By Dan Moren
December 31, 2019 3:34 PM PT
Applications Folder: Reeder
Hard as it may be to believe, in this era overrun with social networks, algorithmic news, and custom-tailored newsletters, I still find myself launching an RSS reader pretty much every single day.
More than a decade ago, when I was working at Macworld covering news, most of what I read came via RSS feeds. and I was a die-hard user of the venerable NetNewsWire. But as that app grew long in the tooth, reading shifted to mobile, and Google killed off its Reader back-end, I eventually found myself making the jump to Silvio Rizzi’s Reeder. For one thing, it worked seamlessly with Feedly, the cloud service where I’d migrated my Google Reader feeds, and for another it had Mac and iOS clients that looked and worked very similarly, providing a unified reading experience across all my devices.
Years later, I’m still using Reeder, even if it at times seems not to have adanced much. (Hey, RSS feeds haven’t exactly been a hotbed of activity either.) I’ve trimmed down the number of feeds that I subscribe to, but it’s still a part of my daily workflow, and Reeder makes it easy to jump back and forth between my Macs and iOS devices, keeping everything in sync.
And that’s, honestly, the most important part of the experience for me. Sure, I appreciate that Reeder lets me view stories in a web view or pop them out to Safari at the touch of a convenient user-defined keyboard shortcut, or lets me quickly mark feeds as read, but really, these are table stakes for an RSS reader. The highlight of the most recent major update was a Bionic Reader feature which, while interesting, is not something I’ve ended up using at all.
An RSS reader has two primary tasks, to my mind: first, it should let you consume your content the way you want to. Reeder offer a variety of themes, and supports switching between light and dark modes on both iOS and the Mac, has an automation for a configurable layout (or an automatic one if you prefer), and lets you set everything from font to text spacing. Want to mark certain articles or add them to a read later service? Reeder’s got you covered. Its keyboard shortcuts are heavily customizable, it’s got rich gesture support on both Mac and iOS, and I particularly appreciate that I can organize my folders and feeds just how I like them.
Secondly, once you have your RSS reader configured to meet your needs, it should fade into the background. Again, Reeder does this with aplomb, which is why I’ve continued using it through multiple upgrades. NetNewsWire is back in development, and some day I might give it another run, but for now, Reeder is still where all my RSS feeds live.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]