Friday, June 11, 2010

NewsRob June Release / 4.0

Want to report a bug? Discuss a feature? Need help? Please come to the mailing list:
Want to submit a feature suggestion?
Looking for the FAQ:

This is the release focussed on enhancing existing functionality, fixing bugs and improving performance, so a Snow NewsRob release ;) I also laid down groundwork for features of upcoming releases. The changes are roughly sorted by their importance. Hence feel free to skip the remainder at any time you find yourself bored ;)

While we're at it. What is most important to you? Let me know on the sidebar poll.

NewsRob June Release

Fit-To-Width can now be disabled

The fit-to-width option introduced in the last release can now be disabled on a per-feed-basis. Many people showed their support for this on user voice and I should've included that in the original release.

Toggle Theme (Pro)

Changing themes does not make it necessary anymore to reopen the previously opened screens or more accurately NewsRob now does this for you.
Also you can now use a menu action to toggle between those two themes.

Full Screen (Pro)

In the article detail view you can double tap the content area (the article's body) and toggle in and out of a full screen mode.

Global download option "Articles + Images + Full Web Page" gone

The mentioned option is gone as a global default, because it never really made sense except for consistency. This extra effort in bandwidth and battery is only worth it if you have partial feeds. For the majority of feeds it doesn't make sense, but if unsuspectingly configured it will lead to more battery and bandwidth consumption than necessary.
Of course, on a per-feed-basis you can still use that option.

Stable sorting

In previous versions marking an article read/unread may have resulted in the article "jumping" in the current list. This was sometimes the case for articles that were published at the same time. This is now fixed.

List Refresh

In a dump attempt to improve performance previous versions of NewsRob sometimes delayed the refreshing of the article list. Because of this it was possible that you tapped on an article, but instead of opening this article, NewsRob would open one of the new articles that were just downloaded just this moment. From this version on this should not happen anymore under normal circumstances.

User Voice: Keep UI synced.

Upsync not working

A bug is now fixed that sometimes lead to the upsync (uploading your changes) failing when the app was open longer than 30 minutes.


In the previous version NewsRob was doing an automatic relogin (when configured), but unfortunately still showed the notification that a relogin was needed. This healed itself during the next sync.
This is fixed now.

Returning to Article Detail View

When returning to the Article Detail View from a phone call or something similar then you were not able to move to the previous articles. I found a way to enable this for more cases than before.
User Voice: Previous Bug.

Airplane Mode now observed explicitly

When in Airplane mode NewsRob will not sync or download anymore, even if you manually request it and NewsRob will tell you so.
However this is more of a hygienic issue. NewsRob also wasn't able to download/sync/run down your battery before. But now it's handled more explicitly.

Downloading of articles with global default "Articles"

When setting the global download default to "Articles" NewsRob was still downloading "Articles + Images". This is fixed now.

Known Issues - Froyo

YouTube video thumbnails are no longer displayed. I currently don't know why that is.
Let's wait for Froyo to officially come out and I'll have another look.
Also the current beta of Flash doesn't seem to be stable. I'll keep an eye on that too. If you have any specific knowledge on those issues, let me know.

Action Bar

Google announced on the 12th of May that they will open source the twitter app. I am waiting for this to happen and will work on the action bar.

Info Message (Pro)

When you select the installed Pro app in the Android Market app the "open" button will now show a message explaining that you're done and can use the free version with the unlocked pro features.


Values in list preferences are now shown in the overview.


  1. Great work Mariano!!!

    This app worths every cent.

    I'm glad of the new quick-theme-change method. I dont use it a lot but the way it was implemented before wasnt very practical.

    I love the new Full Screen Mode. Maybe it would be better if you would have implemented in the way we thought before (when you go to the top of the screen you can see the tittle and when you go down it hides) but I know you didnt get the information to do it so this solution works really well and I like it!

    More things: the option to disable the image-fit is very practical. I was having some problems with some comic feeds I usually read so now, I have to option to disable the resize in those feeds. Very useful.

    And finally one question. Well I sync with Google Reader it usually takes a long time to do it (mainly in the delete read articles part). I have the "show progress in notification" option activated. Well, I am pretty sure that this issue is because the microsd card I have is crap and is very slow.

    Well, can I know, in some way, if the problem is the sdcard or the app (maybe some bug or something). How can I know it? Reading the logcat? Any suggestion?

    In sum, you are making a great work with the app. I am really (really) happy with it!


    PS. yeap, I know, my english is not very good.

  2. Hi J,

    thanks for your detailed feedback and your English is great ... if I dare say so, not being a native speaker myself.

    Well, indeed the major part of the deletion phase is SD card performance. SD cards are very slow in writing and erasing. Do you have enough space left? As more space you have left as better. Just having 10% free will not work well, because writing and deleting will cause many blocks to be rearranged then.

    You can turn on logging, but I am not sure how much you would be able to see then, but it's worth a shot and I could add some more instrumentation if there is not enough information. Come to the list then (

    What you can try is make a full sync and then time "Clear Cache". Then make another sync, put the phone on your PC/Mac and then time the deletion of the NewsRob dir yourself.

  3. Great changes! Its really the best RSS App out there. Functionality is more worth than fancy schnickschnack.
    But please reenable the mark read menu entry (my thumb is not long enough for the top of the screen).

  4. Stillwerwinter, I am waiting for Google to release the twitter code and then I'll work on the action bar topic again.

  5. So are you saying you cannot sync/refresh in airplane mode even if wifi is on? If so that sucks as I live in a basement so the only way I can update it when I am home is via wifi. I have airplane mode on, hen turn wifi on to save the battery so the phone isn't constantly looking for a signal.

    Is there a way I can roll back to the previous version until this is added as a configurable option?

  6. Dee,

  7. Hi, great app and my favorite Android RSS reader by far. However, one thing I would love to see is a way to swipe left and right to go between articles. For an example check out Byline on the iPhone. Thanks again for the great RSS reader!

  8. Hey, new to this app, and I'd like to congratulate you with a very usable app, good functionality, clear UI, I am very much considering upgrading to Pro.

    Just one issue (And I am probably guilty of just not being able to find the option) I still can't get my read articles to stay on my phone, they seem to be deleted once read, even though the Synchronisation Type is set to Keep and Sync: All Articles...

    I'm probably just being dense but a point in the right direction would be appreciated!

  9. Hi Calum.

    Thanks very much for your praise.

    The read articles are deleted eventually (except in the Pro version when you star them). When you use "all articles" then the oldest articles (no matter of read or not) are deleted when your are at capacity, say 500 articles, and new articles, say 20, are available. In that case the 20 oldest articles are removed.

    Hope that makes sense?

  10. Yeah that makes sense, but I don't think that's the issue. My capacity is 500 articles, but even now, when there are only 453 downloaded through the reader, so capacity for new articles isn't an issue, once I've read an article it instantly disappears from the list.

    Is there some kind of hide/unhide read articles setting that I've missed?

  11. Ah, I see.

    Yes, there is. There is a circular botton on the action bar in the lists. It toggles between hiding/showing read articles.

  12. I thought it would be that simple. Thanks for your help!

  13. Fantastic application.

    Sync is sometimes flaky, as in it doesn't always match up with read/unread on google reader.

    However, my main issue is that I cannot figure out how to view "starred" items.


  14. If you think that sync is flaky please come to the list and explain in detail:

    There is a label called "my recently starred". It contains all the starred articles on your phone. You may need to tap the circular icon on the toolbar to show the read articles also.

    How many starred articles are on your phone depends on how many starred articles are currently in scope or if you have the Pro version how many starred articles you have NewsRob configured to fetch.

  15. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly!

    I see how it works and I am able to view my starred items which have been read.

    However, it does not sync older starred items that I starred on the web interface of Google reader. So, I can only see starred items which are recently starred (from my Android handset).

    Is this they way it is supposed to work or am I missing something?

    The flakiness was my bad connection I think as it worked fine now.

    Is there any place besides the market where I can buy the Pro version? I don’t have paid apps where I live.

    Again great application!

  16. Correct. Syncing older starred articles is a pro feature.

    Yes, it is very disappointing that the paid Android Market doesn't get to more countries quicker.

    Hence I added another pay option:

    Cheers, Mariano

  17. Hey Mariano,

    I just upgraded to Pro because I enjoy the app so much. However on the new release I keep accidentally double tapping the screen when I scroll, so I am accidentally turning full screen view on and off.

    A configuration setting to enable/disable full screen view in the "User Interface" Settings menu would fix my problem.


  18. Hi Zach.

    Sounds great ;-)

    Regarding the option. NewsRob actually needs fewer options not more ;)

    Anything I can do to prevent this mode from accidentally being activated? What phone do you use? How do you accidentally toggle the full screen mode?


  19. I use a Droid. Normally I accidentally trigger it when I'm scrolling past a news item with a lot of pictures to get to the end - I scroll multiple times to keep the scrolling fast. So, this might be a user error :)

    The sensitivity might be a bit high. I also might be a bit of a butterfinger. Just something to consider, thanks for listening and responding!

  20. I currently have a max time span of 400 ms to recognize the gesture. Let me reduce it to 300 ms (maybe 250) for the next release. And if that doesn't work you can tell me again and I will reduce it another 50 ms.

    Shall we try this approach?

  21. Can I just start by saying how much I love your app and best Android RSS out there.

    On the per feed option for syncing text, images or cut down page, would it be possible to have the option to load a cut down (mobilised) page per article as well as per feed. When there are reduced feeds that only show previews, you have the option of downloading all images and mobilized page or opening the FULL page in the browser.

    What would be really cool here would be the option to open in browser, or open as a mobilized page for just that specific article. That way you'd save battery from not mobilizing the whole stream, just the article you want.

    Also, I'd recommend using instapaper instead of google (or at least the choice) for mobilization as it tends to give much better results (

    Please keep up the great work on a great app.

  22. Thanks Ryu.

    The August release of NewsRob may feature as an additional mobilizer.

    Regarding the per article option I think it would be more Android like if you would share the link of the article with an app that uses Instapaper or another Mobilizer.

    In future versions of NewsRob it will be possible to add those share operations to a dedicated menu items.

  23. Is it just me.. or did the fullscreen mode just move to the Pro version. I'm sure I had that functionality in the free version.

    Another thing... the trackball on my Eris won't toggle read/unread so I have to drop to menu to keep "unread" status.

    BTW, I tried to buy PRO but my AMEX card wouldn't go through... oh well...

  24. Bob, hmmh. I got another mail regarding that.

    The full screen mode should've never worked in the lite version. But it did before?
    I will likely make this eventually available in the free version, but not now and I need to find a fix for an issue first (entering full screen mode in the free version sometimes visually hangs).

    Sorry for the confusion.

    Regarding the trackball. What exactly are you trying to do? You can use a swipe gesture on the article header instead left to right marks an article as read, right to left marks it unread.