Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

App of the Week: Osfoora

I’ve reviewed several Twitter clients over the past couple of years, and just over two years ago I had a look at Tweetie, which was a freemium Twitter app for Mac OS X and at the time my preferred choice of Twitter client. The developer of Tweetie later got hired by Twitter themselves and with the launch of the Mac App Store last year came an official Twitter for Mac client based on Tweetie.

Until recently this was my favoured Twitter client on my Mac, but having used Tweetbot on my iPhone for some time I felt that I wanted a more powerful desktop Twitter client too. Osfoora had just been launched, so I gave it a spin, and I have to say I’m impressed.

The interface is apparently very similar to Twitterific, a veteran Twitter client that I’ve never really used before, but it’s also very similar to the official Twitter for Mac app so users should feel quite at home with it. I’ll therefore focus on what sets it apart from the official app.

Firstly, it supports the rather useful Tweet Marker service, which lets you bookmark your position when reading through your timeline. If you read every tweet in your timeline and use multiple devices (like a PC and a smartphone), Tweet Marker allows you to read some tweets on your phone (while travelling home on a train for example), and then pick up where you left off on your PC at home. Tweetbot also supports this on the iPhone. It’s a free service but donations are requested.

Moving on, as you’ll see in the screenshot, thumbnails of images in tweets are shown inline, so that you can easily see a preview before clicking them to view them full size. This is good as sometimes you’ll click on an image that looks interesting to find that it’s actually rather boring, or worse, an announcement that you’ve lost the game (sorry). Popular image services like TwitPic, yFrog, Instagram and Twitter’s own image hosting service are supported.

When composing a new tweet, you can include the title of the current song that you’re playing in iTunes by simply clicking a button, and like with the official client typing ‘@’ allows auto-completing of Twitter handles if you want to mention someone.

In terms of more advanced features, support for Read It Later and Instapaper is included, so you can save interesting links to these services for later reading. This isn’t as useful as it is on a mobile app, but I’ve still found myself saving links for later reading. You can also ‘mute’ specific usernames, in case someone you follow starts tweeting more than usual about something that you don’t care about and want a bit of a break. Conversely, you can also have tweets from other usernames highlighted, if you feel they’re more important than other tweets on your timeline. Unlike Tweetbot, Osfoora doesn’t yet support the muting of hashtags (which is useful when TV shows like X-Factor are on) or muting of clients (to hide tweets about what TV shows people are watching, what games they are playing or where they’ve checked into on Foursquare, for example). This would be useful to me.

Like most third-party clients, you get a choice of URL shorteners, rather than using Twitter’s own, although CloudApp is currently the only other one supported – no support for, for example. Similarly you don’t have to use Twitter’s own image hosting service if you don’t want to.

Osfoora doesn’t yet support live streaming – tweets are refreshed on a schedule. However, this can be set to every minute if you wish, and support for live streaming should come in a future update. A nice touch is that a small message briefly appears at the bottom of the timeline stating how many tweets were received at the last refresh – although Osfoora also supports Growl notifications, I find this less jarring.

Finally, there’s support for multiple Twitter accounts, although each account gets its own timeline window. You can hide them though, or just use one window and use a keyboard shortcut to cycle through them.

Osfoora is £2.99 from the Mac App Store. It’s also available on iOS, but I haven’t tested it as I’m happy with Tweetbot at the moment.

One Comment

  1. I may have to give that a whirl. Mind you I’ve been more than happy with Echofon on my my iPhone and my Mac for some time now. So perhaps I’ll just stick with what works for me.