Yippee! Another air-punching moment was had this morning when I received my notification that version 1.1 of The Early Edition had been approved and was ready for sale. If a watched pot never boils, it’s amazing that this one got beyond lukewarm!
Here are the most notable new features and performance enhancements:
✔ Sections: Now you can group & view feeds in customized categories
✔ Google Reader / OPML feed & folder importing
✔ Feed discovery: Now you can enter a website URL & The Early Edition will search for discoverable feeds
✔ There are now four ways to filter your news: Last Fetch, Today, All Dates & Past Editions
✔ Saved state! Now when you exit the app and relaunch, it will go back to the page you were on
✔ Auto-fetch will now only occur the first time you launch the app on a given day
✔ Fetching now includes a progress bar as visual feedback
✔ You can now cancel a fetch before it is finished
✔ Speed & performance enhancements
✔ Greatly improved international character support
✔ UI enhancements
✔ App Store links now open the App Store instead of web previews
✔ New Help menu with answers to frequently asked questions
✔ Bug fixes, including some feeds that were causing crashes
Having the update approved is quite a load off our minds seeing as we’re leaving for WWDC in a few days. Thank you to those who’ve given us feedback and also to Apple for approving the update.
If you’ve got any suggestions or requests on this update, please use the feedback button in the app itself (tap the “i” button) so we have them all in the same place, rather than using the comments here.
History has a way of repeating itself doesn’t it. Following the announcement of the iPad earlier this year it seemed the hot new topic in the media and blogosphere was how the iPad was doomed to fail before it had even gone on sale. It was like Déjà vu of the days leading up to the launch of the iPhone (and look how that ‘failure’ panned out).
To be fair, the iPad was a pretty big risk for Apple. But it was a calculated risk, based on the runaway success of the iPhone (and its SDK for developers), which has been nothing short of a phenomenon.
I for one am glad that I took a punt on it being a successful development platform and I’m guessing there are more than a few journalists and bloggers trying to change the subject about now.
A very quick message to customers of The Early Edition: we’re really excited to announce that version 1.1 has been submitted to Apple for review. This update has some really nice enhancements – some big and some small. Thanks to everyone who has given us feedback and encouragement as we worked on this update. This one’s for you!
You may have heard that classic saying that sleep is a symptom of coffee deprivation. We feel a bit like living examples of it at the moment! Last night was no exception – a night filled with coding and bug squashing, followed by dreams about coding and bug squashing!
So the inevitable has occurred and one of us (the one who is not writing this post) has come down with a bad case of the lurgy, otherwise known as Onetoomanyum Latenightus.
In light of our self-imposed goal of submitting the 1.1 update to The Early Edition by the end of this week, I thought it would be good to fill you in, but reassure you that we are getting close to finishing and testing it. Health has to come first though and we appreciate your patience if you’re waiting on this update.
So even though more coffee is probably not the best medicine right now, a get-well wish for Nick in the comments can’t hurt.
If you were a fly on the wall at my house today, firstly I’m intrigued as to how you came to be reading this blog, but secondly you’d probably have wondered what sort of condition was causing me to jump around punching the air so uncontrollably.
One month after wading into the iPad sea, somehow we managed to catch a cracker of a wave thanks to Apple’s iTunes team by becoming this week’s iPad App of the Week. For me, possibly the nicest thing about this is knowing the criteria that The Early Edition had to meet in order to even be considered:
Each week we’re spotlighting a favorite that illustrates how apps are changing the way we live and play. Now you can create your own personal, daily newspaper based on your own news sources with The Early Edition.
“Changing the way we live and play”. That is such an amazing compliment coming from Apple, and it’s confirmation that we’ve made a great start at what we’re trying to achieve with The Early Edition.
Difficult as it is, we’ve got our heads back down and we’re ploughing through 1.1 with most of the groundwork done and the finish line in sight. We know there are a lot of people eagerly waiting and probably checking their updates tab each morning. Thanks for your patience and we’re looking forward to changing the way you consume written media even more, one update at a time.
UPDATE: More FAQs have been added HERE, since version 1.1 was released.
While we keep our heads down on version 1.1, I thought it would be helpful to post an article with some brief answers to frequently asked questions about The Early Edition.
Frequently asked questions
I’m new to this RSS thing. What does it mean?
RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’ (really it does!). An RSS feed is basically just a file or script sitting on a server somewhere which contains the information about that website’s articles, blog posts or whatever other web content it provides. It basically tells The Early Edition what to present on the page. And since you can combine whatever RSS feeds you like into your News Sources list, The Early Edition really becomes your own personal newspaper.
How do I find RSS feeds to add to my News Sources list?
In version 1.1 we’ll be introducing ‘feed discovery’ which means you’ll be able to enter a website and then The Early Edition will search it for valid RSS feeds and then suggest them in a list so you can just tap whichever you’d like to add.
But for now, go to your favorite websites and look for either the bright orange RSS icon (pictured) or a text link with the word RSS in it. In the big news websites these are often in the footer somewhere and they often have a wide variety of feeds to choose from (ie, front page, sport, technology, popular articles etc).
When you’ve found an RSS feed link you’d like to copy:
• hold your finger down on the link until a menu appears
• select ‘Copy’
• open The Early Edition
• press the ‘+’ button
• paste the feed into the text field.
Why do some articles have the full story and images in them, while others just have a headline and a short sentence or two of body text?
The amount of content in RSS feeds is completely dependent on the RSS publishers. Some will choose to include the entire articles as well as images, whereas others may include very little. Unfortunately that’s not something we have control over, which is why we’ve included the ‘View original’ button at the top of the full screen article view. Tapping this will take you directly to the original website where the article is published and you’ll have access to the whole thing.
Why isn’t page turning as quick as it is in iBooks?
Due to the complexity of the page layouts we’re using in The Early Edition, there is a lot more to render on our next/previous pages, so it does take a little longer for the page to turn. Having said that, we are always working to improve this and in 1.1 we have managed to improve the speed of both page turns and the time it takes to fetch articles due to some work we’ve done under the hood.
Why are there a lot more articles on the first day than on subsequent days?
When The Early Edition fetches new articles, it looks for all articles that have been posted since the last fetch. On the first day there hasn’t been a previous fetch, so it collects all articles from each feed in the News Sources list, even if they were posted many days ago. Then on the next day it will only fetch articles posted since yesterday. If you find that there isn’t enough content for you on day 2, the best thing to do is look for more feeds to add to your News Sources list.
Does The Early Edition support read/unread status for articles?
Not yet. This was a deliberate decision originally, in order to keep the newspaper metaphor uncluttered, but we are keen to add this feature very soon due to popular demand. Once we’ve finished 1.1 we’ll be deciding on the roadmap for future updates.
What about options for sharing articles?
At the moment we support Instapaper and emailing of article links, but we are planning Twitter, Facebook and other sharing options soon.
What about saving my place when I quit the app and come back again?
Great idea! There have been a lot of requests for this and we are keen to implement it, so stay tuned for this in a future update.
What other features are coming in version 1.1?
• Google Reader/OPML feed import
• Feed groups (for categorizing your feeds into sections)
• Feed discovery (as mentioned above)
• Speed and performance enhancements
I love The Early Edition! How can I express this enough?
We love hearing from customers who are enjoying our work. One way is to send a quick email to let us know. Another is to post a review of The Early Edition on the App Store!