Q: The Hacker News website provides much more functionality than your app.
A: That's right. The app isn't made to replace the Hacker News website. It's made for frequent readers like me who want a quick and friendly-on-the-eye way to access the stories.
Q: I want your app but I don't want to pay for it.
A: No problem, Hacky is open source! Just get a copy of the source on GitHub and build it on your machine.
Q: Why are you then charging money for it in the first place?
A: Personally I like getting my apps via Mac App Store. It means easy updating and restoring. Unfortunately providing an app in the MAS isn't free for the developer as he has to purchase a Developer Certificate from Apple. (Additionally a developer likes to buy a beer from time to time)
Mac App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hacky/id584949645?ls=1&m...
Edit: Here, have some Promo Codes:
Q: The food plucked from the ground tastes better than yours.
A: Great! Pluck away. I offer convenience.
Q: I want your meal but don't want to pay for it.
A: Uh... ok. Here's the recipe. Cook away.
Q: Why are you charging money for your food in the first place?
A: I need to pay for knives, forks, and the macronutrients that keep my body alive. I hope that's ok with you.
A one-time purchase of a few dollars is well worth saving a HN reader minutes a day.
Anyway, thanks for this. I've been hoping someone would make this exact app for a long time now.
I thought to distribute some app in the same way too: "can you build it? It's free if you don't want to pay for it."
Other OSS projects use that model (I can think of Todo.txt Android app, for example).
But I'm not sure that it works exactly like "can you build it? It's free if you don't want to pay for it". OSS is about distribution. Anybody can build your app and distribute it legally (in this case Hacky is LGPL, it wouldn't be too difficult to comply with the license), even do it for a fee.
It's more paying for "the extras" straight to the developers. Call it support, iTunes, packaging, or just making things easier for people that don't want or don't have the time to get the hands dirty.
I suppose the only way it could work is if there is a special incentive to buy it. Some video game companies do this, they have the engine open-source, but all the assets are proprietary.
I just wanted to say good for you for charging for your app! Good work should be rewarded. Users of this developer centric website should understand this most of all!
Kudos to you! Keep up the good work.
But thanks for this great first version!
If your goal is so the app allows users a quick view of the stories, having a built in viewer would be nice. Personally I hate switching between apps a lot, and I'm guessing using this would mean - Open story; Switch to Safari to read story; Switch back to Hacky to see next story which if you read more than 1-2 articles would get boring quickly. Just an idea for a future version.
Aside from that, good luck and good job.
So I guess this should really be an option (the classic "do you want an external browser? If yes, which browser?" kinda thing).
Nicely done OP - I'm sure that's one of the many little details you worked hard on and it's appreciated.
"I want the fastest updating HN app. Oh wow, even their website is at the bleeding edge!"
The titlebar is too big in my opinion. I'm writing an app with a thicker than usual titlebar and had a look around a number of apps before deciding on the exact height. I found the best height to be 36px. This allows for nicely a nicely spaced title and traffic lights, but isn't too large. Clear for Mac goes for a titlebar a bit bigger than this, but Hacky is far larger.
The bottom bar seems like it's only there to place the "Mark all as read" button. Could this button be instead placed on the titlebar? If not, I think it's the wrong type of button to use in this context. I believe the correct button style is "Round Textured" as listed in Interface Builder.
Despite these two comments, I actually really like the user interface. It looks good and is generally well thought out.
A few comments on the project, it might be worth using CocoaPods. This is entirely up to you, but I know for a fact that INAppStoreWindow and AFNetworking are in the database, and it might make handling dependency updates easier. Not using CocoaPods isn't necessarily a bad thing at all though.
Having had a quick look at the code, and having compiled it, there are a lot of compiler warnings! A few can be fixed just be configuring the project correctly, adding frameworks that AFNetworking wants for additional functionality, etc, but a few issues surrounding your mixed use of instance variables and properties that will generate their own.
There is also an issue with declaring a method as taking NSUInteger pointers, and yet using it for normal NSUIntegers, and then assigning to NSUInteger properties. It works, but it's an easy fix and pointer issues can be annoying to debug later on if they start to cause errors.
Since you seem to want to make it better, Let me give you a few suggestions. I like where you're going, but get the sense you want to improve it, so in that spirit-
It feels more like an RSS reader than a dedicated app.
Because it doesn't have deep API integration (or even write support), there's not much that I get that I don't get with a dedicated HN RSS reader.
Take a look at Envelope for Reddit for an example of how you might do a deeper integration. Beyond adding posting support, you could also build on the fact that it's a client-app, and add additional local-only feature, such as killfiles or filters, etc.
Low-hanging fruit would be to display comments inline, rather than just linking off to the website, and letting you read/reply/post to individual threads.
GL, I hope you keep going with it.
Or, introduce a 'star' system where I can create a list of articles I want to check out later. I may not actually want to send them to Instapaper, so keeping a local 'to read' list via starring articles would come in handy.
Ideally, that should be synced to my iCloud account, since I read from multiple Macbooks.
Having different hotkeys for mark as read and unread was a little confusing. I would just have Command M toggle between the two. Then you can use the up/down arrow keys to navigate the stories and then quickly mark them. If you accidentally mark the wrong story, you don't need to find Shift to undo that.
- Growl/Notification center notices for new stories (optionally configurable by a certain points threshold).
- Subscribe to certain topics (keyword based searches). Only get notified when certain topics have stories.
- Ignore stories by user.
- Search (both locally and offer to use hnsearch.com)
- List new submissions (separate tab?).
- Comments/open hotkeys (previously mentioned here, I see).
- Minimize to Mac OS menu with an icon indicating new stories (follows your notification threshold and/or topic subscriptions).
- Tab to monitor your own submissions.
Love the idea.
> List new submissions (separate tab?).
Or sort by new submissions.
- restore app position and size
Edit: have now bought it, it's fantastic. Really glad you made it open-source too. Are there any plans to integrate comments, upvoting, etc?
Edit 2: One more thing: it would be great if the app would show the number of unread stories even when closed. Reminders.app does this.
Maybe you'd consider doing a free app store version with ads, combined with a $2.99 (reslly, should be more like $5-10 once you add more features) version?
Random feature ideas:
Filtering based on keywords or a tagging system or poster id.
Doing something which tracks your own comments would be nice. i.e. if you upvote or comment on a story, it somehow marks it in Hacky as well and keeps tracking.
Also, "show new comments since I last read the article" might be nice.
I guess this might go against the "simple, doesn't need to be logged in" design philosophy so far.
Maybe something little to add to the app are more key-bindings. I'm used to be able to open an url from Twitter apps just by using the right arrow. This would be great to be added to your app. With or without the option to open the website in the background.
I'd be fascinated to hear how many downloads you got through the app store and other sources after this post. i.e. are such 'niche' apps sustainable, financially? And what percentage of people liked the convenience of the app store, or wanted to contribute, such that they actually bought the app?
Moreover, PX has not been maintained since 2011, and there is a bunch of issues and pull requests that are being ignored. There are some forks that fix things, but no canonical one.
PS: Nice app, good work!
Would anyone be interested in something like this for Windows? If so I'd be willing to code it up in Adobe AIR.
 - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/search#q=hacker+n...
I wish you all the best and yes, I loved the license you're offering. Eventually it's gonna help a developer anyway ;)
I like it!
The possibility to make it horizontally smaller would be nice.
If you want a native one, check out https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/news-yc/id434787119?mt=8
If you prefer a web app take a look at http://hackerwebapp.com
Although it is, from what I've seen, the best client on iOS, it is still inferior to and more laborious than the web experience.
Try News/YC: http://subvertapps.com/HN/
Don't mean to hijack your post eliaskg, but I bought your app and downloaded the source from GitHub. Gonna' be skinning it for my own personal use here soon! Thanks for the sweet app.
I blame Apple for the trend, although you could tell apart sites and blogs developed by Mac using developers by that trademark gray on white text.