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Spillo Is a Versatile and Fast Pinboard Client for OS X

Developed by Damien DeVille, Spillo is a new Pinboard client released today for OS X and available on both the Mac App Store and Bananafish Software’s website. Unlike Shiori (a desktop app for Pinboard I covered before) and other minimal apps that try to facilitate the process of saving bookmarks to the service, Spillo wants to be a full client for management and discovery of links, and it’s reminiscent of powerful solutions for iOS such as Pushpin and Pinswift. I’ve been using Spillo for the past couple of weeks, and I think it has potential.

Spillo’s selling point is that it lets you equally manage and browse bookmarks on Pinboard. When you create a bookmark, the app displays a familiar panel with support for clipboard detection and autocompletion for tags; the panel is rather simplistic, but it gets the job done. For saving new bookmarks into your account, Spillo offers a menubar shortcut as well as an AppleScript dictionary, which should help in crafting custom workflows such as the one created by DeVille to demonstrate the functionality. If you’re not into menubars and scripts, there are browser extensions available from the app’s website, although I prefer the AppleScript approach as it lets me integrate Spillo with Alfred and Keyboard Maestro.

The main screen of the app differs from most Pinboard apps for Mac in that it offers widescreen browsing and inline previews on the right, allowing you to scroll through bookmarks and read in place without switching to the browser. From this standpoint, Spillo is akin to an RSS reader like ReadKit, which also supports Pinboard for reading bookmarks in your account.

In Spillo, you can view your bookmarks at the top (with various filters for private, starred, untagged, etc) but also browse items from your Network and the Popular page, two of the most-visited sections in my Pinboard workflow. Bookmarks can be quickly shared and saved into your account, but, unfortunately, you can’t click on tags or usernames to keep browsing or use drag & drop to manage bookmarks you’re viewing to, say, apply a specific tag to multiple links at once. For a future version, I hope that DeVille will consider deepening Spillo’s support for in-app navigation to tags and user feeds, as its lack seems to defeat the purpose of having a desktop client that can use a larger screen and multiple columns.

One of the best features of Spillo is the control it gives you to build custom streams for your bookmarks or links saved by other users with specific filters and criteria. With Collections (inspired by Smart Folders), you’ll be able to create personalized streams of bookmarks with rules such as “bookmarks tagged with ”python“ this month”. I like this approach, as, for heavy users of Pinboard, it’s easy to forget the amount of content saved on the service and lose sight of interesting links.

For bookmarks by other users, Spillo can create Searches that accept usernames and tags as filters; if you know of a public user account that’s a constant source of links relevant to your interest (such as kishner and ttscoff for me), you can create searches in Spillo and pin them to the sidebar for quick access. Unfortunately, in this version of the app there’s no support for “OR” concatenation of tags due to a limitation of the Pinboard API, but DeVille is looking into a possible workaround.

Spillo is off to a good start: the app looks nice, it’s fast (thanks to offline caching), and it’s got a solid selection of keyboard shortcuts. The native Pinboard integration that Spillo brings isn’t as powerful as other Pinboard clients on iOS (namely, Pushpin), but OS X users accustomed to lightweight Pinboard apps focused on saving bookmarks should find Spillo’s 1.0 offerings compelling and useful. Personally, I believe that Spillo has room for plenty of improvements (especially in navigation), and, if you’re looking for a native Pinboard app, I’d recommend checking out the 14-day free trial.

Spillo is sold at $9.99 on the Mac App Store or through direct purchase, but the Mac App Store version doesn’t have AppleScript support and the latest fixes available from the website due to an update pending Apple’s approval.

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