Version 2.6 is the first feature update in 2022, the most visible changes are a new share extension, and some interface modernisations in the app.

But it also includes a very big under the hood change, which fixes the most common crash, which in turn vastly improves how well the app restores it’s state when you return to it. (In technical terms: The user data is moved back to the app sandbox, from a shared container which the share extension, widgets and Siri Shortcuts could access. This required mostly re-writing the widgets and completely rewriting the share extension and Siri Shortcuts support. But at least it’s done now, this has been on my todo list for years.)

It seems the overall theme for this update is small changes, that require way more work than expected.

New share extension

The new share extension gives you the account, feed, folder and tag selection on a single screen, with the default account being configurable simply be reordering the account list in the app. This means saving an article or subscribing to a new feed is now a one tap action, instead of a three step process as it was before.

For most web based services the new article or feed are immediately pushed to the service, but for local accounts – since it can’t access the main data – this now happens when you launch the main app the next time.

Interface update

The same new interface is also available inside the main app, of course. But I didn’t stop there. There are new dialogs for creating new folders, new tags, or editing folders, tags or feeds.

The New Folder screen allows you to create a new folder and simply select all feed feeds you want in this folder right there. It’s also now possible to do this right from the main list, since many users did not find the new folder option in the “move feed screen”. It’s still possible to add new folders when assigning folders to a specific feed too of course.
The new Feed Details screen combines renaming the feed, exposing the feed url and site url – which is also new – and assigning folders, which was the previous move feed screen.
Editing a folder allows the reverse, i.e. assigning feeds to a specific folder or renaming the folder, and the new Edit Tag screen works the same way with articles.

Additionally there are some other UI modernisations, like the inset grouped style in much of settings and edit screens, and the macOS app now uses the “Optimised for Mac” style, that is it no longer scales down an iPad size apps, but renders everything in the correct size, which required adjusting each button, label and other element on screen to be a bit smaller, otherwise the app would look comically large on Macs. But it has the advantage of some AppKit style elements like the checkboxes in settings, and more importantly the text should be much less blurry, especially on non-retina displays.

New feed management sync code

Related to the new feed management UI, there are also many changes to the sync code to each of the now 20 supported sync services. All feed management changes are now applied to the local database after pushing them to the services, without needing the annoying sync after every change. Not a huge change by itself, but I kept putting it off, because doing the change for each service, 20 times in total was quite a bit of work.

This means that applying changes not only takes fewer steps in the UI, but also is simply faster.

Shared subscription

The second big new things, is the shared subscription. As I have already mentioned in my roadmap post, there is now a shared subscription for both iOS and macOS at a new price of €14.99/year.

Because the subscription is aimed at power users and unlocks the pro features, I took this opportunity to rename the subscription to Fiery Feeds Pro. This name change has no impact on existing subscriptions.

So what changes with the new subscription?

  • The old paid-up-front app is no longer available for purchase, but I will continue to provide updates to it until, but not including version 3.0.
  • If you’re new to Fiery Feeds, you can start a subscription for €14.99/year in either the iOS or macOS app and use it in both of them.
  • If you have an existing subscription, you can continue to use it, in both apps, for the price you’re subscribed at.

You can download the new macOS app here, and especially if you already have a subscription on iOS, I’d recommend switching to the new app now, so you don’t have to migrate your data once version 3.0 is released.

Fiery Feeds 2.5 is the first feature release in 2021. The big one is widgets, but it also includes a complete rewrite of the font and theming system, which was long overdue. And with this version native rendering is now the default render mode for articles.

New Default Themes

The first thing you’ll probably notice are the two new default themes. The retain a slight blue shade and the red accent of the previous default theme, but they are overall much lighter and much darker, respectively. The old default themes haven’t changed much since version 1.0 almost 8 years ago.

New Widgets

The probably most requested feature are home screen widgets. The are widgets for single or multiple articles, single or multiple accounts and Hot Links, in all relevant sizes. You can even add multiple widgets of the same type and configure them individually.

And of course the widgets are fully configurable. You can pick the account/folder/feed you want to have displayed in the articles widget, and decide which articles you want displayed.

I’ve been meaning to do a random article widget for a long time, to suggest articles from my read later list every time I look at my phone. This was a good time to finally do it.

Theme Editor and User Theme Directory

I’ve cleaned the theme file structure up a bit. It is still a JSON file, but comments are no longer allowed inside the file and some of the keys have changed. The macOS version still has a few extra keys, but all other keys have been unified, and the new default themes are the same on both iOS and macOS. There are also no longer default values for each color, so every theme needs to contain a color for

I’m no longer documenting all of the used keys explicitly, but you can still read the file with an text editor (the keys are pretty self explainatory). The reason why, is because Fiery Feeds now finally includes an integrated theme editor, allowing you to modify your themes right inside the app.

In addition to the theme editor there is a new, completely native theme directory, and you can submit your own creations to the directory to share them with other users right from inside the app.

New Font Handling

And finally, even if it sounds like a simple change, but I’ve almost completely rewritten the font handling inside Fiery Feeds. This means that the app respects the default system font size (by default – you can still override it for each part of Fiery Feeds, like previously), and you can select any installed font, including fonts installed by third party apps.

Full Text Search & Saved Searches

The most requested feature is finally here, full text search for all your articles.

You can either search all articles in the feeds and folders list, and see the number of results in each feed or folder, or you can filter the article list directly within a feed or folder.

You can create saved searches directly from the article list, which will then appear like folders in the main feeds & folders list. The saved searches run locally on device for your articles, but where it’s supported (Inoreader on a paid plan or Feedbin) you’ll also have the option to create a server side search that is synced across your devices. Saved searches are also synced for iCloud feed and iCloud read later accounts.

Local saved searches even store and respect the current feed or folder where they are created and only show matching articles from these sources. You can of course create a saved search from the “All Articles” feed to get all of them too.

Cursor Support

This feature is a bit overdue, but since I was already well into 2.4 when Apple released cursor support for the iPad, I decided to do it right and release it together with the rest of the new features. Most of the app was already working reasonably. because of Catalyst, but I’ve added some animations and hover states that are only available on iOS.

Plus some of the improved cursor support, like displaying URLs while hovering links, in the article view is only available with the new native rendering, that’s also officially supported now.

Native Rendering

Native Rendering is a new option to display the article. I’ve been working on it for the past year or so, and it will replace the WKWebView based rendering at some point. Instead of just throwing the article’s HTML content simply into a WebView, Fiery Feeds parses the HTML itself and displays it using native labels, images and so forth.

This is not only much faster – not that I’m better at rendering HTML than the Safari team, but since it’s only used for articles, I can completely ignore any javascript, any CSS, any more advanced layouts, and only implement the elements commonly used in articles – it also gives me more control over the individual elements. You’ll notice context menus with more options, better drag and drop, images can be downloaded really on demand and use the same cache regardless of if they’re loaded during sync or when viewed in an article, iframes can be set to only load when needed, and much more.

The new native article viewer has also an updated design for most elements, giving it a more modern look.

Updated Roadmap

I had to push back some of the features planned for version 2.4, to be able to release if before iOS 14 / Big Sur hits. Now that 2.4 is done, I’m going to focus on version 2.5 with initial support for iOS 14 and Big Sur, that is enough changes to make it run well on the new operating systems, but not much in terms of updated UI for Big Sur. Plus some of the smaller features I had to drop from version 2.4, depending on how much time is left until the public release. Version 2.5 should be available around the time iOS 14 / Big Sur drops.

Of the big features originally planned in the roadmap for 2020, four (Mac Trial, Full Text Search, Saved Searches and native rendering) are now released. I’m going to continue to work on Performance improvements, but I’m pushing per feed settings and drag and drop/Multi Selection to next year.

Instead, for the rest of the year, I’m going to work on replacing as much of the Fiery Feeds’ custom UI elements with some of the new system elements (like the collapsible sidebars on iPads, the new 3 pane mode for SplitViews, Big Sur’s new window toolbar, using SF Symbols instead of custom icons more and more …) to get version 2.6 to fit in to Big Sur as much as possible.

This is the second of my now yearly roadmap blog posts. You can find the last year’s post here.

Looking back

Looking at my commit history for the last few years, 2019 was actually the busiest year so far.
All in all there were 19 updates for iOS and 3 for macOS. As always you can find the entire changelog here.

3 Pane View

In preparation for the Catalyst Mac app, I’ve started the year implementing the three pane view on iPads.
Looking back this was a good idea, there were more than enough other things to do to get the macOS app ready in time for Catalina, so it was nice to have this out of the way early.

Sync Services

One of the more requested features was a way to use Fiery Feeds without having to signup for a third party service.

Version 2.2 added an integrated RSS parser that allows you to subscribe to feeds without having to rely on any server or service. The feeds are downloaded and parsed on device (the way traditional RSS readers work).
Because I noticed that a lot of the things needed for a read later service, from text extraction to database code, were already in place, version 2.2 also added an integrated read later account.

I didn’t stop with local accounts, instead if added iCloud syncing to both the RSS and read later accounts. Since the database structure is shared between all account types, I can even use the same iCloud sync code for both types of accounts. And, while I was at it, I’ve added support for syncing the app and account settings through iCloud as well.

Later I’ve also added support for syncing with NextCloud News.

Article tags

New is also support for article tags, creating new tags and adding tags to an article. It’s only supported by some services, but it made sense to implement it now, since they’re now also used it in local/iCloud accounts.

Siri Shortcuts

Fiery Feeds learned Siri Shortcuts with parameters, allowing you scripting access to your feeds and articles. You could search for articles or save all starred article from a particular folder to your notes, or whatever you want. (Do let me know if you’re doing something interesting!)

Bionic Reading

This year also brought Bionic Reading to Fiery Feeds. It highlights parts of words to guide the eye through the text.

Full Page Screenshots

Another new feature in iOS 13 are full page screenshots. When you take a screenshot of an article, you’ll now have the option to save or annotate a PDF of the entire articles (even if it’s longer than what’s on the screen). Just take a screenshot, and then choose Full Page in the system’s screenshot UI.

Mac App & iOS 13 Update

After iOS 12 which required nearly no changes to the code, iOS 13 brought (mostly due to Catalyst – most of the new features in the iOS version were required for the Mac) some massive changes.

  • Context Menus
  • Multiple Window Support
  • System Dark Mode
  • New Keyboard Shortcuts API
  • New Background Sync API

But at least there is now a working, and fairly usable macOS version of Fiery Feeds. It’s not perfect yet, and there are still lots of bigger and smaller improvements planned for it, but if you like your RSS app configurable, it might already be the option out there.

Planned 2020

Both the Mac app and the iOS 13 update were much more work then expected, so I had to push some of the planned features to 2020. Full text search and saved searches in particular.

Here are the things planned for 2020, in no particular order. (And I want to emphasise that they are only planned. Plans change sometimes.)

Mac Trial

Fiery Feeds for macOS is sold separately from the iOS as a €35 one time purchase. I understand that you might want to try the app before buying it, so the first thing in 2020 will be a trial version.

Full Text Search

As mentioned before, full text search was originally planned for 2019. It’s been pushed to 2020 and should be in the first feature update for iOS and macOS this year.

Saved Searches

Once it’s possible to search for text, it’d be nice to save those searches for quick access. I’m thinking of something along the lines of iTunes’ smart playlists to create powerful smart views, possibly even across multiple accounts.

Native Article View

Another big feature that’s coming sooner than later. Instead of relying on an embedded web view to render the article content, I’m parsing the content myself, and drawing it with standard UIKit labels and images to the screen. This is not only a lot faster, it also gives me much more control over the content (think useful context menus, or loading images only when needed, to save bandwidth).

You can even try it out already, if you want. Just open the Expert Settings by tapping and holding the settings button, then look into the ‘Experimental’ settings. There are still a few things missing, most notably text selection, but it’s coming along.

Drag and Drop / Multi Selection

One of the more macOS centered improvements. Selecting multiple article to mark read or tag at once, or simply dragging feeds / articles to folders / tags to assign them is something I’d expect from a Mac app. I’ve caught myself trying to do this and getting annoyed that it doesn’t work multiple times. Interestingly I’ve never missed those features on iOS – I still plan on supporting it on both platforms.

Per Feed Settings

Over the time people have asked for different settings they want only on a per feed basis, not for the entire app. Showing Preview Images for example, or notifications only for specific feeds. Alongside that I also want to support automatically marked articles read after a certain time (for specific feeds), and some more.
Those will be ‘override’ settings, that is, if you never look into the feed settings view, the app should continue to behave exactly as it does today.


And lastly, 2019 had some massive features and changes (and you might notice that the features planned for 2020 are quite a bit smaller in scope), this year I want to focus more on general performance and stability. Sound boring, I know, but I have quite the backlog of smaller issues, and ideas of where I could make the app a bit faster.

I’ve posted a few things here and there about the progress on the Mac app during development on twitter. I’ll try to add a few more words here.

Getting an initial version of the iPad app to run on macOS was relatively straightforward. It did not look particularly good (or mac like) though. Luckily I’ve started working towards the Mac app, when Apple announced Catalyst last year, and the 3 pane view was already done.

After adding a stretching mode the the toolbars, and disabling the large titles, it’s getting a little bit better. Both navigation bar and toolbar are custom implementations, since I’ve had far too many issues with the standard classes in iOS over the years. I’m quite happy I did it this way.

Multi window support is also a must on macOS, even more so than on iPad. It’s nice that implementing windows for the Catalyst app, also gave me multi window support on iPad for free, basically. But on macOS I’m using it a bit more, by default. For example the settings above are always opened in a separate window (as they should be), or if the main window with the article list is too small to show the three pane mode, it defaults to opening articles in separate windows as well (although this can be changed in the settings).

And of course menus. I’ve spend a lot of time switch everything to the new context menus (which are weirdly similar to my own long press menu from version 2.2), except of course, that they get translated to actually context menus on the Mac. And the menu bar, of course, it wouldn’t be a Mac app without it. While at it, I’ve completely rewritten the handling of keyboard shortcuts, which were kind of hacky before.

Additionally to the keyboard shortcuts, I’ve also completely rewritten the background sync using the newest APIs. You probably shouldn’t notice any change on iOS, but it was still necessary to get background sync working on Mac as well.

Finally, I’m using an AppKit bundle for some of the smaller details. Like the nice and entered traffic lights on the (custom) window titlebar wouldn’t be possible without AppKit. Or setting the window size for the image viewer correctly. Or even the web view wouldn’t show the click pointer on links without doing that manually (though this might have been fixed in one of the later Catalina betas. Haven’t checked).

All in all, I see this first release more as the beginning of a journey than the final step.