NetNewsWire 4.0.2: For iPad and More

On October 13 we released NetNewsWire 4.0.1 for iOS, which brings NetNewsWire onto your iPad and into the world of universal apps.

Oh, and if you own an iPhone 6 Plus or 6S Plus, you get landscape mode too.

(4.0.1 was quickly replaced by 4.0.2 due to a serious issue with sync server authentication. You can read more about that here.)

Split View

As with most new features, the overarching idea was straightforward; but there are always unforeseen complications. The feature: a user sees the list of articles in the source pane, and reads full articles in the detail view.

We had to tackle questions like:

  • What happens if you do X and then rotate the device?
  • What happens if you invoke the style menu and then rotate the device?
  • What happens if you’re in a modal view and then rotate the device?
  • What happens if you’re viewing Settings in split view on an iPhone 6S Plus and then rotate the device so only one pane can show?

(The answer to that last question is, “It depends on how you got into the Settings view in the first place.” If you’re on an iPhone Plus device, you can try signing out of sync and then playing with the Cloud Sync and Settings buttons, rotating your device here or there.)

Our QA team were essential for finding all the ways rotation could disrupt the UI.

New Gestures

One of our devs, Rudy Richter, was irritated by how much effort it took to mark an article as read or exit an article when in fullscreen preview. He quickly knocked out swipe-back shortcuts for both cases. We didn’t want to override the iOS system gesture of swiping from the left edge to back out of a view (such as an article list back to the Sites list), so we left 20 points of distance for the system gesture to continue working as expected.

I had worked up a fancy animated microinteraction in Framer Studio to go along with the swipe-to-mark-read gesture, but after a few days of living with Richter’s version I realized I’d done unnecessary work. It feels just great as-is.

Sometimes the designer’s approach is right, and sometimes the engineer’s is. Real use is how you find out.

New Share Menu

Sharing articles is now handled via the iOS Share sheet. In some ways I preferred the previous UI which showed all available sharing services at once. However, now any app that provides a sharing extension that accepts URLs will work with NetNewsWire. If you were one of those asking for Pocket support in the app, you’ll be quite happy about this.

Import OPML

It’s now much easier to add sites to NetNewsWire from another app or service, so long as the app or service offers a way to export an OPML version of your sites. Save the file to a file sharing service like Dropbox or email it to yourself, and then invoke the Share sheet. You may have to select “Open In …” to see the NetNewsWire option.

Go Get It

NetNewsWire 4.0.2 is “just” a point update, but it’ll be a significant improvement for you if you own an iPad or iPhone 6 Plus. Even if you don’t, there are some nice quality-of-life touches that make the app more pleasant to use.

You can go grab the latest version right now.

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