Before I go into more detail about the big new features and interface improvements in Byline 3.0, I’d like to talk a little about the fundamentals.
The first thing you’ll notice upon opening Byline 3.0 is that syncing is faster than ever. Byline now loads your items all in one go, rather than loading each folder separately. This offers several advantages besides faster syncing, not least the elimination of performance problems experienced by users who have a large number of folders. The only downside to this new approach is that high-volume feeds have the potential to swamp not only the folder they’re in but the whole app — if this is a problem for you, there’s a new setting to restrict syncing to feeds which appear in a particular folder. You’ll still see other folders, provided the feeds inside are also in the designated “main” folder.
Caching is still a necessarily slow process, but Byline is now much smarter about what it chooses to cache. By default, Byline will automatically cache web pages if it thinks the feed content for that item is incomplete, a determination it makes through statistical analysis of the length and content of each feed’s posts. This efficient little heuristic makes it more likely that the full article will be available at those frustrating moments when you want to read more but you’re offline and the feed only gives you the first few sentences of each article. You’ll also be able to manually enable or disable full web page syncing on a feed-by-feed basis.
Byline now saves data to permanent storage after every sync, and has a clever new way of keeping track of page caches. This means that if Byline crashes or isn’t given enough time to write data while quitting, the worst that can happen is that you’ll lose the most recent changes to the read, starred, or shared properties of items. You’ll never lose items loaded and cached in the last sync.
I’m excited about these changes, and I’m sure many of you who use Byline on a regular basis will be too. I’m working hard to get these improvements in your hands as soon as possible.