NewsMac Pro was always a bit of a screen hog, the problem is when you’ve got a lot of information to display there is only so much you can do about making things physically smaller on the screen before you start to compromise usability. NewsLife is parred down to the minimum you need to see to use the app – no toolbar, integrated headline and summary view etc.
Another part of being unintrusive is not interrupting you when it’s not really necessary. For example when you add a new feed to NewsMac by clicking a feed link it throws up a dialog asking you to confirm the action, NewsLife will just do this transparently and only prompt you if it can’t read the feed.
One of the biggest departures in NewsLife is the removal of the integrated web browser. The reasoning behind this is simple – I don’t have the time or resources to create a web browser in NewsLife that can compete with what is offered by Safari or FireFox. Sure WebKit gives you the bare basics of HTML rendering that Safari uses, but there’s a lot more to a web browser than that. I know some people are really sold on having everything integrated, but from a development point of view and from an overall view of the products integrity, built-in browsers suck.
It’s so easy to keep piling on features in an app without really improving it. NewsLife will have a very focused set of features aimed squarely at your average mainstream web user.
As already mentioned the UI is going to be radically simplified, which is made possible by cutting things down to the core features an RSS reader needs. The aim is to come up with something so intuitive your grandmother could use it.
When can you get your hands on this thing then? Well the development timetable is slipping a bit, I’m still hopeful I’ll have something ready by the end of the month, but no promises there. In the mean time check out InstantGallery if you haven’t already – this app seems to be striking all the right notes with people at the moment.