Organize your feeds with the NetNewsWire app for Mac, iPhone, iPad

Derek Schauland finds that the free version of NetNewsWire works great for organizing his subscriptions on the Mac, but he's not too sure the price tag for the iPad is worth it.

There are many online aggregators or client applications you can use to manage your RSS feeds. For the Mac, I have been using NetNewsWire to manage my rather overwhelming collection of feeds. This post will look at some of the features of NetNewsWire and its accompanying iPad application.

How does it work?

NetNewsWire manages your subscriptions with an email-like style. Displaying the subscription list in the left pane, the items within the selected feed in the top portion of the right pane, and the feed details in the bottom of the right pane.

Figure A

NetNewsWire interface (click thumbnail to enlarge)

When you load the application, feeds you have subscribed to are updated with the latest posts. In the options for the application, you can specify how many items should be downloaded. Because many also use Google Reader to manage feeds, NetNewsWire syncs with your Google Reader account. At first I wasn't sure how this was a beneficial feature, however, being a user of many devices, I now see the benefit of using an intermediary like Google. Since Google does the aggregation of your feeds, the client software just has to connect to the service and download subscriptions.

Features I can't live without

One of the best features of NetNewsWire is offline reading. I tend to use the feed reader like a DVR for blogs. Because I can't always get time to read the blogs I am interested in, using Google and NetNewsWire allows me to catch up on feeds when I have time. Because the client downloads content, reading feeds without an Internet connection is a great thing.

Sometimes I find a blog post I want to share or read later, clipping these items to a folder is a great way to keep content that is interesting or might be of use at a later time.

Where to get NetNewsWire?

NewsGator offers NetNewsWire as well as RSS clients for Windows and iPad.

NetNewswire for the Mac and iPhone is free and ad supported, but the ads are out of the way and not at all intrusive.

Figure B

Ads in NetNewsWire

If you don't want any ads, you can purchase NetNewsWire for the Mac for $14.99. The no-ad iPhone version is $4.99. The iPad app is new, but there is no free version available.

On the iPad

NetNewsWire's iPad app, is not a bad app for getting your Google Reader feeds on the iPad. The interface is much like Mail: the feed list is a drop-down from the top of the application. Figure C shows NetNewsWire on the iPad.

Figure C

On the iPad

While I do like the application and how it displays the feeds, it is a bit steep at $10; perhaps if the price were half that for the application that was delivered it would be a better fit (The app has an introductory price of $9.99, but will go up to $14.99 in July, according to NetNewsWire site.). Because I use Google Reader regularly, I want to have access to it on all my devices, and NetNewsWire for iPad just doesn't seem to have enough bang for the cost.

The fact that NetNewsWire on the Mac is free and easy to use, makes it seem to me that the iPad app should be presented in the same way, simply because it offers less features than the full application.

Other RSS readers

NetNewsWire is a great choice for managing your blog reading habit on a Mac, but there are other options out there as well. Some of those include:

Bottom line

If you have more subscriptions to blogs and news than you can read in a day, NetNewsWire is a handy application. Not only has it helped me organize the feeds I read, but I have also found quite a few new feeds as well.

Do you use NetNewsWire to organize your RSS feeds or an alternative? Tell us about your favorite app for Mac, iPad, or iPhone.