#twitter Development Indie iOS Mac

What happened to Twitterrific 5 for Mac?

Ollie! The Twitterrific Bird9TO5Mac: “By limiting the ability of third-party developers to create unique and useful clients for its service, Twitter is ensuring that new users will be forced to use one of its first-party solutions, whether that’s Twitter for Mac, TweetDeck, or the web. Unfortunately, none of these products are really worth using, and Twitter is shooting itself in the foot by attempting to drive users to these subpar experiences.”

There’s the problem in a nutshell. Twitter has been less than friendly to developers who can help them make a better experience for their users. Let’s say Twitter changed their rules to allow folks to develop clients that they don’t consider their bread and butter. What if you could create a client, free of limits, that wasn’t for web or mobile? This would open the door to a great update from The Iconfactory and allow other indie developers to create great native experiences for Windows or Linux. Seems like good business to me.

Development Indie iOS

Craig Hockenberry on Twitterrific 5 Development

Craig Hockenberry: “What happened next though, surprised us in a very good way. David started using Xcode.”

I love stuff like this. It’s neat to see how folks approach development inside their shop. Most of the post is not surprising. Their approach is the same as every development shop I’ve ever worked in. Divide and conquer where it makes sense. He didn’t go into their unit test process, but does mention he was able to test his code with his own test application. This is important and mostly overlooked by most developers.

A wonderful boquet of flowers.Like I said, it’s mostly basic stuff and common practice, until you come to the line I pasted above. THEY GOT A DESIGNER TO USE XCODE! That’s amazing and it looks like it allowed them to move their application forward without interrupting the developer or frustrating the designer because the developer was too busy to be fussed with a tweak to the UI.

When I’m coding I like to get the basics in place and skin later. It’s easy to do, why not give it a bit of time before you go off and do it, right? Well, if you can get a designer to do the work, why not? It’s a brilliant idea and UIAppearance seems to make it even easier to deal with this kind of stuff. I’m looking forward to using it some day.

Craig also mentions another thing I really love about The Iconfactory.

“We are well aware that people are going to complain about missing features: push notifications and streaming are obvious examples. But so are trends, and video support, and in-line photos, and… well none of that matters. We believe in building opinionated software.

I love that. They managed to build a client that is perfectly suited to how I use Twitter and they did it by building it how they would use it.

The Iconfactory is definitely one of those shops I’d give my left arm to work for. True story.

#twitter Indie iOS Social

Iconfactory on the future of Twitterrific

Ollie!Iconfactory: “For the past several months, we’ve been working on a major update to Twitterrific that we’re very excited about. There were concerns that this new version might end up on the cutting room floor prior to Twitter’s announcement, but after reviewing the new restrictions and speaking with the team at Twitter, we’re pleased to report that our plans remain unchanged.”

Very exciting news!

#twitter Business Design Development Social

Twitter Display Guidelines

A wonderful boquet of flowers.In the wake of the new Twitter 1.1 API changes announcement I thought I’d focus my attention on the Twitter Developer Display Guidelines so I can understand the changes I’ll see to my favorite Twitter client; Twitterrific.

The guidelines will make our Twitter experience more consistent, boy howdy. Basically every Twitter client will look pretty much the same or it won’t be allowed to use the Twitter API, and a client that can’t use the API is useless.

Please note, if you’re using a Twitter provided client, these rules don’t apply, so you have nothing to worry about.

How do the various clients display Tweets in the Timeline? See the Timelines section in Display Guidelines.


Twitterrific is my favorite client because it’s darned simple, great UX and UI design. Twitterrific is unique amongst the three clients we’ll examine because it shows a reply icon in every tweet. Note the arrow in the lower right corner of the image. Tapping on that icon will display a menu of choices that includes Reply, Direct Message, Retweet, and Retweet with Comment. Not even Twitter’s native iOS client provides this functionality.

Twitterrific: What needs fixing?

I use the term fixing loosely. Here is a list of the rules Twitterrific breaks, according to the Display Guidelines.

  1. Tweet Author
    • The user’s name and @username should be displayed on one line, with the name first.
    • If the Tweet being displayed is a Retweet, the name of the user who Retweeted it and the Retweet icon must be displayed under the Tweet text. e.g. “Retweeted by Josh Brewer”. The name should link to the the Retweeting user’s profile [1].

The @username doesn’t appear in the tweet and the retweeted by text doesn’t show below the tweet. It’s not seen here, but the retweet text displays to the right of the users name. One of the great things about Twitterrific is how it displays tweets in different colors depending on the context of the tweet. I’m not sure how Twitter will feel about that, but the guideline doesn’t call it out.

That’s not so bad, but it does mean Iconfactory will need to fix some things.


Tweetbot: What needs fixing?

  1. Tweet Author
    • The user’s name and @username should be displayed on one line, with the name first.
    • The avatar must be positioned to the left of the name, @username, and Tweet text.
  2. Timestamps
    • Tweet timestamp should be displayed in the top right corner.
    • If the Tweet being displayed is a Retweet, the name of the user who Retweeted it and the Retweet icon must be displayed under the Tweet text. e.g. “Retweeted by Josh Brewer”. The name should link to the the Retweeting user’s profile [1].

Tapbots has a bit of work. In most cases the users avatar is displayed in the proper position, unless its your tweet, then it’s on the right. That’s an easy fix for them. Once that is fixed the timestamp will move to the proper position in the upper right corner. The Retweets item is interesting. The rule states it should display the name of the user who retweeted it. Tweetbot does that, sort of. If the retweet was by you it displays “Retweeted by You”, which doesn’t fit the rule to the letter.


Twitter: What needs fixing?

    • If the Tweet being displayed is a Retweet, the name of the user who Retweeted it and the Retweet icon must be displayed under the Tweet text. e.g. “Retweeted by Josh Brewer”. The name should link to the the Retweeting user’s profile [1].

Not surprisingly Twitter does the best job of following the rules, but they do break this one. In the Twitter iOS client a retweet icon is display in the upper right hand corner of the tweet and the user’s name isn’t displayed.

Random Note

In the Individual Tweet section under the Branding bullet point this is listed.

The Twitter logo or Follow button for the Tweet author must always be displayed in the top right corner.

Emphasis on the word Tweet is mine. Twitter didn’t coin the term “Tweet”, the fine folks at Iconfactory did.


Business iOS Mac Mobile

Are Third Party Twitter Clients Doomed?

Things aren’t looking good for Twitter clients, I know, I’m reading a lot into it, but it sure looks bad.

Last night Gedeon Maheux of Iconfactory posted this on Twitter.

This morning he followed up with this choice tweet.

It really reads like Twitter is shutting the door on third party clients that display a stream.

This bothers me for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I’m a fan of Iconfactory’s work and they’ve done nothing but contribute great work to the Mac and iOS community for years.

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

Long live Ollie.

Indie iOS

My @Twitterrific for iOS Wish List

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Twitterrific from The Iconfactory. I’ve tried a number of Twitter clients, but I keep coming back to Twitterrific. I think it has a lot to do with the minimalistic design. It just works and doesn’t have a lot of extraneous features. But, and there’s always a ‘but’, there are some things I’d like to see. Mostly I’d like a small change to the user interface. It’s something I’ve designed in my top secret design notebook, but since I’ll never create my dream Twitter client, I might as well share these minor UI tweaks in hopes someone will do it. Hopefully, The Iconfactory does it. You never know, it could happen.

Oh, please forgive the mess. I can’t spell Photoshop, much less use it. At least this hack should get the idea across.

Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s all hacked up, but it’ll do.

On the left Twitterrific as it sits today, on the right is what I’d like to see. What’s different?

  1. The account back button is gone.
  2. The title “All Tweets” is gone, replaced by the account name.
  3. The Profile Icon, gone. Replaced by the “Compose Tweet” button.
  4. The bottom bar/toolbar, gone. No replacement.

Since the back button is now gone for choosing an account it’s replaced by the account name in the top bar. Tapping on the name allows you to choose which account to view or what you’d like to view for the current account; All Tweets, Mentions, Messages, Favorites, or Search.

In the upper right corner we’ve replaced the Profile icon with the Compose Tweet icon. To show your profile you can tap on your avatar in a tweet, which works today.

In the lower left corner the refresh button has been removed. I kind of like having an explicit refresh button, but “Pull to refresh” is ubiquitous. If you’d like to have a refresh button, put it in the upper left corner.

The purple bar across the bottom works as it does today. It pops up for a few seconds after a refresh, then goes away.

I think that does it for now.

Business Social

Twitter Crazy Talk

The hubbub over a recent Twitter Engineering post, and all the follow on posts, has me thinking. No, thinking isn’t one of my strong suits, but here’s what I think is going to happen.


Watch out! It's a blog fly!That’s it in a nutshell. Why do I believe that? Today Twitter announced it’s overhauling They just shipped a new release of Twitter for iOS, without a Twitter for Mac update, and now they’ve taken the time to overhaul Something stinks, besides me.

Why would you spend the time and money to overhaul the mobile website if you didn’t intend to make it your primary view of the Twitter Universe on mobile? Ok, ok, maybe they’re perfectionists, who love their craft, I can accept that explanation. Then again, maybe they plan on killing off all native clients? It could happen, right?

There’s my big BOLD prediction.

I hope I’m wrong. In fact I’m pretty sure I am, but there’s that little part of me that thinks this may happen.

Man, I really don’t want to HAVE to use the website to tweet and read tweets. That would be teh suck.


Ged talks to The Magic 8-Ball

Gedeon Maheux: “Damn straight they would. There are many developers and companies who have build their livelihood around the Twitter API since 2007. We even helped Twitter evolve and grow to where it is today. Are you saying none of that matters now?”

So, yeah, Twitter client developers are worried. Can you blame them?

How To

Configure @Twitterrific to use @mlkshk

With all the hubbub surrounding the Terms of Service changes at TwitPic I thought I’d share how to configure Twitterrific to use a hot new photo sharing site, mlkshk.

Steps for configuring Twitterrific on an iPhone.

Sorry, I don’t have an iPad, but they should be similar.

First off Twitterrific doesn’t have its configuration settings inside the application. You’ll need to tap the Home button and locate the Setting’s App Icon.

Step #1: Tap the Settings Icon.

Step #2: Scroll down until you find Twitterrific, then tap it. This will open the Twitterrific Settings.

Step #3: Scroll down to Advanced. Tap it.

Step #4: Scroll down to URL, tap the edit field, and type “” minus the quotes, you’re all done! Congratulations! When you add a photo to a tweet it will now show up in your mlkshk Shake.

Steps for configuring on Twitterrific Mac.

Step #1: Start Twitterrific.

Step #2: Select Twitterrific > Preferences…

Step #3: In the “Custom Upload Service” edit field type “” minus the quotes, you’re all done!

The reason this works is both The Icon Factory and mlkshk saw fit to support the TwitPic upload API.


Twitterrific for iPhone Tips

I’m an Apple fanboy and I’m a fan of Iconfactory Apps. I use Twitterrific for iOS and Mac so I thought I’d share some tips with my fellow Twitterrific for iPhone users.

Two of the things I love about Twitterrific are the nice shortcuts from the timeline view.

Tip #1: Double Tap

No, not rule #2 from the Zombieland Rules List.

While viewing your timeline you can double tap on an item and up pops a shortcut menu. This is super handy for replying and retweeting. I use it all the time. Here’s what it looks like.

Tip #2: Tap and Hold

The second feature I really appreciate, and use all the time, is tap and hold. This works from the timeline and from the tweet detail views. Simply tap and hold a link to see the shortcut menu. Great stuff. Here’s what it looks like.

I use the Send to Instapaper and Copy Link options all the time. Notice they’re placed toward the bottom of the menu. I’m pretty sure the fine folks at the Iconfactory did this intentionally since they’re the options people will probably use the most.

Hopefully you find these tips useful.