and that can take a few weeks to get to.

    Starting today, all premium users are automatically upgraded to 30 days of unread stories. Free standard users will remain at 14 days. I wish I could have offered the full 30 days to everybody, but after testing that out, my server and performance graphs all made a very scary movement up.

    With the new 30 day unread interval in place, NewsBlur has a great track record in listening to user feedback and working out a solution, however large the task may be.

  • Mark as read by number of days and other improvements

    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).

  • Simple Search for Feeds, Saved Stories, and Blurblogs

    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.

  • NewsBlur Puzzle T-shirt 2013

    Last year I was proud to be able to send a free t-shirt and handwritten note to every single user who requested one. It took a few days of writing, stuffing, and mailing to send out a couple hundred t-shirts.

    I’m pleased to announce that this year’s t-shirt is a puzzle with every single letter being part of a 4+ letter word. I’m using Teespring for fulfillment and order processing. While it’s not free, I am making absolutely zilch profit, so I can keep the t-shirt price to the absolute minimum.

    Impress your friends with your esoteric yet exquisite taste in t-shirts. But you’d better move quickly, you only have until July 31st, one week from now, to order the t-shirt. Order the 2013 NewsBlur t-shirt on Teespring.

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