Byline RSS Reader


Best-in-class iOS RSS reader

I’ve had an iPhone since the first model and despite trying out probably hundreds of apps I have a relatively small collection that I use every day.

One of the things I use my iPhone for every day is catching up with blogs and news through RSS. I’m a reasonably heavy Google Reader user, following 294 feeds (including BoingBoing and Cool Tools naturally). There are a host of RSS feed reader apps in the app store, and *most* of them integrate with Google Reader. I’ve tried most of them, seduced by the promises of new features and pretty UIs, but I always return to one of the first I tried: Byline.

The Byline Google Reader integration is straightforward, and offers all the features you would expect. These are the same features offered by many a reader:

  • Syncing of read items
  • Badge showing number of unread items
  • Starring and sharing (with or without notes)
  • Showing all items, browsing by label or by feed
  • Instapaper and mobile safari integration

And so on….

The killer feature for me, and one I’ve not found in any other reader app, is that Byline caches (optionally and configurably) the webpage associated with an RSS entry. That means that partial RSS entries, or feeds like Daring Fireball that link to an alternative page, have the *actual content* fully stored on the device. When travelling or somewhere without mobile internet you have full access to your RSS feeds and their precious payload of information or LOLs.

Byline isn’t perfect, but every time I’ve tried another feed reader app I’ve found I can’t live without the offline caching and come slinking back to byline. The *biggest* flaw with Byline was the lack of a native iPad app, but since I originally wrote this review a native iPad app was released and it works very well. Byline has only improved in stability and reliability, and I’m still using it every day. Byline coped with the Google Reader changes very well. It hasn’t yet got Google + integration, but hopefully that will come soon (but it isn’t core functionality anyway).

I did use the old Google Reader sharing feature to post items from reader to twitter via the shared items RSS feed. Funnily enough, despite this feature being removed from the Google Reader UI it still works in byline!

-- Michael Foord 02/2/12