Ashes for Fever° started off a couple years ago as an iPad-only Fever° client. It was buggy to say the least. It was slow and it crashed constantly. After looking forward to a better way to look at Fever° on my iPad (compared to the non-iPad specific website) only to be let down by a poor iPad app, I was heartbroken. The app looked beautiful, but its performance was awful.
Having said that, you can imagine my surprise to see that there is a new Ashes now available for iOS, and it’s for both the iPhone and iPad. The two version are largely identical, but that’s fine. The app retains its orangey and reddish hues, and where other apps would use white, Ashes uses a manilla folder yellow. Some may not like it, I didn’t at first, but after a few days of use, the color scheme has grown on me.
So what’s special about Ashes? For one, the performance issues of the past are gone (for the most part). The 1.1 release that’s currently available (as of 2013-05-09) is rather snappy. There are times when swipes aren’t recognized on the first try, but it’s not bad. The sync speed seems slow at times, but that’s largely dependent on how many sparks you have on your Fever° install. I have 300 or so, and because Ashes caches every article of every spark, if you have a lot of sparks, it can take a while. Also, because you host Fever° on your own, those with slow hosts will have slower speeds. When my host is running fast, Ashes syncs rather quickly. At busier times, my host just can’t spit Ashes the data very fast. YMMV.
The most impressive aspect of Ashes is its “Share Anywhere” feature. Share Anywhere allows you to craft your own sharing URL schemes. If you’ve used Drafts or Launch Center Pro, you get the idea. I was able to create sharing actions for Ashes that tied to my existing Drafts actions for adding to my daily journal, creating link lists from Fever° articles, and I whipped up a little action to send articles from Ashes to OmniFocus. You can read the tutorial about “Share Anywhere” on the the Ashes site.
So, should you buy Ashes? Well, even if you bought the old iPad app, you’re gonna have to buy Ashes again. I know, it might sting to buy it again. It was a $7 or $8 app back then, and it’s currently $6 and will go up to $8 after the introductory price period ends. It is a brand new app though. It’s completely new. It’s being actively developed, and there was a major update shortly after 1.0 shipped, and small bugs from 1.1 have been fixed and an update is coming again soon. If you’re happy with Reeder or Sunstroke, you might not need Ashes. If like me, you weren’t super happy with either of those options or if you’re really into the idea of creating your own sharing actions, Ashes could be a good investment. The power of Share Anywhere should not be underestimated. While Drafts empowered a lot of us with iOS automation, this is the first time I’ve seen a news reader give you the ability to create your own automated share actions. The possibilities are endless. You can buy Ashes for Fever° in the App Store.