This is the second in a weekly look at an application I’ve been using lately and come to like. All of them will run on Mac OS X but some will be cross-platform.
It should be no secret by now that I like using Twitter. I’ve been a user for almost 3 years, sending my first tweet in late spring 2007. Twitter can be used quite well from the web but it’s real power comes from its API and the multitudes of applications which can make use of it. Tweetie is one such application – it began as an iPhone application and made the move to OS X last year.
Considering there are so many Twitter clients out there, what made me choose Tweetie? Firstly, it has a free version, which is supported by a few ads in your Twitter timeline (these are obvious and less frequent than I expected) and an occasional nag screen asking you to upgrade. Paying $19.95 removes the ads and the nag screen but doesn’t provide any extra features. It’s also built natively for OS X, unlike a number of others which use Adobe AIR – while this does allow them to run easily on Windows, OS X and Linux, in my experience AIR apps are quite slow and memory-hungry. Adobe have promised improvements to AIR so this may change.
Tweetie also supports multiple Twitter accounts – useful if you have a personal account and an account for your business, for example – although I personally don’t make use of this. The interface is very Mac-like, and it includes Growl notifications for new tweets which are useful if you want to be distracted whenever new tweets are received. It also has built-in search and you can view a Twitter user’s feed in the app by clicking their userpic. Support for URL-shortening services and TwitPic/yFrog is built-in too.
Tweetie’s use of animation makes it feel very smooth and slick, and it seems like the best-designed Twitter application I’ve used so far. It’s light enough to run at all times, and can be run just as a dock or notification icon.
It’s not perfect – it doesn’t support the new Retweet mechanism yet (so when you retweet it still posts ‘RT’ in front of a new tweet by you) and doesn’t show trending topics. There’s also no geolocation features, although this is of limited use for a desktop client.
I recently switched to Tweetie after having used EchoFon for Firefox, which I now can’t use due to bug 533535 in Firefox 3.6. But Tweetie offers much better features so I’m planning to stick with it. The Twitter client arena is very crowded but Tweetie sticks out as a very good application.