NetNewsWire: A Review


NewsGator has released a Beta update (3.2b6) of NetNewsWire, which is their Mac syndication feed reader. I’ve used NetNewsWire for over a year, and before that I used their FeedDemon syndication reader on Windows. I’ve been very happy with their readers, so when I received the notice of the new version + impending change to their synchronization service, I immediately upgraded.

Here is a snap review.

The UI is unchanged and there are no new features. Q: What new development has Newsgator done with their syndication readers? A: Nothing.

The only change is that it now syncs with Google syndication reader, because they’re nuking their NewsGator Online syndication service. Essentially, it’s now just a front-end to Google Reader. A front-end with a dated UI.

As an extra bonus, it nuked 3/4 of my subscriptions. By, “nuke,” I mean that they flat-out disappeared. Gone. Pffffffffffffft. That’s 3/4 of the subscriptions I have lovingly built up over the years. Thank you, that was swell.

I can easily confuse it by creating folder names containing commas.

I know this is a Beta, but come on.

I’m looking for recommendations for alternative RSS readers. I don’t like web-based readers; I prefer a local application. Any suggestions?

——
Update 7/30/09: The NetNewsWire Beta blog has a to-do list for version 3.2. It lists things that don’t work because Google Reader doesn’t support them. Like nested folders, and folders with names containing “certain characters.” The 3.2b6 Beta deletes them with no warning. Brilliant.

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9 comments
  1. Thanks for the warnings. I’ve got quite a library of feeds built up in NetNewsWire and it would be a pain to rebuild them if they disappeared. No nested folders?!

    I’ll look forward to what others might recommend before making any switch. For although the UI hasn’t been updated for a while, the NetNewsWire layout is still ideal for managing long lists of feeds.

    NetNewsWire has always synced really well with my iPod Touch. Any news on how well the iPod/iPhone syncing now works using Google Reader?

    • Just a follow-up that with all the most recent versions of NetNewsWire for Mac and iPhone I haven’t had any problems at all. My nested folders stayed intact when updating, and syncing has thankfully been working just fine.

  2. John said:

    @Andy Johnson: I narrowed down the NetNewsWire replacement candidates to Shrook and Vienna. I went with Vienna.

    Vienna’s UI and features are more polished than NetNewsWire’s, and it’s open-source. It supports nested folders. However, one missing feature is synchronization, which is on the wish-list. I don’t need it now, so I didn’t care.

    Shrook syncs with shrook.com for $20/year. Shrook looks just as full-featured and polished as Vienna, but as I didn’t need syncing and I like to favor open-source, I chose Vienna.

    I manually recreated my feed library by extracting URLs from NetNewsWire’s .plist file. (Exporting an OPML after this disastrous upgrade wasn’t helpful, since the upgrade borked my feed subscriptions. Grrrrr.) Both apps should import an OPML from NetNewsWire just fine, but since I didn’t try it, I can’t swear to it. Try downloading both and giving both a whirl.

    Good luck with your impending migration!

  3. C said:

    Hello, since NewsNetWire is now run through Google Reader, it has replaced my old subscriptions with my very old and completely different set of Google Reader subs, deleting 2 years worth of NNW subs in the process. I noticed the NNW backups folder — it’s in ‘plist’. I noticed that to update my Reader/NNW subs, it needs to be in OPML. I cannot figure out how to convert plist to OPML. Would you have any ideas? Thanks in advance.

    • John said:

      I don’t have first-hand knowledge of how to do this. But if you Google for “plist to opml”, you’ll get a lot of hits. There are 3rd-party tools/hacks/command-line sequences to do this, and you’ll have to experiment to see which, if any, work in your situation.

      Good luck. I feel your pain.

  4. C said:

    Thanks John, appreciated. If/when I find a solution, I’ll post back.

  5. C said:

    Solution found. The easiest method was using NNW’s backups folder:
    http://forum.newsgator.com/Topic54241-9-1.aspx

  6. I’ve been using NNW for more than 2 years, and never had any problem. My subscriptions have never been lost either.

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