Google Reader’s demise has left those of us who rely on RSS feeds for our news scrambling for options. There’s tons of web services that we’ve covered on Web.AppStorm, but if you prefer using native Mac apps for your news reading, then that only helps you so much.
Reeder and other popular Google Reader apps for the Mac have promised to add support for other sync services, but another app showed them up: ReadKit. If you’re an Instapaper fan, you’ve likely tried it out after Pocket bought out the Read Later app and turned it into Pocket for Mac. Then ReadKit came along and made an app that was, if anything, nicer for reading web articles later on the Mac.
Today, they turned it up to 11 with ReadKit 2, by adding support for sync with Fever, NewsBlur, Delicious, Pinboard, and its own native RSS sync engine. ReadKit’s now your one app for all your online reading — RSS, read later, and bookmarks.
A Reading App and More. Much More.
First off, if you haven’t already tried it out, take a moment and read our initial review of ReadKit. For reading your Instapaper, Pocket, or Readability articles on the Mac, ReadKit is still much the same as it was, though with a refined interface and snappier performance. When it was first released, ReadKit was an app for reading articles later on your Mac, and it did a great job at that. Now, though, that’s only one of its many features.
Of all things, the top comment on our ReadKit review asked why the ReadKit team hadn’t added a RSS reader to the app. That’s been answered, and more, in ReadKit 2. Now, ReadKit can keep up with everything you read online: your feeds (the new stuff that comes in), your read later list (the stuff you’ve saved to read later), and your online bookmarks (the stuff you’ve saved to remember forever).
Bring Out the Feeds
First up, and most exciting for those looking for a Google Reader alternate for their Mac, is ReadKit’s RSS support. It has its own hand-coded RSS sync, so if you haven’t settled on a web RSS service it can take care of it all for you — and do quite the great job at it. It’s speedy, lets you organize feeds into folders, and can import your feeds from other services via OMPL (with export coming soon if you ever want to move away).
If you use it for feeds, though, they’ll be stuck to your Mac, and you won’t be able to check them on the go. For that and many other reasons, you’ll likely want to use it with a web service. ReadKit is ready for that, with built-in support for Fever (the self-hosted RSS reader) and NewsBlur (one of the best online Google Reader alternates). Both of which will cost: Fever costs $30, and runs on your own server, while NewsBlur Premium costs $24/year. That’s not bad, but you’ll need to be prepared.
Just head into the settings to add the service you want — or better yet, add as many services as you want. They’ll all sync fast; I’ve got Instapaper, Pocket, Fever, and native RSS sync all enabled, and ReadKit is still lightening fast.
Want even more? You’ll find sync options for Delicious and Pinboard (pro account required) as well, so you can keep offline copies of your bookmarked sites on your Mac. And if for some reason you have two Instapaper accounts or Fever installs, no problem: you can even add multiple accounts of any service to ReadKit!
The ReadKit Experience
Since ReadKit is built around reading, it works a bit different than apps that are designed first-and-foremost for RSS reading. The best way to read you feeds is via the RSS News smart folder, which will show all of your unarchived articles from all of your RSS services together. Notice I said unarchived, not unread. Most RSS readers will show your unread feeds, but ReadKit treats everything as an article you want to read and need to Archive — more like the way you’d treat articles in your Instapaper or Pocket queue than the way most of us treat RSS feeds.
That’s not a big problem, though. If you actually read through all of your unread feeds each day, just tap the A key to archive the article you’re reading when you’re done reading it to archive it and go on to the next article. Alternately, you could browse through your feeds, reading the articles that interest you, and then select them all and tap A to archive them all at once.
Beyond that, ReadKit is great if you like to save articles from your RSS feeds to your bookmarks or reading later services. You can simply drag-and-drop articles from your RSS feeds into the service and folder you want to save it in, and it’ll all be synced correctly, ready to find later or read on other devices. Best of all, reading your feeds will be a nicer experience than ever with ReadKit’s beautiful reading experience you already expect from your reading later service now being used to display your feeds. There’s search, push notifications for new feeds, timed auto-sync settings, native OS X sharing, and more to give you everything you could want from a RSS reading app.
Fever devotees will be sad to know that the Hot list isn’t visible in ReadKit, though that’s not too surprising. You can, however, view all the feeds in your sparks, if you want. You also can’t add feeds to Fever from the app, due to Fever’s API limitations, so you’ll still need to add feeds via the bookmarklet.
It’s Smart, Too.
As briefly mentioned before, ReadKit 2 has smart folders that can automatically grab the articles you want from criteria you add to the app. It has Read Later and RSS News news smart folders by default, that show all of your unarchived articles from your reading and RSS services, respectively. You can take it further, though, and make smart folders that’ll, say, show only articles about the apps you want from both your RSS and reading services.
That feature’s great for news, since it gives you a way to drill down on the most important news of the day from your feeds — or only see the stuff that’s been published this week, and ignore your older stuff. But, it’s also great for the reading later and bookmark services. It gives you a way to sort your content into topics without having to do more than a minute’s work, or perhaps split your reading list into sets of recently added stuff and stuff that’s been in there forever.
The App To Keep You Well Read
It seems like a genius move, in hindsight, putting the best reading, RSS, and bookmarking services together in one app, and if anything, it’s only surprising that it hasn’t been done yet. That’s not today’s worry, of course, since ReadKit 2 does such a great job at it all. It’s definitely the reading app your Mac needs, and if you use Fever, NewsBlur, or want a native RSS sync app, it’s the RSS reader app your Mac needs as well.
For $4.99 — or a free update if you’ve already bought ReadKit 1 — that’s quite a bargain.