Review: Baconit (Reddit Client)


It's fair to say that Reddit has made itself part of the fabric of the Internet for many people. The user driven site (which is barely a "social network" but honestly all the better for it) allows people to post links to stories and pages around the site, discuss the stories, and vote them up or down depending on what they think of them. And now Baconit will bring all those links to your Windows Phone... and more.

Author: Quinn Damerell

Version Reviewed:

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From such simple ideas are huge sites are born. Some will rise, some will fall, but Reddit is the current king of the hill. And while you can happily use Reddit from Internet Explorer on your Windows Phone, there are a number of applications  out there to browse through Reddit stories, interact with the community, and post your own links.

Today I want to talk about one of the most fully functional applications out there for Redddit, that's kept me hooked into the community, even as a mostly-lurker. It lets me watch just the topics I'm interested in, comment as needed, and save topics for later.

I'm talking about Baconit.

At which point it's worth noting that Reddit, like many long running sites, has a language all of its own, its own memes, traditions, and ways of doing things. The love of bacon being one of the memes that has leaked out over the Internet.

 Baconit for Reddit Baconit for Reddit 

Opening the application takes you to a familiar feeling panorama screen with two views - your personal Account view, and a Reddit view that lists a number of subreddit topic areas - subreddits are how Reddit keeps categories apart, and it's based on a directory hierarchy - most of which is hidden from the users of Baconit at first.

 Baconit for Reddit Baconit for Reddit

As well as letting you see the current front page stories on Reddit and stories posted by your Reddit friends (as I said, it's almost, but not quite, like a social network), you have your list of personally selected subreddits. This allows you to customise Baconit to your favourite topics, while making sure the rest of Reddit is available to you through the smart bar, which is an almost command line interface for the app. In here you can type in the name of a subreddit, a URL, or even a search term, to help you navigate through the Reddit ecosystem on your Windows Phone. This exposes the underlying structure and gives you direct access to the depths of Reddit.

It's a nice touch and one that I assume power users love.

 Baconit for Reddit Baconit for Reddit

Managing the subreddits is under the menu bar, which lists your current subreddits, and a big plus sign so you can search, find, and decide whether to add new subreddits either to your account (so when you visit the site on your deskbound browser you are also subscribed to them) or local only, which means your phone will pick them up and display them, but it would be noted or acted on for your main account.

There is a lot going on in this application, and that's reflected in the settings. Spread over three list panes, and grouped together, you can tweak when the application will go online to automatically update stories (although you have a refresh button to force this at any time), and toggle how different situations are handled. I can only assume that developer Quinn Damerell knows that anyone using this app and going into these settings is not going to need their hand held too much.

On the flip side, the first time the app is run you will get some handy captions and text bubbles telling you where the different hotspot and action points are on the touch screen, and the first time you enter a new area (such as reading a story, or opening comments). This is a great way of educating users who probably refuse to read help files.

The final settings screen allows you to tailor the Live Tile experience of Baconit. There are three types of Live Tile you can pin; the main application title, a single subreddit topic, or even one individual story (so you can watch the comments and discussions). You can choose various graphics to populate these tiles, and decide if information should be shown on the rear. Again, showing that the app can cater for use cases beyond the regular punter who wants to browse Reddit - this is real power user stuff.

 Baconit for Reddit Baconit for Reddit

So what is it like in use? Pretty snappy, to be honest There are one or two circumstances where it will lag and choke, but as Reddit users post these up (via Reddit), Damerell is picking these up and sorting them in the next update. It's the fast iteration and feedback that's driven Reddit forward.

Each story has a huge amount of information over the three lines, from the Reddit up/down votes, the time stamp, the submitter, and comment count. And if you tap each of these, you'll be taken to the right area. The title will open up the article in a Browser instance, you can vote up or down by tapping the arrows, or head to the comments.

 Baconit for Reddit Baconit for Reddit

Naturally there's a nice long thread on the application over on Reddit (along with its own subreddit) where you can talk directly to the author, and it also answers the question of what's the difference between the free and the paid-for version... "They're exactly the same except the non-free version buys Quinn a beer."

But is it any good? Putting aside that many of you will not be fans of Reddit and can safely ignore this application (although this might be a good time to choose a single topic and use Reddit just for that), does Baconit have appeal to the Windows Phone Reddit user? Yes, very much so.

This has "killer app" (for the Reddit users) written all over it.

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