The RSS reader market was fully dominated by Google Reader for years, and the best native apps for RSS were all designed to sync with Google Reader. There just wasn’t any other way to compete. In that market, Reeder quickly won most of us over with its beautiful UI, something that other apps rushed to copy.
Then, Google announced that it was closing down Google Reader, and we all rushed to find another way to read our feeds. There’s great Mac-only RSS apps, like the new NetNewsWire 4 beta and the just-released Leaf 2, but that’s going to keep you from reading your feeds on the go. You’ll still get your feeds, but will have lost the ability to read your feeds from anywhere that you had with Google Reader.
Syncing’s tough, of course, and there’s so many popular services now you’d need to support. To that challenge, one unlikely app has risen to be the best-in-class app that’s the one app any serious RSS user on the Mac should buy: ReadKit. Now with the customizable sharing options you’d have expected from Reeder, it’s the one RSS reader to beat.
The Road to the Crown
Launched early last year as a read later app for the Mac, ReadKit initially looked like the best alternate to Read Later, the now-defunct app that brought Instapaper and Pocket to the Mac. ReadKit boasted a familiar UI that, yes, feels Reeder inspired, and it worked great with the reading services we loved, so we were hooked.
Then, just 3 months after Google announced that they were killing Google Reader, the webin team released ReadKit 2 with support for NewsBlur and Fever, the initial standout options for RSS syncing, as well as native RSS sync. It worked great, and we declared it the “RSS reader your Mac needs.”
You’d figure ReadKit would be facing stiff competition from other Mac apps right now, but really, it’s the only app today that syncs with the most popular RSS sync services. While everyone else is making apps just for reading RSS on your Mac, ReadKit has continued working to improve their initial RSS sync support, and make their app the best place to read and share. That’s why today’s release is so neat: it makes ReadKit feature-complete for sharing and reading across all the services you already use.
The App for Serious Syncers
Chances are, if you’re serious about your RSS, reading, and bookmarks, ReadKit supports the apps you love. If anything, its options now read like a “who’s who” of the winners of the RSS and reading later app market. It supports Feedly (a great free RSS sync option), NewsBlur, Fever (the self-hosted geek favorite), Feed Wrangler, Feedbin, and native RSS sync, as well as Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability sync for reading later, and both Pinboard and Delicious sync for bookmarks.
If you really only care about RSS sync services, ReadKit is fine with that now too, having fully left it’s roots as a reading later-only app behind. You can now drag the RSS News folder to the top and have it open by default when you launch the app, and can get by without even having a reading later service enabled if you want. It’s fast at syncing as always, and with support for so many services, it’s a great place to start even if you haven’t decided which service to use it with. Then, if you do sync with a reading later service, you can save RSS articles to read with a quick drag-and-drop to the appropriate folder — no fiddling with menus required.
You can sign into your RSS accounts and forget about it, or customize your experience as much as you want. ReadKit now lets you choose how its unread indicators and dock icon appear, how often to refresh, how to group and sort items, and even lets you refresh Fever on your server before it syncs. Then, there’s still the nice built-in reading themes, along with your choice of font and font size.
Sharing the Way you Want
The original ReadKit only included the default OS X sharing options, since that’s not where most of us do most of our sharing — and plus, most reading later services have their own sharing tools, or could work with IFTTT to automate sharing. With RSS, though, sharing and saving is a lot more important, since it’s where we discover new stuff.
The just-released ReadKit 2.3 focuses mainly on the sharing and saving experience. It now supports sharing articles on Facebook, Twitter, Messages, and Mail, as well as saving articles to Evernote, Instapaper, Pocket, Readability, Pinboard, Delicious, or the Safari Reading List, all with custom keyboard shortcuts. Best of all, you can save to all of the latter services even if you don’t sync to those bookmark or reading services. Alternately, you can just copy the link to the post — instantly with a keyboard shortcut of your choice — and paste it in your favorite social networking app. With the customization options and Evernote saving, it’s the perfect way to archive the stuff you read so you can find it later, or share it on your favorite networks.
Then, of course, there’s ReadKit’s smart folders that can find articles in your feeds, bookmarks, and reading later archive about any topic you want, from the date range and author you want. It’ll take a bit of tweaking, but if you’re really serious about your feeds and reading, ReadKit’s smart folders can be a really powerful tool. Combine it with the quick save options, and you just might find that it’s the research companion you’ve been looking for.
But perhaps you just want a simple way to keep up with your feeds and reading. If so, ReadKit provides that too. It’s powerful, yet simple, and really works great. I couldn’t recommend it enough.
ReadKit 2 is absolutely the RSS reader and read later app to beat on the Mac today. If you’re not already using it, and you want your feeds synced online so you can read them on your phone and tablet as well, you should do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of ReadKit 2. It’s just $4.99, and I’m certain you won’t regret it. It’s absolutely one of the standout Mac apps of 2013, hands down.