Pinner: A No Nonsense Pinboard Client

Pinboard is a simple social bookmarking service with a strong focus on speed, discovery and organisation (using tags). With a powerful API, a vast number of ways in which you can add bookmarks to it and blazing fast search, Pinboard is well worth the price of admission and has quickly become the home for the bookmarks of thousands of users.

Pinner is a universal app that leverages Pinboard’s API to bring its benefits and power to the comfort of your device. After having used it as my main Pinboard client for a couple of weeks now, I’ve found it to be of great value and can honestly say that the more popular and mainstream apps are in for some competition. Here’s why.

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Getting Started

When launching Pinner for the first time, you’ll be greeted with a blank slate prompting you to sign in and sync or alternatively, browse recent or popular posts. Once signed in, Pinner‘s initial sync is lightning fast — having loaded my 3000 or so bookmarks in a mere couple of seconds.

A simple no frills UI. The blank slate the greats you on first launch.

A simple no frills UI. The blank slate the greats you on first launch.

The UI is simple and familiar, making it easy to jump in and start using the app. It features a split view with the left pane having a list of bookmarks while the right pane displays the selected bookmark (you can change this in the settings however, opting for a fullscreen main view).

Each bookmark entry shows the title, source URL, tags, the date added and the bookmarks state (unsynced, unread, private, etc.). Pulling down on the list reveals a search field and tapping on the back button in the top toolbar will open a drawer with further options and sections.

Swiping on a bookmark will reveal buttons to edit, delete, share and mark it read (if the bookmark is unread).

Swiping on a bookmark will reveal buttons to edit, delete, share and mark it read (if the bookmark is unread).

Viewing Your Bookmarks

Pinner has two modes in which it displays a bookmark: the original web page, via its in-app browser, or a stripped-down reader view, similar to apps such as Pocket or Instapaper. Tapping the glasses icon in the bottom toolbar toggles between the two modes and you can set which one Pinner defaults to in the settings.

On the bottom toolbar, you’ll also find buttons to go back, share, edit, enter fullscreen (hides the toolbars) button and skip back and forth between bookmarks. The top toolbar has an info button that when tapped will display a sheet showing the bookmarks description.

Swiping on a bookmark will reveal buttons to edit, delete, share and mark it read (if the bookmark is unread).The two view modes top and bottom, original web page and then the reader view.

The two view modes top and bottom, original web page and then the reader view.

Another feature that makes reading your bookmarks on Pinner so great is its background sync and offline reading list. In essence, Pinner uses geofencing to update your bookmarks at specified locations and it’ll cache your unread bookmarks for offline access (in reader view).

Filtering Bookmarks

Tapping on the back button in the left pane will reveal the drawer from where you have access to a predefined set of your bookmarks such as new, private, public, unread and untagged. It’s also the place where you access recent and popular posts as well as your tags.

Tags are a central part of the Pinboard experience and Pinner has top notch support for them. Selecting the corresponding entry from the drawer will display a list of your tags that can be searched and filtered. Tapping on a tag will display the list of bookmarks associated with it. Pinner however allows you to combine tags. Tapping on the arrow will lets you to drill down further, showing bookmarks that match all tags such as Hazel and automation as opposed to Hazel or automation.

It's possible to drill down and add as many tags as a search criteria. Only bookmarks that match all will be displayed.

It’s possible to drill down and add as many tags as a search criteria. Only bookmarks that match all will be displayed.

Adding Bookmarks

There are a myriad of ways in which you can add bookmarks to Pinboard and with Pinner it’s no different.

Tapping on the + button in the top toolbar will display a dialogue box for adding a bookmark. Here you can fill in the URL, title and description. Set whether you want the bookmark to be private or unread and assign any number of tags.

When assigning tags, Pinner will display the list of tags you already use and will filter that same list as soon as you start typing.

When tapping on the small notification that appears in the left pane, the modal for adding a bookmark will appear pre-popullated with the URL in the clipboard.

When tapping on the small notification that appears in the left pane,
the modal for adding a bookmark will appear pre-popullated with the URL in the clipboard.

Pinner will also detect if there is a URL in the clipboard and offer to add it as a bookmark. Tapping on the notification will open the add bookmark modal with the URL pre-populated.

There’s also has an excellent URL scheme and support for x-callback-url. Apps such as Pinbrowser or Drafts leverage this for adding new bookmarks. Finally, when viewing the recent or popular posts, you’ll find an option to Save to Pinner in the share menu.

If you have Autofill Bookmark Info active in the settings then Pinner will fetch relevant information such as title and description once you enter a URL.

Room For Improvement

As great as Pinner already is, there’s some room for improvement. I’d like to see future updates usher in the ability to view bookmarks of those I follow and maybe even perform some advanced searches based on users and tags. Then there’s the fact that you can’t search recent or popular posts, which seems odd and something I feel should be fixed.

One final gripe I have, and unfortunately it’s quite common in other Pinboard clients, is the fact that I can’t edit the bookmarks URL. Although not too common, there are times when this would be useful.

Final Thoughts

Pinner is a great reflection of the Pinboard experience. Fast, no nonsense and with focus on the bookmarks. Recent and popular posts make it great for discovery while background sync, offline cache and reader view make it great for consuming your own bookmarks.

On par feature wise with more expensive apps, it’s a steal at a $1.99. So, if you’re a Pinboard user then you should definitely give Pinner a try. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Do you like Pinner? Maybe you have another favourite? Why not share your thoughts with us in the comments!


Summary

Pinner is a fast, no nonsense Pinboard client that allows you to view and edit bookmarks, browse recent and popular and filter by tags. It's currently one of the best clients on the iOS platform.

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