Mon, 24 Mar 2003 NetNewsWire 1.0
Weblog reader and editor
- Manufacturer: Ranchero Software
- Pros: Easy-to-manage subscriptions; useful editor integration; wide compatibility; great support.
- Cons: RSS reading slow on modems; some initial bugs.
- Price: $39.95 online.
- Star rating:
To manage a subscription list, sites can be grouped into folders by simply dragging them. The subscription list uses colour to show if a site has been updated. It also gives the number of unread items on the site or in the folder. There are preferences to control both this colouring and the frequency with which sites are checked. If you want to subscribe to a new site, you can either add it from the list supplied or paste it in the Web site URL (Web address). NetNewsWire can usually work out the RSS feed URL for most sites. You can also paste the RSS URL directly. NetNewsWire Lite just provides the RSS reading features, it lacks the editor, notepad and some search facilities. NetNewsWire offers a pair of tools for creating weblogs. The first of these is Notepad, which allows you to make notes on the stories for use in composing a weblog post. It's actually an outliner, so you can plan an item in the notepad and then drag the notes to the weblog editor. To get started the editor needs to be configured for the weblog software; helpfully there is comprehensive documentation on the product Web site states what to type where. Multiple weblogs are easily managed using the editor. The editor allows you to create new entries or to revise existing ones. The editing window is uncluttered and HTML-aware. It spellcheck sas you type. There is also a preview window, which shows the layout of the entry as it might appear in a Web browser, although without the exact CSS styling. Up front
With the editor, it's easy to get an overview of a weblog and see what you've written recently, though NetNewsWire will not replace the weblog front-end completely - you still need to do configuration of the weblog using its own software. Posting directly from within the editor is a much better experience than using Web front-ends that weblogs commonly offer; it feels much more like a writing tool. The ability to write and edit without being online frees you to work where you please. There are a few bugs in the initial release - currently Save As Draft doesn't work - but this should be fixed in version 1.01. The program is well supported with good clear documentation, an active support mailing list, and a bug- and feature-request list that you can add. The documentation is mostly Web based, but there is standard Help Center documentation covering the main features of the application.