The biggest and most welcome change – keyboard navigation. Now, instead of scrolling feeds with a lot of items and switching between feeds while moving the mouse all over the screen, one can use keyboard shortcuts. ‘
j‘ and ‘
s‘ are my two favourites. By pressing ‘
j‘ it is no possible to jump to the next item in the feed. No scrolling. No mouse. Simply go there. By pressing ‘
s‘ it is trivial to go to the next feed with unread items. Again, no mouse involved. Just these two keyboard shortcuts speed up reading a lot. And I needed the whole two seconds to get used to them. Amazing!
Another bit that makes reading the web through Bloglines even easier and again faster is the recently introduced difference between unread items and items marked as ‘Keep New’. Before both of these were shown as new and there was a counter of all new items on the left by the feed title. Now, these are separated and although they are displayed the same, there is an extra number at the feed title. It shows something like ‘100:5’. 100 in this example represents the number of unread items, while 5 shows the number of items that you marked as ‘Keep New’. With this functionality it is easy to avoid feeds that only have items marked as ‘Keep New’.
There were also some changes with mobile interface. If you read Bloglines from your phone, like I do, you’ll be glad to welcome new bits. Firstly, it is now possible to use ‘Keep New’ functionality. That’s great because some articles or links you would really like to check out from the normal PC, not a limited device like mobile. And secondly, it is now possible to access enclosures, like mp3 podcasts or images. I wasn’t missing this a lot, but I am sure I will find a way to use it now that it is available.
It’s nice to see that Bloglines is still getting some developer attention with all its popularity. There are a lot of good features, but there is, of course, room for improvement. As usual. Top two items on my wishlist are:
- Automatic feed expiration. I want to use this for blog comments RSS feeds. It’s more than enough to monitor these for a couple of month and if there were no updates – throw them away.
- Automatic synchronization with LiveJournal friends list. I am seek and tired of adding friends at LiveJournal and than readding them at Bloglines. And than editing them. And than removing. And than adding again. This should be synchronized on a weekly basis. Bloglines should do it. Or I will write the script myself soon.