Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Caffeinated app for Mac review

Finally I am here with the review of an app I have been using for a while and have seen evolving from the first betas until the final release in the Mac App Store: Caffeinated app by GeekyGoodness. This is in my opinion one of the best Google Reader apps for Mac.


As you might know from other of my blog posts, I have been using Caffeinated app from the very beginning when the first beta started. Before Caffeinated app I have used many other apps, like NetNewsWire, Reeder (when it was in beta), NewsRack, Syndication, Gruml, etc. I am a big fan of Google Reader and I had been trying to find the perfect app for my needs. With Caffeinated app I think I have found it.

Let's have a look in more detail.


The Main view
The main screen has a very familiar structure: the most left column with the list of subscription, the middle column with the news items, and on the right the news item view.



I like the structure of the application because it resembles other Mac apps like Mail, and I appreciate the consistency between apps. On the left column, the subscriptions and subscription management, on the middle, the items and search box, and on the right the article view.


On the top application bar you can find a small button to close the web view (if you use the option to open the webpages in the app), and on the right you have the Send to... to share the article, the Readability toggle button that allows you to load the whole article in a readable way, (if possible, as sometimes it does not load properly), the Read/Unread toggle and the Starred toggle button to add/remove the article to the favorite list.

From the Send to... you can you can post the link to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.


The Search box is really fast and conveniently placed on top of the item list.

The Settings
From the options point of view, you have plenty.

General settings have all the normal options you could expect from an RSS reader, including growl integration.

In the sync options, you can decide when you want to refresh, and you can go as fast as once every minute. You can select how many items to keep as well as maximum number to sync. One interesting setting is to cache all new item images, so you do not need to wait for images to load when you are viewing the articles making the reading experience much faster. And another option makes the app to sync all local changes before the app quits. I really like that Caffeinated syncs all messages including the ones that have been read in another device or Google Reader online.

In Article settings we have an option to disable all flash content that makes the articles loading faster. You can just click on the flash item and it will load the content immediately. There is a Pull for next article option but even I enabled it I didn't get it working (I am not sure if I am doing something wrong). If you enable the Developer Tools option, you can inspect page elements in the items like you can do in Safari. This can be useful if you are creating themes for it.

In the Interface options, you can have some user interface settings. I find useful the Unread items shortcut selects top down that I set unchecked to use spacebar to read articles from older to newer.

The Shortcuts is a nice addition for those who do not like to use the trackpad. It is user configurable and really convenient.

Here in the Themes you can select the theme that you want to use. By default there are two themes (Default and News Column), but if you want to add some more, check my themes Simple, OpenSans and the upcoming Newspaper.

The Plugins section shows all the services to send the articles to. As I remember the developer has opened the API so if you know how to program you can develop new plugins for it. Unfortunately I am not a programmer, so I haven't tried to create any. Plugins can be also easily access via shortcuts that you can configure here.

As a summary, here are my like/unlikes:

I like:

  • User interface
  • Themes
  • Fast
  • Open plugin architecture (I hope to see new plugins coming)

I don't like

  • Still a little bit buggy
  • Readability toggle feature does not work for many sites. It might need some improvement (or maybe integration of Instapaper or other service within the app).

If you are not sure yet if this is the app for you, try to the demo available at their site and if you are already convinced, go and buy it from the the Mac AppStore here. It is just 6.99€.

Enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. Great article, and I just bought 1.3.1 version, which I hope is less buggy . I do have a question. I tried making a comment on a blog from the 'article view' box on the right inside Caffeinated. I could see the comment box, was able to write in it and sign my name, etc. But when I went to the person's blog--who, incidentally, has no moderation restraints on her blog, my comment was nonexistent. Have you had similar issues or do you have any feedback for me? Thanks

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    1. Thanks for your comments sc morgan. I do not use in app web view, so I have not had that kind of issues. But if you want to get in contact with the developer easily, tweet him at @caffeinatedapp. He usually answers quite quickly

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