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News Explorer 1.6: Now available on all platforms

News Explorer version 1.6, with support for JSON Feed, is now available on all Apple platforms.

New features

News Explorer 1.6 contains the following new features:

  • Support for the new JSON Feed syndication format. See previous blog post for more details.
  • Enhanced auto-discovery when adding website URLs, to detect JSON Feed URLs (macOS and iOS).
  • Implemented HTTP Conditional GET to minimize network traffic. See previous post for more details.
  • Automatic detection of copied URLs when adding new feeds (macOS and iOS).
  • New options to open or preload an article in the default browser when clicking on the article title, in addition to opening the article in the in-app browser (macOS).
  • Idem, when double-clicking an item in the article list (macOS).
  • Support for protocol-relative article links (macOS, other platforms will follow).
  • Improved support for Google RSS feeds.

News Explorer 1.6 iOS

Availability

You only need to buy two apps to cover all Apple platforms:

  • News Explorer for Mac is available on the Betamagic Store, on the Mac App Store and is part of a Setapp subscription.
  • News Explorer for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV is a universal purchase app, available on the App Store of the mentioned devices. Universal purchase allows you to purchase News Explorer once, and then access it on all connected platforms.

More information can be found on the News Explorer product page. We will update the Help page as soon as possible to reflect the new changes.


News Explorer 1.6: JSON Feed support

News Explorer 1.6 introduces support for the new JSON Feed syndication format. This format has been introduced last week and is a modern successor for the good old RSS and Atom formats. The main advantages of JSON Feed compared to RSS and Atom are:

  • It's based on JSON instead of XML. JSON is a simple and far more efficient data container than XML.
  • It's better structured. The 'data model' of JSON Feed contains nearly all fields that a modern newsreader needs, without the need for complex methods to generate a summary, main image and so on.
  • It's new. This means that publishers will likely follow the new JSON Feed definition by the rule without introducing or adopting all kinds of exotic 'extras', as is often the case with RSS feeds.
  • It's easy to implement and test. This applies both to publishers and app developers.

Currently there are only a few publishers that have implemented JSON Feed, so we're currently still in the chicken-and-egg phase. We at Betamagic love JSON and we really hope that JSON Feed will become the first choice syndication format of the near future, so we're happy to help this new format.

More info: jsonfeed.org.


News Explorer 1.6

Other new features

  • Implemented HTTP Conditional GET to minimize network traffic. The JSON Feed format doesn't have a 'publication date' on feed level to determine if a feed has been changed or not. It relies fully on HTTP features when possible, such as a 'Last-Modified' HTTP header field. This is in fact more efficient and less error prone, so we implemented it also for RSS and Atom formatted feeds. About 50% of all servers supports the 'Last-Modified' header field.
  • Automatic detection of copied URL's when adding new feeds. This means that when you copy an internet address and starts the 'Add new Feed' dialog, the URL is already present in the dialog.

More information can be found on the News Explorer product page.


News Explorer 1.5.1: Fixes and refinements

News Explorer 1.5.1 contains some refinements on the new features added in the previous version 1.5 plus some other fixes and enhancements.

Improved YouTube RSS feed detection

The 'Add new Feed' dialog of the macOS and iOS versions of News Explorer has now been enhanced to properly process YouTube channel web addresses that end with an identifier instead of a readable name. If you copy a lot of web address of YouTube channels, you may see that there are three different formats. The 'classic' format ends with channel/name. Some newer channels end with user/name. And there is a category ending with channel/identifier, like https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv5iVjD-tFfl04V4AB4XRYw, which is the YouTube channel of Apple Japan. The metadata of the last kind of channel pages don't include a reference to a RSS channel. The enhanced 'Add new Feed' dialog detects this kind of web addresses and changes it automatically to an alternative YouTube web address that does contain the needed RSS metadata using the identifier of the original address. Please read the YouTube topic in the updated Help page for detailed instructions how to add and use YouTube channel feeds in News Explorer 1.5.1.


News Explorer 1.5.1

Other fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a duplication issue with legacy YouTube feed data.
  • Twitter feeds within OPML files are now properly imported.
  • Enhanced handling of feed icons with problematic sources.
  • Action "Open next subscription" is now the default for setting "After marking all as read".
  • Improved the performance of the Mark All as Read action in folders and smart filters.
  • Improved generation of title and summary for Tweets in Twitter feeds.
  • Improved refresh of the sidebar after Mark All as Read (macOS).
  • Last used source and target folder are now saved in the Search new Feeds and Add new Feed dialog (macOS).
  • Clear command works now as intended after manually marking items as read (macOS).
  • Improved validation when adding Twitter hashtag feeds (macOS and iOS).
  • Improved rendering of search results in the Search new Feeds dialog (iOS).
  • Added the missing Verified symbol in Twitter search results (tvOS).
  • Several other bug fixes.

News Explorer 1.5: Twitter news feeds

We're excited to release News Explorer 1.5 today. It comes with a huge addition, Twitter news feeds and lots of neat improvements.

Twitter feed support

With News Explorer 1.5 you can subscribe to Twitter feeds. Each Tweet is listed and can be handled similar to other news items, including offline reading. Tweets are pixel perfect rendered according to the Twitter guidelines, with full support for interaction. You can reply, retweet and like each displayed Tweet in the macOS and iOS version. Both Twitter user account timeline feeds and hashtag feeds are supported. Adding Twitter user account feeds is now part of the Feed search dialog on all platform versions, which makes it really simple to start using Twitter feeds in News Explorer. Read the Twitter topic in the updated Help page for more info.


News Explorer 1.5

Improved YouTube channel feed support

Support for YouTube channel subscription feeds has been improved. Both the text content and video content of each YouTube feed item are now properly displayed, including a working video stream. It's really fantastic and fun to browse through a YouTube channel feed on the Apple TV, and to be able to play each video in full HD resolution. Read the YouTube topic in the updated Help page for detailed instructions how to add and use YouTube channel feeds in News Explorer.

Other improvements

  • Improved memory management when switching between views (macOS).
  • Solved image resizing issues in the Timeline view (macOS).
  • Automatic closing of network warnings after reconnection (macOS).
  • Improved implementation of the 'Auto hide subscriptions' option (macOS).
  • Navigate to the next or previous item by swiping or scrolling (iOS).
  • Improved support for video playback within news items (tvOS).

Movie Explorer 1.7.2: Multiple refinements

Movie Explorer 1.7.2 is a small maintenance release that contains the following changes:

Improvements

  • TV Show filenames may now contain the year of the first air date, to improve the matching results. This is very useful for TV Shows with one or more remakes, like Battlestar Galactica, The Americans and many others. The scanner engine will now assign a TV Show to the correct (original, remake or otherwise equally named) version when a year number is included in the filename. The year number must be placed between the TV Show title and the season/episode indicators.
    Format:   [show name] [year] s[season number]e[episode number].[ext]
    Example: Battlestar Galactica 2005 s01e01.mp4
  • Episode numbers larger than 99 are now properly recognised. This is especially useful for specials or other content that isn't part of a standard season. These kind of episodes are normally part of an artificial season '00', and can sometimes easily pass the two-digits number.
  • Improved recognition of TV Shows with diacritic characters. Especially a lot of French users will benefit if this improvement.
  • Added support for region specific localised data. For example 'Portuguese (Brazil)' or 'French (Canada)' are now properly handled. Availability of localised data for a particular media item depends on the availability in TMDb.
  • New option to search for plot keywords in the Movies and TV Shows view. To use it, enable setting 'Search on title and plot in Movies and TV Shows view' in the Advanced tab page of the Preferences panel.
  • Improved display of images in the Gallery Viewer. Images are now always zoomed to fit the window size of the Gallery viewer.

Fixes

  • Scrollbars are now always displayed according to the system settings. In the previous version of Movie Explorer, the scrollbar style was forced to be hidden unless the user scrolls, no matter what kind of mouse or touch pad the user has. If you use a classic scroll wheel mouse and don't like all those visible scrollbars, then open the System Preferences panel, go to the General tab and change setting 'Show scroll bars' to 'When scrolling'.
  • Fixed window resizing of the Match dialog. The automatic resizing disappeared in one of the previous updates of Movie Explorer.
  • Solves a problem with languages with an incomplete genres set. Using a language for localized scanning could result in a crash when that language had an incomplete set of translated genres.

If you like this update, or Movie Explorer in general, then please support us by leaving a positive review or rating in the Mac App Store and on MacUpdate.com. This really helps the visibility and future development of the app. Thanks!


Movie Explorer 1.7.2

Review of News Explorer on Setapp

News Explorer is now available on Setapp. Or rather, also available on Setapp. The existing channels to purchase News Explorer remain unchanged. If you have never heard of Setapp, then you haven’t visited any Mac related website for the last few weeks, as there was intense media attention for this new concept. Setapp from MacPaw is basically a subscription service for macOS apps. Some say it’s the Netflix for macOS apps. I don’t like that comparison, because I don’t really like Netflix, but otherwise it’s a clarifying statement.

The Quest for the holy grail of Mac apps

A lot of Mac users want a safe, reliable, clean and easy way to find, install and use apps. Apple introduced the Mac App Store for that in 2010. However, nowadays the Mac App Store has become an overcrowded place full of apps of mixed quality, including way too many lousy apps that are just existing webpages in a web viewer. A lot of other apps are simply not available because of the limitations of the Mac App Store, or because the original developers decided to leave the store. There are also some websites that try to list and offer Mac apps, like MacUpdate. But most of these websites, if not all, do feel even more unsafe, unreliable and cluttered than the original Mac App Store.

Setapp as a fresh and solid alternative

With Setapp you get a special folder on your Mac filled with an uncluttered collection of hand-picked high-quality productivity apps. The apps in this folder are initially pointers to the real apps, to save disk space. Clicking on such pointer, or ‘teaser-app’ in MacPaw terminology, opens a preview of that app with some useful info and screenshots. The preview gives you the option to actually download and start the app. After using an app you can delete it if you wish, and you get the original pointer to the app back.


Setapp

The current state of Setapp

The whole Setapp system looks and feels very well designed and it works fast and reliable. The collection contains some very useful apps for daily use, and a lot of other handy apps that you wouldn’t normally purchase as a single app because they are either too expensive or you don’t need them that often. Everything is now within reach for a small monthly fee. The current collection contains more than 70 apps, but this will grow to about 300 in the coming months.

Try it yourself

The best way to find out whether Setapp is useful to you is to use the free trial. This gives you one month free access to all apps, without any strings attached. Just hit the button below to start your free trial.


News Explorer 1.4.5: Important minor release

News Explorer 1.4.5 for macOS is the first release of the app that can be downloaded and purchased directly from our website. After downloading the app you can try it for free for 7 days. After this trial period, you can decide to purchase a license key from the Betamagic Store or to download the app on the Mac App Store.

But there is more… News Explorer 1.4.5 contains the following new features and improvements:

  • Font style and size of the news article viewer can now be adjusted.
  • The font size of the article viewer can easily be changed with new zoom menu items and shortcut keys.
  • Support for HTTP authenticated RSS feeds has been extended with support for Digest HTTP authentication.
  • You can now sort news articles on download date, in addition to the publication date.
  • The 'Add new feed' dialog has been improved, you may now skip the cumbersome 'http' prefix.
  • Implementation of the global 'Unread' filter has been changed, which saves a lot of memory.
  • Nice new About form.
  • And a lot of other technical enhancements.

News Explorer

Net Radar 1.0.2: Betamagic’s first ‘retail’ app

We believe that the Mac App Store is the most user-friendly way of finding, buying and installing software. But from a developer perspective it’s just a bit too restrictive. So we have recently invested some time to develop an internal ‘Retail Framework’ that enables us to distribute macOS software outside the Mac App Store. Net Radar happens to be our first ‘multi-distribution-channels’ app. Why did we invest in a new distribution method?

  1. A lot of macOS customers are used to ‘try before you buy’. This is not really possible with the Mac App Store.
  2. We want to have more freedom regarding the functionality we put in our macOS apps.

As said, Net Radar is our first app that can be directly downloaded from our website. You can try the software for 7 days. After or during this period, you can buy a license key to activate the software, or you can still purchase the software from the Mac App Store. If you buy it directly from us than the whole payment handling is done by FastSpring, a super reliable reseller.

If everything goes well with this first ‘retail’ experiment then we will apply it to some of our other apps. We will offer more trial versions, or even complete new versions that include extra features that are or were not allowed within the Mac App Store.


Net Radar

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