Read It Later 2.0 is now available: everywhere.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Read It Later has been redesigned. 2.0 packs a lot more features than it’s predecessor, yet it’s interface is cleaner and less cluttered. The redesign had 3 main goals:
- Be smarter. Do more automatically for the user. Don’t ask a user to click a button, click it for them.
- Focus on readability. Each function or button should always be just under your finger when you need it, but until then, keep it out of the way.
- Consistency. Every part of the service should have the same unified look and feel.
Read It Later now syncs your position in every article between all of your devices. This means you can start reading an article on your computer, get up, grab your phone, and pick up exactly where you left off.
Tagging has been supported in the Firefox version of RIL for over a year. In 2.0, tagging has not only been made easier and more useful in Firefox, but it is now supported directly in the iPhone app too.
This makes categorizing your items into groups and folders a snap.
Downloading and Syncing
Read It Later is a lot smarter about how it manages your reading. Whenever you open an article from your list, you will always be presented with the article itself, not options to choose how you want to view it. If RIL has an offline copy, it will display that, if not, you’ll get the live version directly from the web.
The new offline downloading engine runs smoothly in the background and it’s progress is represented clearly by a progress bar in the top status bar. Each item in your list is shaded to indicate if an item is ready to be viewed offline. White means it’s been downloaded, dark means it hasn’t.
While reading you can now turn the text view on or off with a single tap.
This when combined with the new ‘Read It Now’ link option, means you can browse through any number of pages, all in text view, without ever having to download/view the web view first.
You’ll notice that every interaction with the app is faster, smoother, and more responsive. 2.0 shares zero code with it’s 1.3 predecessor. It packs way more features into the app, yet the 2.0 codebase is actually smaller than 1.3.
Editing and Tagging
You can now manage your list directly on your phone. You can edit titles and organize your list using tags.
You can access a tag directory to easily find all of your pages on a specific topic.
Tweetie (a Twitter iPhone app), popularized this and ever since I used it the first time, I keep trying the same action in every app I use, it’s just that intuitive.
You can now swipe any item in your list to get a quick action menu. Without opening the article, you can edit, manually download, remove, or even share your item.
The read archive is now completely searchable and sortable.
Additionally you can now permanently delete items from your archive directly from the app.
Faster, More Compatible
The entire app was rebuilt from scratch and is a lean machine compared to the old version. Clicking through even long reading lists is now faster and more responsive.
Your items are no longer stored in Firefox’s bookmarks. This solves almost all major bugs with the app alone. As a result, other add-ons are now less likely to interfere with RIL. (Issues with Weave and Foxmarks most notably)
With a single click you can convert any article to an optimized text only view. This extracts the articles contents, removing images and extraneous layout content and presents it in a clean, consistent way that’s incredibly easy to read.
The offline downloading engine has been rewritten. It now runs faster and more importantly, is more accurate at capturing a website in it’s entirety.
Read It Later also manages your offline cache in a more intelligent way. You no longer have to enable Firefox to ‘Work Offline’. If you try to access a page from your list and have no connection (or the connection dies mid way), RIL will step in and serve you the offline version.
Editing & Tags
You can now directly edit your items inline. While browsing your list, simply click the edit icon and you can instantly modify an item’s title and add tags to help categorize your list.
If you use tags, you can now browse your tags in the tag directory. This helps manage your tags and items like folders, making it easy to find your items on a specific topic.
The 2.0 Launch
In all honesty, I had expected Apple’s review process to take longer. 2.0 was approved in record time, 2 days before even my earliest expectations. As a result, you’ll see continued improvements and updates over the coming week.
The Next Step
After I tie off the remaining 2.0 todos, I will begin work on something I’ve been sketching out and planning for many months. It’s a new extension to the entire Read It Later platform and if I can pull it off, it’s going to rock. Really hard.