TOKYO (MacHouse) – It’s been almost a month since I released the last software title. I sometimes get lazy. Sometimes, I get depressed when I cannot come up with a new development idea. Oh, finally, I have something new. I submitted a new software title to Mac App Store more than 12 hours ago. This new release is called NewsRoll.
I often go to news web sites to keep myself updated with international news. Instead of going to this web site and that web site, what if I can read news from all those web sites that I regularly visit altogether? NewsRoll does just that. It’s a desktop application which is designed to extract news data (RSS feeds) from remote servers such that you can read horizontally-scrolling (right to left) news from multiple sources at a time.
- Register any number of RSS feeds as news sources.
- Tell which story is new and which is not after update. (v. 1.1.0)
- Find out how many new stories there are after the application updates news.
- Change places of news views. (v. 1.1.0)
- Stop news views from scrolling whenever necessary. Resume them any time.
- Let the application automatically update news every 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, 6 hours or never.
- Click on the title of a story to launch the default web browser and to read the entire story.
- Adjust scrolling speed.
- Adjust brightness/darkness of randomly-generated news view colors.
- Save a list of news titles or links as text. Or save news titles and links as XMLs.
- The application does NOT support the fullScreen mode.
- The application supports the retina screen. (tested with 2014 2.6 GHz 13″ MacBook Pro)
- Languages: English only.
- Application file size: 31.1 MB. (v. 1.1.0)
- The application comes with a built-in 23-page user guide. Choose Show Quick Tour under NewsRoll whenever you need to see it. (v. 1.1.0)
- There’s no nagging screen. This application is a product people pay to use. The application won’t pop up a screen and nag the user to rate the product.
- 10.9 (tested with 10.9.5), 10.10 (tested with 10.10.4)
- 64-bit system
- Constant Internet access
- Memory requirement depends on how many news views you run and other factors. For example, running 8 news views can constantly use up 120 to 150 MB of RAM with no or little leak.
- The application window is not resizable. Whenever the user launches the application, its window will automatically stretch from the left end to the right end of the desktop area. So this application may be best used with Spaces if you have a dozen news sources to keep your eyes on. (You can switch Spaces screens by pressing Control + arrow key.)
- The application does not come with news data. What the user reads depends on what set of RSS feeds they register.
- The number of news views that the application can display depends on the desktop area height. For a 27-inch display Mac, for example, the maximum number is 50, which means that the user can read horizontally-scrolling news from as many as 50 sources.
Questions and answers
- Q. Why do you fix the window size?
A. When the application inserts a news view to the window, it has to determine news view’s length. News view’s length could not be altered once created, or it would be a problem if the user changed window width.
- Q. Why don’t you allow the application to change the speed of flowing news in real time whenever I adjust the slider?
A. The application creates an object, an instance of a class, when it inserts a news view to the window. Once an object is created, its properties cannot be altered. Properties must be adjusted before the application creates an object.
- Q. It says there are 10 topics. But there are actually only 8 stories rolling.
A. If you examine the very source of RSS feeds, you will find out that some titles are left blank. The number of topics appearing right below the name field includes those blank titles.
- Q. There’s a news title that starts with New except that I saw the exactly same title before news was updated.
A. NewsRoll compares each new title with a list of old titles from the same source. If the author of RSS feeds makes a tiny correction, which in fact happens a lot, then it will label a new title.
1.2.0 (Released on August 10, 2015)
- Fix: The application did not fully allow the user to horizontally relocate its window.
- By default, the application will post a notification when it updates news data.
- When the application updates news feeds, it’ll wait longer for data to arrive.
- The application automatically removes carriage returns from each title.
- The user can press the space key to resume news rolling or stop news from rolling. If some control has focus, choose Set Focus On Window under Window before pressing the space key.
- Other minor changes and fixes are done.
1.1.7 (Released on July 24, 2015)
- If the application finds an invalid URL, it will skip the story with it. An example of an invalid URL is the following: http://abcnews.go.comhttps://gma.yahoo.com/ring-bearer-shines-wedding-day-because-she-not-205828616–abc-news-sex.html , which was in fact delivered by ABC News on July 24th.
- Instead of showing a window sheet, the application will post a label at the bottom indicating such when it updates news, downloading data.
- A few other minor changes and fixes are done.
1.1.5 (Released on July 24, 2015)
- Memory consumption is reduced.
- A number appears inside an orange circle at the bottom that indicates the number of new stories after news views are updated.
- In Preferences, the user has options of allowing or not allowing the user to move application window horizontally.
- Fix: While updating news, the application could put itself in an impasse where the user is not even unable to quit the application.
- The application now comes with Japanese localization.
- Numerous other minor changes and fixes are done.
1.1.0 (Released on July 20, 2015)
- The application now tells which story is new and which is not. When it updates news and finds a new topic, the application inserts ‘New’ before the title of the story.
- The list that will appear when the user chooses Manage News Views under News has an extra column indicating order of appearance. Grabbing a row, the user can now drag it up or down to change order of appearance. Note that the RSS feeds with the lowest number (1) will appear at the top when the application updates news next time.
- Several minor changes and fixes are done.
Click here to download a trial version. This trial version will remain fully functional for 7 days, starting from the very moment you first launch it.
There is no video tutorial at this time.
NewsRoll is a product of Tom Bluewater.
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