We all know how saturated the market for Twitter apps is, with each striving to provide the best experience for the service. This ever-growing market can make it difficult for users to pick their go-to Twitter app, especially when they only differ from one another in subtle ways.
Enter Osfoora, the popular Twitter app for iOS that has recently made its way to the Mac. With over 80,000 Twitter followers and 1,700 ratings in the iOS App Store, the popularity of the brand alone might have been reason enough for the developer to release a version for the Mac. But does Osfoora stand out from the multitude of existing Twitter clients? To see if Osfoora will be a serious competitor on the Mac, read on.
Osfoora’s basic interface is similar to that of the official Twitter app or Twitterrific. The timeline displays tweets as full cells, as opposed to apps like Hibari and Itsy that display them more like speech bubbles. The lefthand sidebar has text labels next to the icons, but you can also collapse it down to just icons.
The charcoal-colored titlebar helps the app stand out a bit from the crowd, but I don’t know if it fits perfectly with the otherwise light interface.
Function-wise, Osfoora offers most of the features that serious Twitter users are going to be looking for. For those of you that navigate your stream by keyboard, Osfoora provides many of the same keyboard navigation shortcuts as the official Twitter app, though some are slightly different. It also has multiple account support, automatic name completion, and a pop-out image viewer.
Tweet Marker allows you to pick up where you left off in your Twitter stream. You will first have to enable Tweet Marker support in the Osfoora preferences. Then, just open up any other Twitter client that supports Tweet Marker, such as Osfoora or TweetBot for iOS, and you will be able to transition seamlessly without having to find your place in your stream.
Inline Image Preview
Inline images bring some richness to your stream. The previews are small, but they might help you decide whether or not it is really worth opening up that photo someone is tweeting about.
There are some users that I generally enjoy following, but sometimes I get overloaded by their tweets. If you follow people like this, Osfoora’s muting feature could help. Hiding a particular user’s tweets is as easy right clicking one of their tweets and selecting “Mute Author”. Getting the tweets to reappear, however, is not so easy. The only way to bring a muted user’s tweets back is by going into preferences and removing them from the Muted Usernames list. Even then, I found that a user’s tweets did not reappear instantly after I unmuted them, or after refreshing. It requires a quick restart to get the tweets back, so this might not be a great temporary solution to over-tweeters.
Instead of having to double-click a tweet to find out if it’s part of a conversation, Osfoora makes it easy by putting a speech bubble icon in the corner of any tweets that are replies. You can click the icon to see the conversation.
Unfortunately, Osfoora only shows this button on replies, not on tweets that get replied to. I would like to be able to click this button on tweets that get replied to, and see the conversation that resulted from a particular tweet.
Open Links in Background
This feature, accessible through the app’s preferences, allows you to click on links in tweets without your browser popping up in front of Osfoora. I find it efficient to go through my timeline, open up a few links at a time in the background, and look at them all once I’m done going through my tweets.
Your Tweets Stand Out
Osfoora shows your tweets highlighted, so that you can easily distinguish them from others in your timeline. This helps you orient yourself when scrolling through the masses, and makes it easy to seek your tweets out or ignore them as you browse.
No Livestream API
At the moment, Osfoora updates your stream at set intervals, which you can set in the preferences. The lack of Livestream may be a problem for many potential users, but fortunately, the developer recently tweeted that he is hoping to include this in a future update.
No Drag to Refresh
Drag to refresh has become a common, convenient way to manually update content in apps. I have gotten so conditioned to performing this action in apps like Twitter and Sparrow, that I instinctually go to do it in Osfoora and am disappointed by its absence. In order to manually refresh the list, you have to press the button in the titlebar, which I find a little less convenient.
No Gap Detection
Some apps offer a feature called gap detection, which is really a solution to a limitation of the Twitter API. The Twitter API only allows apps do load up to 200 tweets at once, and if you have been away from your Twitter client for a while and have missed more than 200 tweets, you can run into gaps in your timeline. Gap detection shows you where there is a gap in your timeline, and allows you to click the gap to load as many of those missing tweets as it can.
Not The Best Multiple Accounts Support
I appreciate the support for multiple accounts, but I feel that it is not implemented as well as in the official Twitter app. Whereas it only takes one click to switch between accounts in the official Twitter app, it takes two to switch using the drop down in Osfoora. This drop down solution also has no indications when other accounts have new activity, as the blue indicator lights of the official Twitter app do, a feature that I greatly miss.
No Drag and Drop Support
I often drag and drop images from my desktop directly into the Compose Tweet dialogue with the official Twitter app. In Osfoora, you have to click a button and select a file from a dialog box in order to add it to your tweet.
No Spell Check
Even when dealing with less than 140 characters of text, I find myself making typos from time to time, which can be frustrating since there is no way to edit a tweet after its posted. Spell check is a simple feature that can make a world of difference, and I hope it finds its way to Osfoora soon.
Osfoora has already made its mark on iOS, and the new Mac app brings some unique features to the table that users will appreciate. I believe it is already one of the most promising third-party Twitter apps available, my favorite features being TweetMarker support and inline image previews. However, it is hard to live without certain features that I am used to from the official Twitter client, such as live stream updates, pull to refresh, and activity indications on multiple accounts.
In the end, Osfoora has only very recently been released for Mac, and I am sure there is more to come. This is definitely an app to keep an eye on, so let’s hope Osfoora will really take some chances in the near future and try to innovate beyond what already exists out there. The official Twitter app is free and still one of my favorite clients on the Mac, so the decision to spend $5 and give Osfoora a try as your go-to Twitter client will depend on how much its unique offerings appeal to you.
Osfoora is a promising Twitter app with a strong following on iOS. The Mac release is missing some things that I feel are essential for a great Twitter experience, and the free, official Twitter app is still a strong competitor, but I am sure we can expect much more from this app in the future.8