Pietro Rea

Try out NetNewsWire 5

March 24, 2020

I’m currently on paternity leave for our second child. At the same time, the world is going through an unprecedented global pandemic, which requires everyone to practice social distancing. That means lots of time at home. Between bursts of child care I sometimes have some downtime to update this blog.

After making some tweaks to the plugin that generates this blog’s RSS feed, I wanted to test out my changes using an RSS reader. I’ve been using Reederon iOS for years, but nothing on the Mac.

It didn’t take me long to find NetNewsWire, an RSS reader worthy of an Apple Design Award. The app is open source so I went ahead and cloned the GitHub repo and built it with Xcode. I experienced some code signing issues (the year is 2020, right?) getting it to build with my free Apple Developer account, so I hopped onto their Slack and got some help from their community.

What struck me the most was the “philosophy” section featured on the app’s website.

“We believe that apps should never crash. They should be free of bugs. They should be fast — they should feel lighter-than-air.”

“We believe that quality is more important than just piling on features; we believe that quality is the most important feature. And we believe that high quality is transformative — it makes for an app you never hesitate to reach for. You can rely on it, and you do, again and again.”

“This makes us slow to add features. We are adding features — but never at the expense of how it feels. Never at the expense of reliability and speed.”

“Never at the expense of how it feels.”

Those words resonated very strongly with me. Their philosophy statement embodies my number one takeaway from all my years as an iOS developer. It takes an obsessive level of detail and care to make a truly great digital product. NetNewsWire gets it.

All of this is to say…make sure to try out NetNewsWire 5 on Mac and iOS. I’m fully switching from Reeder on all platforms after many years with it. The app is gorgeous, open source, and deeply aligned with my product values.

More importantly, it’s the app to use during these trying times. I recommend you subscribe to Marginal Revolution to get news and analysis on COVID-19. Tyler Cowen has been my favorite economist since my university days and does a great job curating, synthesizing and reacting to the latest events.

Pietro Rea
Written by Pietro Rea, a software engineer, engineering manager and author from northern Virginia.