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 Pinboards API to bring its benefits and power to the comfort of your device. After having used it my main Pinboard client for a couple of weeks now, I have found it to be of great value and can honestly say that the more popular and mainstream apps are in for some competition.

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Getting Started

When launching Pinner for the first time, you’re 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+ 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.

Its UI is simple and familiar, making it easy to jump in and start using it — there’s a titlebar/toolbar and a list of bookmarks. 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.

The two view modes side by side, original web page and then the reader view.

The two view modes side by side, original web page and then the reader view.

On the bottom toolbar, you’ll also find a back button, edit button and up and down buttons that allow you to skip back and forth between bookmarks. The top toolbar has a share button and an info button that when tapped will display a sheet showing the bookmark’s description.

Pinner has background sync and offline cache.

Pinner has background sync and offline cache.

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).

When viewing a bookmark, scrolling down will hide the toolbars. When scrolling back up, the toolbars will reappear. A subtle yet nice touch.

Filtering Bookmarks

From the drawer 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.

The list of tags, and list of bookmarks that have both the tag Opensource and server associated.

The list of tags, and list of bookmarks that have both the tag Opensource and server associated.

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 like Hazel and automation as opposed to Hazel or automation.

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 the sheet 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.

A small notification along the bottom of the screen offers to add the bookmark in the clipboard. Tapping will pre-popullate the add sheet.

A small notification along the bottom of the screen offers to add the bookmark in the clipboard. Tapping will pre-popullate the add sheet.

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 sheet with the URL pre-populated. Pinner 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 bookmark’s 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.


Summary

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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