When Google Reader passed away earlier this year, I was really hacked off. I depend on RSS feeds for a living. Only from reading RSS feeds do I find stories to write about which translates to cold hard cash. So when my beloved Google Reader left this earth, I was left looking for a suitable alternative. My criteria was very strict – it had to instantly synchronise with a suitable iPhone app, as well as a suitable web-based RSS reader.
The search took quite some time. I must have tried countless apps and sites. I tried ones that appeared in Google, and ones that friends and colleagues recommended. I finally settled on Mr Reader for the iPad ($3.99), which is nothing short of remarkable. It even synchronises with FeeddlerRSS, which is a great iPhone RSS app, and both of those synchronise with the web-based Bazqux, which I profiled recently.
With my ideal setup in place, it is time to show you why Mr Reader blows my socks off every day.
Before We Start….
Before I go into the pros, I must point out a big con. If you have an OPML file full of lots of feeds, Mr Reader does not provide a function to import them. Or export them out later. What you need to do first is to find a web-based RSS app that is compatible with Mr Reader, import your feeds into there, then sign into Mr Reader using the web app credentials. Only then will Mr Reader pull your feeds from the web app.
I admit, this is a very weird way of doing things, and I hope the developer provides an import and export function soon. But for now, you need a suitable RSS web app. Use Bazqux, which I highly recommended before, or one of the following compatible sites :
Start Pulling Those Feeds In!
Sso when you have a compatible web RSS reader set up with your feeds, go to Mr Reader, and sign in with your web account.
You’ll be asked to sign in with that web app’s credentials, and assuming the right details have been entered, your feeds will begin to appear, and synchronize on a regular basis.
Of course, Mr Reader gives you the ability to import feeds one by one too.
And once a feed has been successfully subscribed to, Mr Reader then gives you functions to move it to a folder, rename it, and more.
It’s now time to customize your sharing menu. When you read an article that you like, you may want to send it to Facebook, Twitter or a read-it-later service such as Pocket or Evernote. So go to settings, and choose the Sharing options.
It’s then just a case of dragging and dropping the ones you want, and the ones you don’t want. Then go to the ones you have chosen, tap on each one, and enter your account details. The email options can be pre-populated with an email address (if you regularly email articles to yourself, for example).
There are lots more options, far too many for me to go into here. So just browse through the various options, and customize Mr Reader the way you want it. Everything is covered, from the theme, to the font size, the date format, and what should happen to read articles. The level of customization is just amazing, and if you look at the Mr Reader website, it lists everything for you.
So let’s now take a look at an example post. When you tap on a post, it will open in “RSS view” by default. But notice along the top, all the other possible views.
To be honest, Instapaper, Readability, and Pocket, all offer the same view – cleaned up, images stripped, and nice to read :
The “web” version is, as the name says, the website version. It takes you straight to the page itself, so you can read the article on the website. This is useful if the web feed is only a summary. You only have to tap once to be taken straight through to the full article.
Starring, Tagging, Marking As Read & Unread
Next to each post are some options – starring, tagging, and marking as read or unread. Starring is self-explanatory – you can star articles to save them in the “Starred Items” section in the top left hand corner of the screen. To mark a post as read or unread, tap the little circle. Blue makes it unread, and not blue makes it read. Easy enough.
There is also the usual iOS sharing options, accessible via the standard icon of the upwards facing arrow. Tagging is also a useful feature, if you want to really keep track of your posts. It’s not something I do personally, but everyone is different.
Give Mr Reader a try-out, and let us know in the comments what you think of it. $3.99 is not a bad price for a RSS reader that does everything that Mr Reader does, and it is in continual development (the developer says on his website that the iOS7 update is coming).
Download: Mr Reader for iPad ($3.99)
What do you think? Do you agree with me that Mr Reader rocks, or do you have a better candidate in mind?