As a new year begins I want to pause for a moment and reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and to share a roadmap of the plans for the new year.
2018 was a big year for Fiery Feeds. Two major updates and its fifth birthday (it’s really been already 5 years since version 1.0, I can’t believe how fast that went). I’ve added a ton of new features this year, you can see them in the entire changelog, but I’m going to highlight the biggest features here.
First there was the big 2.0 update, which completed the transition to a free app with a $9.99 per year subscription for additional features.
The subscription is working really well, even if the first year isn’t up yet, and the yearly subscriptions not renewing yet. It’s almost as if letting users try the app first is a good thing.
Maybe the biggest feature this year are the so called Smart Views.
There is the Hot Links Smart View, which highlights the most linked to websites in your Feeds (a first in iOS RSS Readers), there are Smart Views based on the posting frequency, Smart Views for particularly long or short articles, a view for articles published today, and a specially highlighted Must Read folder, for the most important feeds.
I’ve also brought the app up to speed with all of the new features in iOS that have been missing before 2.0. This included 3D Touch, Drag and Drop on iPad, Continuity to quickly open articles on other devices, Haptic Feedback and State Restoration.
But the most important thing was cleaning up the code base and bringing it to a state, I can build upon for the next few years. This allowed features link 3D Touch or the new layout, and some of the coming features.
It started in version 2.0 with an improved layout, and was completed in 2.1 with completely redrawn icons and a ton of smaller interface improvements and polish across the entire app.
Automatic Dark and Light Themes
One of the most requested feature is automatic switching between a light and a dark theme. You can now select the dark and light themes of your choice, and switch between them either based on the screen brightness, or with a double tap on the navigationbar.
A rather hidden features, but maybe my personal favourite are folder groups. By naming feeds or folders in the form of “group/name”, they are grouped together in the feed list in Fiery Feeds, and because that name is synced to all your devices, these groups are automatically available everywhere.
Additionally I’ve added full two way syncing for FreshRSS, a self hosted RSS reader, and Pinboard, as a new Read-It-Later Service in Fiery Feeds.
Roadmap for 2019
Future plans are always subject to change, of course, but here’s the biggest feature I would like to add to Fiery Feeds next year (throughout two or three feature updates).
3 Pane Layout
More layout options, including a 3 pane layout, on larger iPads. This a more desktop-like layout, and it’s also a bit of preparation for an eventual Marzipan Mac app.
Standalone RSS Account
Exactly what it says. An RSS account that’s not tied to any sync service or server. The app already supports the required feed management, but since that is a Premium feature, and a standalone account without the ability to add new feeds is rather pointless, the standalone account is likely going to be a Premium feature as well.
Standalone Read It Later Account
Fiery Feeds already offers text extraction for any website, building upon that, a standalone read it later account shouldn’t be too hard to implement. Given that it also requires feed management, as well as text extraction, this is also going to be a Premium feature.
Fiery Feeds has a lot of settings. To make it easier to manage them across multiple device, I’m planning to add iCloud sync for settings. This includes all app-wide settings, as well as accounts (without login information though) and per-account settings, including article states in RSS accounts and saved links and states in read later accounts.
Full Text search for articles in feeds, folders or the entire account. Search for options in settings. Support for searching articles using Spotlight.
By saved searches I don’t mean just simple search strings, instead I’m planning something powerful enough to replace all current Smart Views (except Hot Links). That is, multiple parameters to include or exclude certain articles based on search strings, published date, article length and so forth.
Marzipan Mac App
And finally, I’m waiting for Apple to release more information on UIKit on Mac, codenamed ‘Marzipan’. I’ve been meaning to do a Mac app for a while, but given that I’m a solo developer and time constraints, it’s simply not feasible to rebuild the entire UI in App Kit, but if I can reuse parts of the existing UI, that calculation changes. And I’m quite hopeful that it’s going to be possible to build a good Mac app using Marzipan, it is publicly available (after all, that’s more than a year of work on UIKit / Mac, compared to the current News and Home apps).