I’m currently in the throes of consolidating as much of my information and workflows as possible, all the while, pruning redundant apps and services. In that respect, I’ve found myself using Pinboard increasingly more, not only for archival of my bookmarks but also for content discovery and as a read later service.
Therefore, I’ve been on a quest to find the best Pinboard client for iOS. Having sample a myriad of apps such as Pinner,Pinswift, Pinbrowser, Pinbook and Pincase (to name just a few) I now turn my attention to Pushpin to see how it fairs.
UI & Usage
Pushpin’s UI, dominated by greys and subtle gradients, is simple and elegant. Although out of place in a post iOS 7 world, I find it doesn’t feel as stale as other apps and therefore is still pleasant to use (a major refresh is already in the works though).
Bookmarks are presented in a table view. Their title taking prominent focus, with tags and description in a more subdued colour and unlike other clients, Pushpin doesn’t truncated the bookmark’s title or description. I tend to prefer this approach since it allows me to view more information in a quick glance.
Tags and description can be disabled in the settings for a more spartan look.
For the most part, Pushpins operation is pretty straightforward. Tap on a bookmark to open it. Swipe left to delete, tap and hold for more options such as copy URL, mark as read, edit and delete. What isn’t immediately apparent however, is that tapping on a tag will filter the bookmark list. This allows me quickly drill down, tag after tag until I pinpoint exactly the desired set of bookmarks (I can also save this as a feed for later).
Alternatively, pulling down on the list reveals the Pushpin’s rather powerful search field. Not only does it search the URL, title, description and tags but it allows me to combine search terms using AND, OR and NOT to further refine my search (I’d love to be able to save these search terms to reuse time and time again, but that is a minor detail).
Pushpin has three main sections of note: The bookmark list, the tag browser and Community Streams. These can be accessed from the browse menu (swipe right or tap on the back button). From here I can choose to view all my bookmarks or just my private, public, unread, untagged or starred bookmarks. I can also tap on the tag icon to access the tag browser or finally, choose any of the community streams available as well as access my saved feeds.
The Tag browser
Just like the bookmark list, the tag browser presents me with a table view of every available tag. Beside each tag is a number indicating how many bookmarks have the tag assigned. This list can be searched and filtered allowing me to quickly access the set or sub-set of desired tags. There is also an alphabetical index for quick access.
Community streams are where I can access my network’s bookmarks or popular Pinboard streams such as Fandom, Wikipedia or Popular bookmarks. Given that I normally just use Network and Saved Feeds, I would’ve liked to have the ability to disable the remainder (akin to what is possible in Pinswift).
I’ve mentioned saved feeds a few times without explaining what they are. If you’ve used Pinbrowser before, then a saved feed won’t be anything new. In essence, it’s a saved search. I can search for every bookmark from a specific user or with a specific tag and save that search for later. Creating a saved feed is rather easy and there are two different ways of achieving this. Either by browsing my network’s bookmarks, filtering by a tag and tapping save or by navigating to Saved Feeds, tapping + and entering the desired search terms.
Unfortunately, there is no way of editing a saved feed once it’s been created and it’s also not possible to use the OR operator meaning that I’d have to create multiple saved searches if I wanted to see bookmarks saved by macdrifter about pythonista OR automation OR drafts.
URL Scheme Delight
Automation fans won’t be disappointed with Pushpin. It’s URL scheme allows me to easily add new bookmarks and optionally assign a title and description, tags and set it private or unread.
I can also view a particular feed (just like a saved search). This means I can leverage the power of apps such as Drafts or Launch Center Pro, to create a set of feeds for quick access.
Finally, Pushpin has a URL scheme to open a specific URL in it’s built in browser. This is great since it has one of the better mobilisers I’ve seen so far, correctly identifying code sections where others fail.
Since this is the first release of Pushpin on the iPad there are a few teething issues that need addressing:
- When doing a batch edit, the delete button doesn’t appear while in landscape mode;
- When launching the app in landscape mode, it will initially open in portrait and then switch to landscape.
Barring this, the only other minor quibbles I have (besides what I’ve already mentioned), is that when Pushpin prompts me to add a URL in the clipboard as a bookmark, it doesn’t show me the URL and the fact that batch edit is limited to delete operation.
There are however a few items on my wish list. For one, I’d love to see iCloud sync for my saved feeds and given that I’m using Pinboard as my read later service, I’d also like to be ability to set the default feed for when Pushpin opens.
I’ve been told that my wishes just may come true in the next update, so stay tuned for that.
Well Worth the Price Tag
Although it’s currently the most expensive Pinboard client in the App Store, it’s also the fastest and most feature full. It has a few unique aspects others lack, such as access to personal notes (although I can’t edit or add new notes).
With saved feeds and advanced search capabilities, it surpasses other apps with regard to content discovery. It’s excellent mobiliser makes it equally ideal for reading my bookmarks and finally, it’s extensive URL scheme and robust tools make adding and managing bookmarks an utter breeze.
If you were to ask me wether I’d recommend Pushpin, the answer would be a big, resounding yes! The bottom line is – if you only buy one Pinboard client for iOS, then I’d recommend Pushpin.
What’s your favourite client? Sound off in the comments.