10 Days, 10 Apps: Reeder

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Over the course of 10 days, I’m going to share 10 apps that I use every day on my Mac that make the experience more enjoyable or more productive. I get asked this question regularly, so I thought I’d write a series of short blog posts.

Today’s app is what I consider to be the best RSS feed reading application out there: Reeder, by Silvio Rizzi. Combining an elegant design that has become standard in most modern RSS feed readers for the Mac and iOS with a plethora of features make it a powerful way to read articles from your favorite websites.

What is an RSS feed? “RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site’s email newsletter.” – from What Is RSS?

Reeder List View

Reeder integrates directly into your Google Reader account (one is required to use it) and synchronizes all your feeds and any folders you may have created. The main window is broken into a two-pane interface, with your feeds on the left and the articles on the right. Reeder has a non-standard toolbar with a toggle on the top right that allows you to switch between your starred articles, unread articles, and all articles. Along the bottom are buttons to refresh the feeds, add or manage your subscriptions, mark all as read, search for an article, and toggle the expanded view. When in expanded viewer, the view swiches to a three pane view, with the currently selected article displayed in the rightmost pane:

Reeder Expanded View

When in standard mode, opening an article displays the article with the full view of the window. If you look at the bottom left, you’ll notice a little Readability toggle. This utlizes Arc90’s Readability service to fetch the full content of truncated feeds so that if you don’t have the full content of an article in the RSS feed, with one click you’ll be reading the full thing right in Reeder without having to go to the site.

Reeder Article View

This i s a fantastic feature that really helps Reeder stand out above the crowd. If you’re a Readability user, you’ll be happy to know that Reeder has full integration with the Readability service, so you can sync your accounts. I gave it a try, and it worked fairly well, although Reeder had problems marking articles as read that I moved to the archive in the Readability web app.

Reeder offers many different services to help you share content you read in the app:

  • Copy Link
  • Send to Safari’s Reading List
  • Send to Evernote
  • Send to MarsEdit
  • Send to Readability
  • Send to Instapaper
  • Send to ReadItLater (now known as Pocket)
  • Send to Pinboard
  • Send to Delicious
  • Send to Zootool
  • Send to Twitter
  • Mail Link
  • Open article in browser with Instapaper Mobilizer
  • Open article in browser with Google Mobliizer
  • Open article in Browser

Notably missing is Facebook integration as well as the ability to e-mail an article (the content, not just the link). With the services that are offered, integration is top-notch and I’ve never hit any snags or problems using any of them.

Reeder also offers a plethora of gesture shortcuts if you have a multitouch trackpad as well as plenty of keyboard shortcuts. All are customizable, and the keyboard shortcut defaults are matched up with the standard keyboard shortcuts on Google Reader. Both work great and are extremly handy additions to the app. Reeder’s appearance is customizable through sliders which let you alter the appearance from the default iOS-matched sepia-toned environment to a more standard blue and white Mac OS X style.

All in all, Reeder is a fantastic desktop solution to reading RSS feeds. It works extremely well and is expertly designed, throughougly thought out and makes reading articles an easy and enjoyable experience.

Reeder is available on the Mac App Store for $9.99.

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