A core part of browsing Hacker News or Reddit is opening the links and reading the articles, which are web pages. Once I'm opening web pages, then I want to be able to bookmark them, arrange them in tabs, find them in my history, have them saved in sessions by my session manager extension, configure how they are handled by my ad blocker, search for related information, and so on. In other words, I want a web browser.
The same issue applies the other way around, too. When I follow a link _to_ Hacker News, I want it to show up consistently. I don't want to end up with some Hacker News pages in browser tabs and some in a separate app, and then have trouble remembering where to find that page I was looking at yesterday.
I get that it can be nice to have a slimmed-down UI for specific purposes. But I'm puzzled by this particular use case because there is no neatly contained navigation sandbox — as soon as you follow a couple of links, you're just browsing the Web.
So why won't there be an inexorable push to expand Yack's feature set until it is a browser? Why won't users eventually switch back to using their regular browsers?
I want just a 'web browser'. What we've got today are network-native application runtimes that happen to run over the web. There are some cases where that's good, but for "reading an article", it's somewhere between "a waste" and "a channel ripe for abuse".
You talk about bookmarks, tabs, history, etc. I rarely use those for articles I see on HN. I use web browsers for a few very distinct use cases. (They just all happen to be delivered over the web because, I don't know, nobody wants to write applications any more.) "Reading an article" doesn't require bookmarks/tabs/history. I read it, and then I'm done. I mostly read HN in Private Browsing specifically so it doesn't litter up my history with some article I only want to see once. I mostly use Reader Mode, when possible, because I don't want any other junk besides the article. A full 2019 web browser for reading an article is a liability, not a feature. I rarely follow any links from them.
Saying that one needs to "configure an ad blocker" to read articles on the internet almost sounds like an admission of failure.
There shouldn't be an "inexorable" drive to make this into a full web browser, any more than there is for an email program. Email programs display HTML and let you click links, too. They are specific to one type of data, and display it using native controls. Nobody is browsing the web in Mail.app. They are browsing the web in their regular browsers, for the types of online experiences that require that.
But having to install a completely new browser for your desktop isn't? Installing uBlock Origin solves all your problems with trackers all over the web. Installing this electron app solves it for a few sites.
Keeping conversations going and following threads that don't just live inside forums but also commenting sections etc. is something very difficult and annoying with a web browser.
This could be a solution to keep conversations going longer than one keeps the tab/window with the according thread open.
In the future, it will allow users to curate their own feed and share it with others. For example; you can create a feed that has posts from specific channels on YouTube, subbreddits on Reddit and people on Twitter.
But..getting into the beta was a giant PITA.
1. Enter email
2. Check email
3. Download client
4. Go back to email, copy code
5. Paste code
6. Go back to email, click sign in link
7. Browser asks if it's ok to open Yack
8. Create profile in Yack (at this point I bounced)
Honestly, just let me download the beta directly, open it and have it Just Work. This is a new product and people will be skeptical. Friction is therefore your enemy.
Would it be possible to skip profile creation as well?
Will consider making the Yack profile optional. For the beta version it was necessary because the app has a "Feedback" community, which is built on top of Discourse - This is where users provide feedback and report bugs. Thought about creating a subreddit on Reddit for feedback/bug reports but for users who are on HN or YT, it was necessary to have Yack's own community.
Creating Yack profile automatically creates an account on Yack's Discourse instance but it never associates plugin accounts (hacker news, reddit, etc) with your Yack profile.
There are other ways to collect feedback than a Discourse instance. Why not just stand up a contact form, Twitter account, or email address?
Unfortunately, I just wouldn't install a native app for that. My browser is plenty performant to handle it, and I want to be able to call it up wherever I am -- on my home computer, work computer, friend's computer, backup work laptop, whatever -- without having to bother to install something. (And some companies don't let you install software.) Also I'd want to hide stories I've already read and want that to be synced, which necessitates a server anyways.
I'm genuinely curious what benefit a native app has here, why that direction was taken? I can honestly only see drawbacks. (I can understand an app on mobile, just not on desktop.)
The UI can also be designed with the user's best interest in mind, as an alternative to the egagement-driven dark UX patterns that have started becoming the status quo on the web in just a few years.
I use a CLI for Reddit specifically for this reason - I would definitely be potential user for something like Yack. Opening links from the app in an external browser is trivial. Now that you mention it, it'd be a good idea to make it work in the other direction as well. Surely it wouldn't be too tricky to make a browser extension for this?
What if there is this new community site? You need to develop something again in the unified browser to make it work.
I signed up for the beta, the most glaring omissions are:
1. Keyboard shortcuts. You'll probably want to implement arrow key navigation as well as Google Reader shortcuts (J=Next, K=Previous, see Reeder.app). RES is the gold standard you should be shooting for: http://joeross.me/res/
2. Expand at least a few levels of child comments by default. Apollo does a great job with this.
3. Remove avatar placeholders for services that do not have avatars.
4. Increase information density. In the same vertical space that I can see 14 posts on reddit.com, I can only see 10 in the compact view in your app. The comments are in worse shape, you must remove the spacing between the comment "cards".
Overall, I'm impressed with what you've built here and could see using this app. Keyboard shortcuts are a must before I would spend any significant time using it.
I have no involvement with them, but I like the PeerTube project. Might contribute to it in the future.
But it's social media though, so the other yakking will be involved...
You mean like a browser?
> Intuitive UI
I understand I'm probably not the target market for this - but I'm very uninspired by the Slack-copy design trend happening everywhere.
I can see this being a nice alternative to a few browser options for checking the latest across multiple sites. Pinned tabs, "Open All" bookmark folder, loose tabs, etc. Not ideal, imo, so having them all in one place and unified under a single UI might be kind of nice.
Can't really speak to the UI though since this is unfortunately macOS only :(
It's just another walled garden approach
Currently i use another browser for this(firefox is for browsing hackernews, chrome is for work since devtools are better)
Have you tried Firefox Developer Mode? I find it to be lots better, especially if you are using grid or flexbox.
Nice work, and looks pretty, but Feedly scratches this itch for me almost perfectly. And it expands well beyond Reddit and HN.
The only better solution would be if I hosted my own and used an open source app. I'll get around to it.
When I tried rss with Feedly before. I wasn’t getting blog post comments. I don’t think reddit/HN comments either but could be wrong there.
You get the title which is a link to the submission, a picture and a link to the comments. I'm on Android so hitting either opens a webview (powered by Firefox) with an X in the top left which leads back to feedly. I also have scrolling past a submission set to mark it as read.
Admittedly something which handled unread comments and notifications for replies could be more engaging, but I feel like I get enough HN as it is and I want to remain somewhat productive.
Looks very promising if it is really a native desktop app, but then if it is electron, then that is the equivalent to having a fixed set of Chrome tabs open with an ad-blocker on.
I hope when you say 'native' that this app actually is native, otherwise it will be yet another bloated app to add to my collection of electron apps on my MacBook.
Give it a try and don't forget to report back here :)
Also when logging into hacker news it's loading an internal web view instead of a popup, a popup safari web view would be better because of password autofill.
It has an open source plugin architecture which allows anyone to build a plugin for their favorite communities. If you're interested in helping out, shoot me an email at hello[at]yack.io
Looking forward to your feedback :)
What does native mean in this context? Looks like Electron from the screenshots.
Or is this just for the cool kids in the exclusive Apple community?
But my screen is large, I don't want or need my browser to be at full resolution, it shouldn't be assumed that it will be.
In fact, just looking at the screenshots now, I can see Yack is showing hash tags which were a highly use feature... but Courtland just ripped them out of the app last week!
This could be the answer, this could solve the problem of monopolies like YouTube.
> Blog posts, sign-up pages, and fundraisers can't be tried out, so they can't be Show HNs.
Read the “Show HN” rules please: https://news.ycombinator.com/showhn.html
Pepperidge Farms remembers.
And Feedly is free.
Sorry, I meant if comments are actually available in a majority or even a strong minority of RSS feeds. Last time I tried them, rarely were comments included. And def not for HN, etc.
EDIT: Oof, not so interesting in making a profile for it, though.
Didn't know Station was from YC. Yack is a native app with a custom UI/UX built specifically for browsing online communities. As far as I remember, Station was another wrapper that points to actual websites, no?
I'd also suggest using JPEG 2000 or WebP images, as they can be faster to load.
Considering this is shared here, I am willing to wait but usually I would click out if the images are taking too long to load especially considering that images provide major info in terms of whether I want to use this or not.
One question I have for the author is about keyboard access - there seem to be no keyboard shortcuts at all right now, or even basic navigation (up/down, etc.)
Is there any timeline on those sorts of things being available (or possible to add with a plugin)? Once those are in place it'll be far more practical for me to use Yack day-to-day...
Wish youR Mac app blows up and you make an iOS app one day.
Have your tried Apollo? It's a much better Reddit experience on iPad or iPhone than their official options, whether it's the website or their app.
Anyway, we need more of this sort of thing. Most social websites only have value as endpoints and relying on their own UI is just a vertical trap. CSS and designers have done huge damage to the web; a lot of the blame lies with marketing departments.
I've found having more purpose-driven usernames for some sites to be helpful, but the burden of switching between those users is immense and doesn't feel great.
One of my biggest fears is when I start to type in a URL during a screen share with a client who's website is REGEX.COM, and they will see my auto fill trying to take us to Reddit.com/SEXY_TOE_PARTY
Linux and Windows support will be added with the final release.
PS: you mention Windows in the landing page, but not Linux.
PS: If only everybody were implementing ATOM and doing it properly - we wouldn't have to implement any site-specific clients then.
Will you also release Linux and Windows versions or is it meant to be Mac-only?
I don't mean TypeScript is much worse. Python just is the first thing to come to my mind as "right tool for the job" when it's about textual content processing. I'm not saying "please implement Python support instead", I'm just explaining why I've mentioned Python first. TypeScript is great too.
Not nit picking here, but may put off some of us with mild OCD. :)
Otherwise, great concept! When are sign-ups for Mac opening?
Curated Feeds (Curating posts across multiple networks into a single feed)
Plugins for Stackoverflow & StackExchange.
This lead me into building an open source plugin architecture which allows anyone to bring their favorite communities to Yack.
Plugin architecture, with the help of some really talented engineers helped me quickly build plugins for my favorite communities (Reddit, YouTube, Indie Hackers and Hacker News).
As to answer your question, same argument can be made against Apple's Mail app (which has been a big inspiration for designing Yack). People have multiple email accounts, imagine they all had different UI and you had to have multiple tabs open at all times, switching back and forth, each with different UI/UX. That would suck. Even with a single email address, lots of people, including myself use Apple Mail instead of Gmail's website.
I'm a member of multiple Slack teams, it would suck if each looked different and provided different experience and I'd have to use a web browser to talk to my coworkers. Do you think Slack would take off if it was just a website and didn't provide a desktop experience?
Yack! combines multiple communities into a single, unified desktop experience and takes full advantage of the desktop platform, including native OS level notifications, keyboard shortcuts, and many more.
Are you using a bunch of secondary accounts just to comment on your post?