NewsFire vs. NetNewsWire

I’ve been happily using NewsFire since The Switch a little over a year ago, but about a month ago, I switched to NetNewsWire.

Reason was that NewsFire doesn’t show who posted an item, which is crucial when you’re reading group blogs, or using Basecamp via RSS feeds, where posts from multiple people end up in the same RSS feed, but their names aren’t part of the title or description, like they are on The Huffington Post. (I just realized that 37signals is essentially responsible for making me switch RSS reader—oh, the power!)

But since the switch I’ve also come to realize that the three-pane style is pretty handy for quickly scanning feeds from news sites, delicious, etc., where only a small fraction of the items are worth clicking into. With NewsFire, you can see the listing, but when you click into an item, you have to then switch back to the listing, and when you do, you’ve lost your place.

On the other hand, after switching to NetNewsWire I realized that a number of people put ads in their feeds. With NewsFire I hadn’t really noticed, because it removes them by default, and I wasn’t even aware that it did.

On NetNewsWire, the fast key combo switch between “Traditional view” and “Widescreen view” is a very neat idea for me, since I alternate between a 23” cinema display, and using the built-in 12” display. But I never use that feature, because the widths of the columns in the title listing gets messed up, so I end up spending so much time adjusting those that it’s not worth it. This is a classic example of a feature that should’ve been either polished some more, or cut in favor of something else.

I hate having to adjust column widths in general, though, and that’s not limited to NetNewsWire—Mail.app suffers from that, too, and I constantly end up adjusting the date field for some reason. That’s something that you never have to with NewsFire. David Watanabe, author of NewsFire, knows how to make an interface where things have the right sizes and work the way it should, without having to put the onus on the user to tweak it. Kudos on that!

It’s with some sadness that I’ve left the more stylish and fun NewsFire for the more Outlook-like NetNewsWire. I really hope that NewsFire’s author will fix these few problems, so I can get back to the Fireplace.




Thanks for posting your views. I'm just now debating about whether to buy NewsFire or Netnewswire. I also use Basecamp as well as Freshbooks and really depend on the name of the poster in the feed. Has NewsFire made any changes you think are noteworthy since you posted? Thanks again, great post! -Zack
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Lars Pind

Last time I checked it hadn't, but that's 3-4 months back now.
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