NewsFlash 3.0

The next version of NewsFlash is ready. And it comes packed with so much new features and speed improvements + a new look, that the jump to version 3 is more than justified.

Visual comparison to version 2.3

The most obvious difference is the use of the libadwaita 1.4 split views and toolbar views. The result are 3 columns slightly different in color. Each with boarder-less headerbars.

An awesome perk of using these widgets is nicer sizing behavior of the sidebar and the article list. With NewsFlash 2.3 these two columns stayed the exact same size at all times. All extra space was given to the article. Now additional space is distributed evenly

old fullscreen layout
new fullscreen layout

The article list features the new listview sections added in Gtk 4.12. Articles are grouped by day and the corresponding date is displayed as the section header.

Drag & Drop is back

And better than ever before.

The feature didn’t survive the transition from Gtk3 to Gtk4. Back in the NewsFlash 1.x.x days drag & drop was only usable to move a feed from one category to another. The position of elements in the sidebar would seemingly change at random after the drop happened.

A lot of work went into improving the experience of drag & drop. NewsFlash doesn’t try to keep the positions of items in sync with the backed service. But instead focuses on keeping things consistent locally. Items now move to the exact spot they were dragged to.

Subscribing to feeds works better on mobile

Clicking the plus icon used to spawn a popover that guided you through the process of adding either feeds, categories or tags.

Unfortunately this didn’t really work on mobile. Interacting with the on-screen-keyboard would close the popover making it impossible to complete the process.

So instead the popover now lets you spawn one of 3 dialogs.

Not only does this change make it possible to add feeds on mobile & other touch devices. But I would argue it is an improvement for desktop as well. No longer can the popover accidentally be closed by switching to another window.

The wizard guiding you through the process also got a facelift.


NewsFlash 3.0 should be a lot faster.

I went all-in on the tokio runtime and its ecosystem. No more spawning threads manually for a single operation. No more blocking locks. Everything is async and runs on a single tokio runtime which is way smarter about task managing than I ever could be.

At the same time the reqwest client is now reused as much as possible and only rebuild once relevant settings change.

Together these changes mean operations like syncing, marking articles as read and scraping full article content should feel more responsive.

The favicon cache is now based on moka which eliminates the case of starting multiple downloads of the same icon at the same time. Large favicons get scaled down to a reasonable size to improve loading times.

Remember the window state

One of the more often requested features: remember the window state when NewsFlash quits and restore everything on the next launch.

This can mean different things to different people: Some want the app to remember the window size, others if it displays all or only unread articles.

Here is a list of the things that are saved and restored:

  • window size (and maximized)
  • sidebar selection
  • article list mode (all, unread, starred)
  • search term
  • selected article
  • if original or scraped content is shown
  • article view zoom

Other things like exact scroll positions of lists are not saved.

View large images

Large images in the article can be clicked and open the image up in a new window. No fancy gestures or anything. But still a welcome feature.

The same dialog is used to display image attachments of articles.

More Thumbnails

Articles get more visual appealing with NewsFlash 3.0!

Thumbnails were supported before. But only if the article had an image attachment. And then only if the back-end supported attachments via their API (e.g. miniflux did not).

Going forward there is a heuristic to gather a “relevant” image from the article HTML and used that as a thumbnail.

Edit dialogs

The simple “rename” dialogs of old evolved into “edit” dialogs. The biggest change is the dialog for feeds. The feed can still be renamed, the feed URL is at least visible now (changing is not possible just yet) and it can be moved to another category from here as well (alternative to drag & drop).

Some math focused blogs use “$” as start and end marker for formulas. Always rendering text between “$” with mathjax lead to malformed articles that contained multiple dollar signs in their regular text. This can now be controlled on a feed-by-feed basis.

An idea for the future is to allow a feed-by-feed setting if an attempt to download the full article content right after a sync should be made.


Commafeed  is the newest addition to the list of supported services. Its an open source web based feed reader.

The implementation is not as battle tested as the others. So if you hit a roadblock with it please let me know.


Above only the more significant features and changes were listed. There are a lot of smaller features and bug fixes. So if you previously had trouble with anything it may be worth to try NewsFlash again.

Features that did not make it: Video player

You can not view video attachments or youtube videos in a new embedded player. Video streaming is hard. GStreamer does a lot of the work for you. But there are still a lot of gaps that an application has to fill to make a nice streaming player.

I was encountering image freezes, stuck videos and outright gstreamer crashes from time to time. Not to mention missing features like switching video streams on the fly, which I left out since it added even more problems to the table.

So its back to the drawing board. But here is how it could have landed in NewsFlash 3.0:

16 thoughts on “NewsFlash 3.0”

  1. These changes are looking very good, thanks a lot for continuously improving it. Might be the time to finally replace liferea. 🙂

  2. This is a real cool update for the reader. I use it in my laptop since last year and—I can say with certainty—it is the best reader I’ve ever used. The only feature I miss in this software is an option to “always scrape articles” way adding a feed. I’m sure that there’s an issue in the repository.

    Keep the good work.

  3. It’s nice that window size and zoom level are saved, but I consider lack of support for manual sidebar width to be huge blocker; I gave up on Newsflash very quickly. If it were not for this particular deficiency, I would probably still be using NewsFlash today, as it otherwise does deliver a good experience. Seriously, auto-resizing sidebars cause me great upset. I just want to be able to lock my partitions in place, if desired.

    inb4 “but GNOME also targets touch-screen-wielding mobile device users, and they simply must not be burdened with choice”. /s

    Also, the lack of a distinct headerbar is disturbing. It serves no purpose other than to be utterly ambiguous — and, rather ironically — distracting.

  4. Thanks a lot for the great update!
    When I have NewsFlash 2.3.0 Flatpak installed, do I have to uninstall it first and then install the 3.0-version?
    Or do you I just install the 3.0-version?
    Thanks for any guidance!

    1. Just run `flatpak update`. The database will automatically get migrated. If you had version 2.3 running in the background you may need to restart NewsFlash afterwards.

  5. Looks great! Congratulations! Any plans to add Wallabag to the sharing options? It’s the only reason why I still haven’t switch from Communique to NewsFlash.

    1. There is an open issue. But I don’t plan on working on it anytime soon. The other share services implementations are trivial. Its just a stitched together URL. Wallabag doesn’t support that. And using the API implies a lot other things to be in place: saving tokens, refreshing out of date tokens, GUI to log into the account, etc.

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