Page Up/Down in NetNewsWire

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
August 24th, 2005 • 10:17 am

There is a small, yet quite significant annoyance in NetNewsWire 2.0. (I am using the Lite version, but I imagine it’s the same in the regular version.)

When you are reading a blog post in NetNewsWire, and the blog post is fairly long, you have to scroll down to read it all. You can also use the Page Down and Page Up keys on your keyboard to scroll down/up.

But what happens when you press Page Down or Page Up is that NetNewswire scrolls down/up by the exact height (in pixels) of the frame in which the blog post text is displayed. This means that, if a line of text is only half visible at the bottom of the frame before your press Page Down, then, after you’ve pressed Page Down, that same line of text is only half visible at the top of the frame.

This is not right. When a line of text is only half visible at the bottom of a window/frame, after Page Down the user expects that same line of text to be fully visible at the top of the window/frame.

Better yet, the user actually expects to see the last fully visible line at the bottom of the window/frame still visible at the top of the window/frame. Otherwise, he’ll get disoriented in his reading.

This is exactly how things work in other applications, such as Safari and TextEdit. If the last line of text at the bottom of the window is line n and it’s only half visible, after pressing Page Down, the first line of text fully visible at the top of the window is actually line n – 1 — and of course line n is fully visible below line n – 1.

I love NetNewsWire, but this is clearly a fundamental flaw in the behaviour of the application. (And, if you are wondering, things are not any better when you the space bar to scroll up/down a post.)

Interestingly, the other frames in the three-frame interface of NetNewsWire are not affected by this problem, so I suspect it has to do with the rendering of blog posts themselves. For what it’s worth, I am able to reproduce this problem when reading kottke‘s RSS feed with the “Daring Status Bar” theme.

2 Responses to “Page Up/Down in NetNewsWire”

  1. brianw says:

    I don’t see the same behavior as you when using NNW 2.0.1; in fact, recent posts on the NetNewsWire mailing list don’t support your assertion either–people have actually been complaining that NNW scrolls *too little* in comparison to Safari, displaying too much of the alread-viewed text at the top of the window when scrolling down. I’ve posted a few screenshots as an example–you can see that it’s leaving a good four or five lines.

    But you’re definitely right that NNW’s behavior is off in comparison to other applications. The general problem with NNW vs. Safari’s scrolling behavior is that you almost never see a non-scrolling header in Safari. When you’re using a NNW stylesheet with a header like Daring Status Bar, WebKit still wants to calculate Page Down using the *entire height of the window* even though a good 40 pixels or so are covered up. Because of this, the writer of NNW had to hard-code an alteration to make NNW scroll Slightly Less Than One Page Down to make up the difference.

    I can’t speak for the developer of course but my memory of the topic was that there wasn’t a way to alter the exact amount of Paging Down based on the exact size of the header due to a bug/feature-lack in WebKit. But I know he was reminded of the ongoing scrolling oddities on the mailing list just last week and so I’m sure he’s working on it.

    (P.S. It would be nice to know what kinds of measures you have taken about reporting bugs to developers. Please don’t be offended, but generally when I read your posts I get the feeling you’re just shouting into a vacuum.)

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Brian: I am using NNW Lite 2.0. Maybe something has changed in 2.0.1. I will download it and test it with the same blog and config.

    When it comes to the role played by the non-scrolling header, it seems a bit strange to me that this should be a factor. Couldn’t the header simply be rendered above the scrolling area instead of being included at the top of it? After all, if the header is not meant to scroll, it shouldn’t be part of a scrolling area.

    As for my bug reporting measures, I have mentioned it several times, but I always report the bugs I find to the developers, whenever possible. I am part of the Apple Seed program and submit Mac OS X bugs to Apple on a daily basis. When a third-party developer has a user-friendly bug reporting feature, like NNW does, then I always use it to report the bugs that I mention here.

    I no longer bother to report bugs to Microsoft, because it’s utterly pointless and there is no indication that Microsoft does anything with the feedback that’s sent to them. Microsoft is the only company that has never contact me about any of my bug reports sent to them. So why bother?

    Other than that, I do report bugs to developers as much as I can, even though it takes time. I should probably mention this in the “About” page for Betalogue…

    Of course, it doesn’t change anything to the perception that I am shouting into a vacuum, but it’s a vacuum that generates many up to 10 GB of traffic per month, so I am guessing that it’s not completely empty.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.