Dayspring: Simple, Mail.app Style RSS Reading Reinvented

Google Reader’s death has pushed us all to decide again what we want from RSS. But it’s easy to forget that Google Reader and online synced feeds weren’t the only option all along. The Mac used to include RSS sync in both Safari and Mail, and Firefox still has Live Bookmarks for a simple way to subscribe to sites. Neither option was as shiny as Reeder or as convenient as any online feed sync with companion mobile apps, but they just worked. You got the latest news on your Mac in a lightweight, native app, and got on with your life.

That’s exactly what the new Dayspring app offers. It’s a lightweight, Mac-only RSS reader that brings back the simplicity of checking your feeds in an app like Mail.

Just You and Your Feeds

Simple RSS reading that renders everything in your feeds.

Simple RSS reading that renders everything in your feeds.

Dayspring is just a feed reader — it syncs your feeds on your Mac, and that’s it. It looks practically just like a built-in app like Mail, with a standard toolbar and 3 column view that shows your feeds and folders on the left, feed entries in the middle, and the article you’re reading in the main column on the right. You can add your feeds individually, or import your OPML file from Google Reader or another feed app.

From there, it works just as you’d expect. It syncs your feeds (quite fast, too), then checks for new feeds every half hour or so, depending on your settings. There’s a star button in the top where you can favorite individual articles to make them easy to find again later, full-text search that does quite the great job finding text anywhere in any of your synced articles, and a button on the top right to open the current link in your default browser.

Tabs work great for queuing up what you want to read.

Tabs work great for queuing up what you want to read.

Then there’s one big extra feature that sets Dayspring apart: tabbed browsing. Just like in a browser, you can open links in new tabs in Dayspring, or press CMD+T to open a new tab and browse, say, different folders of your feeds at once. It’s an easy way to open everything you want to read in-depth in the app, and a nice extra for an app that’s just focused on reading RSS feeds natively on your Mac.

And that’s it. There’s literally nothing else in Dayspring, aside from options to set your reading fonts. There’s no sync, no read later or sharing service integration, and not Google Reader-style keyboard shortcuts. You can use your arrow keys and tab to move around your feeds and articles, and of course could set your own keyboard shortcuts from your OS X Keyboard Preferences, but that’s all that’s included in Dayspring. It’s literally just about your feeds on your Mac, and it does a great job at native syncing and feed reading — but that’s it.

Nice and Basic

If you’re looking for the slickest new RSS app that’s built around native RSS syncing, the new NetNewsWire 4 beta is likely a better shot for you. NewsBar and Leaf take the crown if you’re looking for an innovative, new UI for your native-synced RSS feeds, and ReadKit is easily the king if you want to sync feeds with the best online feed sync tools today.

But if you want traditional Mac-style RSS syncing with no frills, Dayspring’s actually the best app we’ve seen so far. It’s entirely predictable, feels like a native app — perhaps one from 2005 or so before Apple started focusing so much on mobile and sharing — and does a great job at just syncing feeds like it’s supposed to. If that’s what you’ve been looking for, it’s the app for you — one that’s hard to beat price-wise at just $2.99.


Summary

A basic RSS reader that combines the simplicity of Mail.app's now-lost RSS integration and the multitasking goodness of tabbed browsing.

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