Nearly ten years ago, inspired by Apple’s removal of the “RSS” button from Safari 6, I released a standalone Safari extension called Subscribe to Feed. The extension simply replaced the functionality of having an easy way to subscribe to the RSS feed of any web site you might be viewing.
This worked great for many years, until Apple’s ever-increasing security controls changed the behavior of Safari extensions such that they couldn’t call out to desktop apps (such as a news reader) without requiring approval from the user each and every time. This made the process of subscribing to a feed more cumbersome, albeit still easier than manually searching for the feed URL, copying, and pasting it into an RSS reader app.
When Brent Simmons resurrected NetNewsWire, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to carry on the mission of the Subscribe to Feed extension. Native applications on the Mac can offer Safari app extensions that extend the browser in ways that are similar to traditional web browser extensions, but which are not subject to the same tedious security restrictions. The idea is that if the user knowingly installs an app and then enables the corresponding extension, they are probably happy to have its functionality performed without warning.
I implemented a simple version of Subscribe to Feed within NetNewsWire a few years ago, but held off on “announcing it” per se, because I was waiting for some pieces to fall together so that I could endorse it as a fully-functional replacement for the old Subscribe to Feed extension. One of my main criteria was that the extension should be useful to people even if they don’t use NetNewsWire.
With the release of NetNewsWire 6.1, the app now has a preference for the Safari extensions so you can choose whether to open feeds in NetNewsWire itself, or in the default news reader.
So if you are a fan of another RSS app that doesn’t have its own Safari extension, you can simply install NetNewsWire 6.1, configure the Safari extension to open feeds in your default app, and enjoy the full functionality of the “Subscribe to Feed” extension without ever launching NetNewsWire again. Though you might as well give it another look since it’s there …