Making the Case for Ollie

Ben Brooks doesn't like the new Twitterrific for Mac. I know, I know, I'm a Twitterrific die-hard. Ben has some good points, but I find a lot of his criticisms to either be unfounded or, well, nit-picky.

After you post a tweet your Twitter stream is not updated, so you see your new tweet at the top of the old tweets. Then when Twitterrific does update, the new tweets jump into position where they should be in the timeline. Your new tweet, that was at the top of where you had read, is now mixed in with a jumble of other tweets. You could get used to this, but you shouldn’t have to get used to non-sense like this.

Agreed. I am used to this behavior of the app, but I would love for the stream to update.

The title bar with all the icons is very imposing and throws off the balance of the entire app. Even with all icons removed it is still just too thick. Twitter clients should always feel like small-apps and not like full-blown apps 1 — Twitterrific fails at this.

I partially agree with this. The account switcher could, honestly, be better. I also like having icon only for the elements in the title/tool bar. His opinion of Twitter apps being constrained to "small-apps" (I believe we call those Dashboard widgets) seems odd. These are Mac apps. Why should they not be a full app? And TweetDeck, being an Adobe AIR app, is a horrible comparison. May as well compare a steak to a pile of crap.

If you want two accounts you need to pay $9.99 — which is silly given that Twitter for Mac is free.

Then go download Twitter for Mac. Fact is, the Iconfactory doesn't, to my knowledge, have venture capital and angel investments totaling in the tens of millions of dollars. They make great products, and sell them for money. That's called a business plan. If the only incentive to pay is to get rid of ads, then I don't think many folks would pay.

You can’t remove the menubar icon.

I don't have a problem with it, but I agree. It's not for everyone.

You can’t close image windows (Twitpic and the like) with the keyboard.

Tap the escape key. Side story: Popovers are an iPad UI element. They aren't native to Mac OS X (at least, not yet. I wouldn't be surprised if they are in Lion). If you rip open Twitterrific's app bundle (right click, Show Package Contents) and scope out their frameworks, you'll see UIKit. UIKit is an iOS framework. To me, that says Iconfactory rewrote Apple's UIKit framework for use on the Mac. That's pretty much amazing (and a lot of work).

In contrast, when you click an image link in Twitter for Mac, it appears a type of popover opens. You can dismiss this with Command-W. That tells me that Twitter for Mac is actually opening a standard window with a custom UI.

Iconfactory did the work to bring iOS popovers to OS X. They chose to use escape as the dismissal shortcut for this new UI.

This is my biggest gripe: the direct messages show up as a random hodgepodge based on the time sent. So I can’t view the entire conversation thread, I just see messages in a confusing and un-helpful way.

I partially agree. In the main timeline, I like that DM's are part of the timeline. It's part of what attracts me to Twitterrific, a universal timeline. However, when viewing just DM's, I would actually like them to be threaded as conversations.

No live streaming of the Twitter feed, which at this point is basic and mandatory.

It'd be a nice option. Personally, to me, it would feel like a constant trickle of information overload. I prefer to digest tweets in morsels during set intervals. But, that is a personal preference that is different for everyone. I'm sure this will be in an update.

No drag and drop support for posting pictures — I mean I guess sending the file path for the picture could be useful at times.

I actually reported this during the private beta. There just wasn't time for it for the initial release.

The icon: I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it.

Dude, it's fricken Ollie! He's awesome! And don't get me started on Twitter for Mac's various icons over its three updates thus far.

The app is stable and works. It does what it says. I can’t help but feel a lot was left out to get the app out. Most of the problems can be easily fixed with updates, but for a version 4 product these issues should have never shipped. Making sure CMD+W closes picture previews and that dragging in pictures to a compose window attaches the image, is basic stuff for a 4th version product. [...] It doesn’t feel finished — it feels like a version 1.0 product. If this was a version 1.0 then I would be excited for its future, but given the version 4 nature I am hardly impressed.

I get the feeling Ben just doesn't know about the product's history, which is understandable. I highly encourage reading Filing a Flight Plan and On Final Approach for some context. Essentially, Twitterrific 3 for iOS was a complete re-write of the iOS app, and likewise, to get the Mac and iOS apps on the same codebase the Mac app is essentially built from the ground up as well. Even though the new Mac version says 4.0, it's a 1.0 from a codebase point of view.

Now that the Mac and iOS versions are built on the same foundation, it should be easier for both platforms to grow concurrently with new features. It was a ton of work for the Iconfactory, but in my opinion, a great investment for the future of the app.