Kula Software, developers of the fantastic blog editor ecto, have just released their answer to news readers. Endo, who’s name plays off that of its sibling, has a few refreshingly new and well executed features that make it stand out from the get-go. To begin with, the first time you launch endo, you are taken through a very handy set-up utility. With it, you can import your feeds from an OPML file, set some preferences, and set-up some of endo’s cooler features; integration with flickr, del.icio.us, and Technorati. You are offered the option of automatically tracking links to your personal blog, comments and responses from your flickr account, as well as anybody linking to your site from del.iciou.us. All of these steps are simple and fast to set up, forcing you only to enter the URL of your site and your flickr user name. These feeds are combined into a special “Me” folder within endo. This sort of integration with “web 2.0” sites is a very nice touch, and does a lot to make up for some of my gripes with the program.
Even if a feed provides full text articles, endo will only show a portion of it. Additionally, endo will not show the links within that portion. This is a real pain in the ass when dealing with sites like digg or the like, where the content is almost always on a linked page. The endo interface is unique to say the least, nothing like the regular 3-paned interface of most other news readers. It takes a while to get used to, but once you do, its easy to appreciate the care taken when designing it. My big issue with it is that display styles can not be set universally, so I have to go through all of my 300 feeds and pick the style I want. The way endo shows articles takes up a lot of space, and although does present a lot of information, I would like a way to set feeds to “collapse” their articles by default. Endo also does not seem to have an auto-update feature, which some people might find a deal-breaker. For me at least, endo won’t be replacing trusty old NetNewsWire, but I’m sure I’ll be opening it up once in a while just to get a taste of what a news reader can be. Never the less, I whole-heartedly suggest you at least check endo out.
UPDATE: Suddenly, as soon as I have this posted, I realized that I had jumped to conclusions far to quickly. Turns out the exact feeds I was testing had recently changed their feeds so that they sent plain-text summaries.