Tweetie 2 Debuts as Twitter for Mac; Is the Legacy Maintained?

Tweetie has been my favorite Mac Twitter client since the day of its initial release. Unfortunately, the legendary app has been showing its age lately with a lack of updates to accommodate new Twitter features like lists and official Retweets.

I’ve tried to replace it with Weet, Nambu, Kiwi, TweetDeck, Echofon and a host of others to no avail. No matter how many times I say I’ll never go back, within 24 hours I’m right back where I started, using Tweetie and cursing my lack of willpower.

When Twitter purchased Atebits for the legendary Tweetie iPhone app, many of us thought it spelled doom for Tweetie for Mac. Highly placed individuals at Twitter have since made statements that indicated they weren’t particularly interested in pursuing a Mac client.

However, yesterday the rumor mill came alive that a new version, rebranded Twitter for Mac, would launch with today’s Mac App Store. Tweetie creator Loren Brichter made good on those rumors and today we’re taking a look at the brand new official Twitter client for Mac. Oh, and it’s free so be sure to go grab it!

Interface

Twitter for Mac is a major overhaul from Tweetie, both visually and functionally. We’ll start by taking a look at the new interface then jump into the features. Here’s a first look at the new app:

screenshot

Meet Twitter for Mac

I think the new interface is downright beautiful. It’s taken the dark sidebar that made Tweetie so iconic even further by bringing it all the way to the top and adding some really nice translucency. Since I manage three Twitter accounts, this sidebar is what kept me coming back to Tweetie and I’m thrilled that they’ve maintained that unmatched multi-account experience with the little light indicators and fast account switching.

No Titlebar!?

In case you haven’t noticed, the trend in Mac application design is moving towards a borderless experience (see Quicktime). Twitter for Mac picks up this trend and strips out any semblance of that iconic Mac metal frame, including the titlebar.

screenshot

Love it or hate it, expect to see more frameless app designs

Many users are crying foul at this and Loren Bricther has cleverly fielded a comment or two with witty responses. While I love the appearance of the borderless app, I do admit that it’s a little tricky to move around at first, but any awkwardness fades after mere minutes of use. The app moves just fine if you click and drag anywhere across the top or in the sidebar. I don’t think the quirk is enough to make Tweetie fans switch to something else, but it might be enough to prevent a few new users from switching over.

Tweeting

The new tweet window is located along the bottom like in Tweetie, but is a little harder to spot. I recommend just getting used to hitting Command-N as a shortcut. As you can see in the screenshot below, a few other options have been added here as well.

screenshot

Tweet tweet

The tweet window shares the same translucent trick as the sidebar, this time along the bottom. I was initially concerned about the lack of a way to switch users here, but you can simply click the avatar to accomplish this.

screenshot

Switching accounts in the tweet window

New Features

Now that we’ve taken the new interface for a spin, let’s dive in and see what new functionality has been added. As I mentioned above, Tweetie was really starting to lag behind in the feature arena so this update was greatly needed!

Lists

You’ll notice a few new sidebar icons have been added (significantly adding to the height of the app). The first of these is the new lists tab, shown below.

screenshot

Twitter lists

This feature is pretty simple and merely gives you a gateway to the lists that you’ve created. As far as I can tell, there’s no actual list management features here, only the ability to filter your stream according to the users in a given list. Nothing spectacular, but definitely an appreciated addition.

Profile Tab

In Tweetie, you had to double-click your avatar to see your profile. In Twitter for Mac, a dedicated profile tab has been added to make this easier. From here you can view your timeline, replies, favorites and account info.

screenshot

The Profile Tab

Clicking on another user’s avatar will likewise take you to their profile. At the bottom left of this tab you can see whether or not you’re following the user. Unfortunately, it seems the app has lost the ability to check whether or not a given user is following you. This was present in Tweetie but if it’s here in Twitter for Mac, I haven’t found it.

screenshot

Another user's profile

Trends

The search feature is still present and maintains the ability to save your searches. One new feature here though is the inclusion of a list of trending topics. These appear in the search tab before you’ve typed anything into the search field.

screenshot

Twitter Trends

Retweets

Back when Tweetie first launched, retweeting was something that users were doing all on their own without the aid of an official Twitter feature. Twitter eventually adopted their own method of the credit-giving mechanism, which is supported in the new app. Hovering over a tweet gives you the option to Reply, Favorite or Retweet.

screenshot

Retweet

Alternatively, you can “quote” a tweet using Option-T. This doesn’t use “RT” or “via” like other apps but rather places the tweet in quotes with the original poster’s username followed by a colon and the text of the tweet.

Live Streaming

One feature that constantly bugged me about Tweetie is how late it seemed to get Tweets. My iPad would often notify me of an @reply minutes before Tweetie would catch up, despite manual refreshing. This problem is a thing of the past with Twitter for Mac because tweets are no longer grabbed in groups every few minutes. Instead they come in live as they’re tweeted with remarkable speed.

Tweets come in so fast now that having the app visible while you’re working can actually cause a great amount of distraction. You definitely can’t complain about progress though, it’s quite a thing of beauty to watch all that data pour in.

The tweets aren’t the only thing that got a speed boost either. The app is full of lightning fast and silky smooth animations.

Drag and Drop Tweets

This feature surprised me a little and I admit that I probably don’t fully grasp its significance yet. Tweets now respond to drag and drop actions.

screenshot

Take a drag man

The functionality is much like any text selected in OS X. When you drag it around, you get a text clipping that can be thrown on your desktop for safe keeping, inserted into a text field as plain text, or thrown into TextEdit as a fully formatted tweet, avatar, links and all. You can also drag any tweet into the compose window to quote it.

screenshot

A tweet inserted into TextEdit

Preferences

The Preferences for the app remain fairly basic. You can set shortcuts, change menu bar behavior, add accounts, set Growl notifications/dock badges and adjust a few more standard settings.

screenshot

Twitter for Mac Preferences

The Big MacHeist Secret!

If you purchased the MacHeist nano bundle, you get access to a super-secret preference panel! Simply hold Control+Option+Command after your open the Twitter help menu to find the secret backdoor. From here you’ll have to insert your email address and Nano Bundle license to enable the extra panel.

screenshot

The MacHeist secret backdoor!

Possible Improvement

So what’s missing? Brichter has really hit a home run here as far as I’m concerned but there are admittedly a few issues. For starters, you can’t adjust the font size (Brichter promises a fix soon), so users with not-so-great vision might have some accessibility issues until 2.1.

Another bug comes in the inability to post a link beginning with “www” (no http://). Links are automatically shortened with Twitter for Mac and if you try including something along the lines of “www.apple.com” in a tweet, you’ll likely get an error and you simply won’t be able to post until you add the mandatory “http://” to the beginning.

These are of course in addition to the issue I mentioned above regarding the loss of the “follow back” status from Tweetie 1. Overall, these issues are extremely minor for such a big release and most or all of them will no doubt be fixed by 2.1. The biggest possible exclusion I see here is the apparent lack of any sort of sync with other versions of Twitter. Now that there are several official Twitter clients (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.), I’d like to see them all play nicely together regarding replies and DMs that have already been read.

Closing Thoughts

Twitter’s strategy of breaking into the app world has already been discussed at length, but this marks yet another decisive blow to the third party app developers that have helped make Twitter the huge success that it is today.

Twitter for Mac is a beautiful, lightning fast client with almost every feature you could want and it’s available completely free of charge with zero ads. This will make it extremely hard for other Mac apps to compete. You can see this at work in the recent decision by Tapmates to scrap their upcoming Twitter client.

Less competition is ultimately a bad thing for users because the variety and quality can suffer in the long run. Hopefully developers will continue to rise to the challenge of keeping Twitter apps innovative and fresh.

With all of that said, I’m thrilled about the update. We’ve waited far too long for a new version of Tweetie for Twitter to come along and screw everything up by gobbling up the company that created it. Fortunately, Twitter’s acquisition of Atebits hasn’t ruined our favorite client at all, in fact, it has probably made it better than it could’ve ever been without inside access into the world of Twitter inc.

There will still be plenty of column fans that stick with TweetDeck and no shortage of syncing fans that stay with Echofon, but this Tweetie fan will most certainly not be switching to anything but Twitter for Mac any time soon.


Summary

Tweetie has been rebranded to Twitter for Mac and sports a beautiful new interface in addition to improved performance and some much-needed features. A few tiny bugs didn't affect the rating but a lack of any sort of syncing option keeps it from a perfect 10.

9
  • http://www.appforthat.de Julia Altermann

    Thanks for the in-depth review. I didn’t know I could that easily switch accounts from within the composing window – thanks for pointing that out.

    Do you have any idea where I can see stats for the t.co link shortening service? I can’t enter my bit.ly account credentials anywhere so I’m forced to use t.co when using Twitter – but I’d really like the stats :)

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      Excellent question, I was wondering that myself.

  • Rodolfo

    Does anyone know if there is an option to find usernames easier when you want to write a reply? On the iPhone version this functionality is there and other desktop clients also have it, this is something I missed from Tweetie and hoped would be added to the new version. So, am I missing something or it’s just not there?

    • http://www.webmaster-source.com redwall_hp

      Press Command+U in the timeline window and start typing a username. It should start to autocomplete it. Press Command+A, Command+V and then paste it into your tweet.

      That’s what I’ve always done, at least…

  • Barron

    It seems there is no ‘@user’ completion when composing a tweet – a feature I really enjoyed in Nambu and am really missing now. Is it possible it’s there and I just don’t see how to enable it?

  • http://jasonpenney.net/ Jason Penney

    I wouldn’t call the need to put the ‘http://’ in a bug. If you don’t put it in there are large number of clients that don’t know that text is a link and it can’t be clicked.

  • Tom

    I’m glad they’re going to put the font sizing option back into the app. My high resolution monitors and aged eyes don’t work well with tiny default text. Too bad they don’t restore the display full name option too.

  • Piotr

    Autocomplete @username is a must-implement feature imho. Hope to see it in the next release!

  • http://inspirationoverload.org/ Conor O’Driscoll

    Great review, and well done on bringing it out so quickly!

    As for finding out if somebody follows you, simply go to their profile, and hover over the Follow/Following/Unfollow button at the bottom. It will either say “*User* follows you” or “*User* does not follow you”

    Also, the trending topics feature is not exactly new to Tweetie 2 – In Tweetie 1, you could press the triangle next on the search field to see trending topics.. This layout, however, is much easier to use.

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      Whoa, good call on both. Thanks for the tips!

  • http://twitter.com/phillipe Phillipe

    No way to check retweets is a deal breaker for me. Except for the live streaming part of it, I still see no reason to ditch Twitter.com. It’s a lot better.

    I think Twitter clients only make sense in mobile devices…

  • http://twitter.com/eduo eduo

    Some things seem rushed.

    The fact that “hover over all” is not an option (other than for nanobundle users) is a horrible choice.

    The default “reply to all in the original tweet” is rushed (echofon has a great way to do it, where from the second user onwards are preselected upon reply, so they can be deleted in a single keystroke, put in the end pressing the left arrow or at the beginning with a right arrow, twitterrific has a nice idea where only twitter users at the beginning or end are tacked in a reply-to-all).

    The visual look of the windows make it harder to know what has the focus.

    The replies appearing next to what’s being replied to is nice, until you realize windows appear all over the place because of that instead of in the same place.

    The sidebar at the left hints at using the app on the right, where it’s usually eclipsed by the growl notifications. Not being able to resize to smaller sizes or to “tack” to the sides, top or bottom makes the windows sort of always just “float” there.

    The app is a very welcome update to Tweetie, and includes several things sorely needed. I’m convinced there’s a few rought edges that will still get cleaned up in future updates and that are right now VERY annoying. I had switched from Tweetie to Kiwi due to the lack of updates and now find myself switching between both, not yet convinced on which one to keep.

    On other news: I’d be miffed if I was a windows user. Twitter seems to be coming up with clients for every platform but the largest one :-|

  • Tim

    To know if someone is following you, simply hover on the “Follow/Unfollow” button and read the little tooltip…

  • http://www.perezfox.com Prescott Perez-Fox

    I wanted to kick things the instant I realised I couldn’t adjust the font size or set display settings to Full Name instead of username. Both of those features were part of Tweetie and seem so elementary. Why omit them? Seriously.

    • http://www.webmaster-source.com redwall_hp

      I wonder if Twitter is trying to leave their mark on it? That would also explain the strange lack of ability to pre-shorten links before tweeting them, and the disappearance of other features.

  • http://www.mikekey.com Mike Key

    I wasn’t to happy that I had to go looking for the new tweet option. I mean really a drop down, there couldn’t just be a space at the top or a fricking icon. Why are the extra two steps necessary?

    • http://www.webmaster-source.com redwall_hp

      I didn’t even notice. Command+N. Like most keyboard shortcuts, it always means “New” in every Mac application.

  • Dan

    I would like to see the sync function that Echofon has.

  • Chris Wanja

    How about hitting on the addition of multitouch?? Three finger swipe on a link opens it. Such a beautiful, but small feature.

  • http://twitter.com/cryorazor Cryorazor

    drag & drop tweets works great with translator for mac. now I can simply translate tweets in foreign languages without firing up my chrome. http://translatorapp.tumblr.com/

  • http://alicialoh.com Alicia

    They really should implement the @username autocomplete feature! That was the highlight of newtwitter for me.

  • Tim

    I still like using Fluid to create a menu bar app from the Twitter website.

  • Rizky Syazuli

    support for plixi and instagram would be nice.. i hate having to open a new web page just to see an image.

  • Ryan

    You can simply hover over the “Follow/Unfollow” bit and it tells you if they’re following you back.

  • Davor

    I’m still using Tweetie, the font is more clear and is much easier to read the tweets on 27″ screen. I don’t like that new Twitter app don’t mark new tweets in search favorites as Tweetie does, my profile can’t show my profile image and it says “user not found”, anyway, I will wait that all these bugs get resolved in next update. I hope so :)

  • http://www.koodoz.com.au Koodoz Design

    Has anyone else experienced difficulty in opening a browser window when clicking on a link in the timeline? In Tweetie, you could just click on a link and it would open in a browser window.

    The only way I can actively open a link is by right-clicking to bring up the contextual menu and then click on the URL, again.

    Either I’m missing something, or this is a very major oversight and a tad lame…

  • TWITTER.FOR.MAC.SUCKS

    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.
    THE NEW TWITTER FOR MAC SUCKS.

  • http://evokeartdesign.com Rob McDonald

    I’m loving the new interface and am happy to see things progress as it’s been needing it for some time now. Very surprised there still seems to be no support for custom URL shortening … which has been in the iPhone app for ages. Hopefully we’ll see this functionality soon as I would say it’s a big factor in those clinging onto TweetDeck etc.

  • Scott

    One feature I liked from the old Tweetie is opening a search in a new window. I don’t think Twitter for Mac allows you to do this.

  • Pingback: Essential Software for Mac Switchers: 23 Must-Have Apps | Mac.AppStorm

  • Pingback: Best of AppStorm in January

  • Pingback: Best of AppStorm in January | Programming Blog

  • Pingback: 10 Awesome Browser Extensions for Twitter

  • Pingback: Best of AppStorm in January | Android.AppStorm

theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow