It’s amazing how in such a short period of time, a stellar Twitter client can go from the gold standard of all apps to something completely and utterly reviled. I know many other geeks, who like myself owned Loren Brichter’s Tweetie iOS app from version 1.0.
Ever since Loren’s app has been acquired by Twitter and rebranded, I must say it’s gone downhill. The real problems started when they introduced the “Dickbar” which I believe was coined by John Gruber if I’m not mistaken. I previously have already ranted about this in another piece I did, so I’m not going to go into that again. Needless to say, since Twitter came under fire they did update their app so that the translucent trends bar no longer overlaps tweets. That being said, it’s still bloody ugly and completely uninteresting to me.
Although this issue has bugged me enough to consider switching to another Twitter client, there’s a really important feature that was removed in the last major update that I found useful. As of the current version, you can no longer use third party URL shortening services. Any URL you include in a tweet will now be filtered and wrapped through Twitter’s own t.co service. I do see why Twitter wants to do this though, as it allows them to monitor and filter any URLs that may be malicious, thus protecting the end user from malware. Even so, they could have kept the third party URL shortening options and instead just filter those through t.co and still preserve the original URL. So why did they remove this feature? I have no insight into the thinking that went behind this.
I’ve been playing around with two other iOS Twitter clients lately, namely, Twitterrific and Weet. Both of these are pretty good, however overall they still aren’t as good as the official Twitter client (sans the “Dickbar”). Twitterrific by the awesome people at Iconfactory is pretty and performs well, but I don’t like how I can’t quickly see and access the @ replies timeline and also switch between multiple accounts easily. Weet app is actually much closer to the official Twitter client, but has some unique things in the UI that make it nice. I do like the translucent taskbar at the bottom, as well as how it integrates with Cloudapp for URL shortening, and image and video uploading. Of course Weet still has a couple things that could be better. Primarily making it easy to switch between multiple accounts, as well as displaying images inline. Seems like something that should be standard now in any Twitter client.
I’m not going to hold my breath, but I sincerely hope Twitter removes the trends bar from the iOS app entirely. It’s just plain bad UX.