TumbleKit: The Tumblr App Your Mac Needs

Microblogging has become very popular thanks to Tumblr. The social network/microblogging service was founded in early 2007 by David Karp, accompanied by Marco Arment of Instapaper as the company’s lead developer. Since its launch, more than 86.8 million blogs have been created on Tumblr (as of late December 2012). It’s been going strong, and many people are happy with the service, but there’s always been one thing missing for some Mac users: a native app.

Now that’s no longer a problem, thanks to Yunseok Kim’s TumbleKit.

A Minimal Interface of Monochrome Delight

An image takes up the whole window, but that's okay — it's focus.

An image takes up the whole window, but that’s okay — it’s focus.

The app is impressively simple, offering only three main tabs for browsing — dashboard, favorites, and followings — and a “new post” button for telling the world about your day. Instead of the typical Lion scrollbar, TumbleKit employs an even slimmer one that measures just three pixels wide to ensure your browsing experience is not interrupted by something so superfluous.

Browsing The Feed

As you scroll through your dashboard, you’ll be reminded of the Tumblr web app in that everything is very simple and straightforward. You still have all the posts from people you follow, along with the tags and other data, but there’s something new: pictures don’t have to be clicked to be expand. Tumblr’s dashboard page has always loaded the full size image that someone posted, but it takes a click to show the full-sized picture. Instead of wasting a lot of time browsing thumbnails, TumbleKit makes this process much simpler by giving you the full size image right away.

The "mix of memories" post is actually a video from Vimeo and Flarup's face is missing from the bottom left.

The “mix of memories” post is actually a video from Vimeo and Flarup’s face is missing from the bottom left.

Sadly, some media formats aren’t supported in TumbleKit, including videos from YouTube or Vimeo. In the screenshot above, you can see that I follow Michael Flarup, a designer and photographer. When I went to my followings tab and clicked his profile, a new window popped up with his full stream — it loaded fast, too. The first time I went to his blog, though, a film from Vimeo didn’t show up at all. After a few more tries, I got it to show me a thumbnail, but if I clicked it I was taken to the webpage to view the video.

Hopefully the developer adds support for videos so users don’t have to leave the app to watch them. A good way to do this would be inline support along with a fullscreen mode. Also, I’d like to note that sometimes the images on blogs don’t load, including the profile picture for person who posted on Tumblr. It may be a bug, or it might just be that my Internet connection, at 1.5 Mbps, isn’t fast enough to pull the data fluidly.

Save Things for Later with Your Favorite Service

Saving a lengthy article to Readability with a simple right-click.

Saving a lengthy article to Readability with a simple right-click.

TumbleKit’s coolest and most useful feature is support for Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability. You can sign in with any one of these save-for-later services and then send any post to the account for reading or viewing later. That is possible in the browser, but you do have to install an extension or bookmarklet. Having it right at hand makes things simpler.

Posting is Quick and Easy

Posting a video to my Tumblr.

Posting a video to my Tumblr.

Want to reblog something? Just click the same button you would below any post on Tumblr’s website, and it’ll work the same in this app. It even gives you the option to add some commentary before publishing the post.

Of course, if you want to jot down your own thoughts, you can make new posts from + in the top right corner of TumbleKit as well. The editing screen is full of all the tools you could ever need, from Markdown support with realtime previewing to image uploading, quotes, link posts, and even video embedding. There’s an option to send the post to Twitter when you’re finished, too.

Some Settings for the Advanced User

Change the appearance of things to suit you.

Change the appearance of things to suit you.

If some of the things you’ve heard so far haven’t met your superuser standards, don’t worry — there’s a fix in the app’s Preferences. You can change the default post type to something like video, automatically send posts to Twitter, change the font, add a double-click shortcut for liking or reblogging a post, and even add more than one account. It’s everything you could ask for, really.

Is It Worth $6.99?

Reblogging a fantastic sketch using a great little app.

Reblogging a fantastic sketch using a great little app.

In the end, the real question is whether or not this app is worth the price. If you use Tumblr a lot and love browsing and posting, then yes, it’s perfect for you. It’s even pretty good for pro blogging in Tumblr, with Markdown and scheduling support.

The only problem I see with TumbleKit is its lack of support for exploration. You can click a tag on a post and use that to look around Tumblr, but there’s really nothing more to it than that. You can’t look up a user or search for something, nor can you open a Tumblr profile in the app. That’s holding this app back, but I’d still say it’s worth $6.99 for what it offers now. There’s not another app out there that offers what TumbleKit already offers for Tumblr.

And hey, if you’re starting a new Tumblr blog, check out our sister site Web.AppStorm for a roundup of creative ThemeForest Tumblr themes that might inspire you to make the web part of your Tumblr blog look even nicer.


Summary

TumbleKit brings all the basics of Tumblr to your Mac, much like MarsEdit does for WordPress. This app does need some searching features, but other than that it's off to a great start.

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  • m33t

    I’ve bought it, it works, as advertised, but i just don’t like it because it has no menubar icon. For an app like this it is very, very bad (!). A default window app that gets in the way very often and you can even set it to “assign it to all desktops” like iTunes.

    Quickly check/reply latest post in a fancy window? Forget it.

    You wrote: “There’s not another app out there that offers what TumbleKit already offers for Tumblr.” Even though the sentence is not very clear i still read it as “there is no app like this one”.

    That is wrong. Check out “Beelog” on Mac AppStore. It is more mature than this one! Another Tumblr app in MAS is “Tumblita”, but the UI is not very good. That makes two other apps that offers a menubar icon and more than TumbleKit.

    Anyway.. TumbleKit is working and the design is alright, but the missing menubar icon is killing it for me. Too bad.. would love a refund :(

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