Tweetie: Mac Twitter Software with Style

Tweetie has long been my iPhone Twitter client of choice, and news of a desktop application being developed certainly caught my attention. Launched today, Tweetie for Mac represents an extension to atebits already popular iPhone client. It’s the first time that an iPhone application has been ported to the desktop with such fanfare, and is certainly worth taking a look at.

The interface takes a slightly different approach to a standard Twitter client, but still feels incredibly natural and easy-to-use. Performance is excellent, the app is free (for an ad-supported version), and it offers a comprehensive set of features. We’ll be taking a look at what’s on offer, and walking you through what Tweetie for Mac is capable of.

A “Complete Rewrite”

Loren Brichter, President and Founder of atebits, sums up the thinking behind Tweetie for Mac well:

I kept hearing people say that they used Tweetie on their iPhone even when they were sitting at their desk, because the experience was so much better than anything that existed on the desktop. Tweetie for Mac should let them keep their iPhones in their pocket a little more often.

People will certainly have high expectations of a desktop Tweetie port, but my experience so far would suggest that you’re unlikely to be disappointed. Tweetie offers everything you’d expect – from your timeline to trends – all with an incredibly polished user interface. Rather than being a simple port, the desktop version is a “complete rewrite”, with a faster core and a more stable back-end. These changes are likely to be pushed down to Tweetie 2.0 for the iPhone in the near future.

Accounts, Tweets & Composing

After entering your account information, you’ll be displayed with the main window for browsing and composing tweets:

Browsing and Composing Tweets

Browsing and Composing Tweets

A set of navigation icons down the left hand side illustrate the different views available, followed by a list of the most recent tweets (or replies, direct messages etc). This is the area where multiple accounts are handled, displaying an icon for each. A few users have voiced concerns that this section takes up more space than necessary – it’s very much down to your taste. Tweetie might not be a particularly unobtrusive app, but makes up for it in other areas.

When viewing an image linked to from a tweet, Tweetie will display it in a simple pop-out window rather than requiring you switch applications to a browser. This is a great trick and I’m surprised it hasn’t been done elsewhere before.

Composing new tweets is remarkably simple, supporting drag and drop inclusion of links and images. These are automatically uploaded to the photo sharing service of your choice. A character count is displayed in the top right of the window and URLs can be shortened with one click before posting.

Threaded DMs

Viewing direct messages doesn’t take the standard format, electing to display messages as a iChat-esque conversation. You’re initially presented with a list of contacts who you’ve exchanged messages with. Tweetie then allows you to drill down into any of these conversations, displaying your current location through a breadcrumb trail near the top of the window:

Threaded DM Messages

Threaded DM Messages

This makes it far clearer to understand how a back-and-forth exchange of messages occurred. This emphasis on conversation doesn’t remain solely in the DM view, and also applies to viewing regular tweets. It’s possible to view @replies in context so that you see a full conversation rather than simply isolated messages.

Bookmarklet

If you’d like to quickly share a link via Twitter, this can be easily achieved using in-built bookmarklet functionality. It works with any browser, and opens up a small composition window containing the current URL:

The Safari Bookmarklet

The Safari Bookmarklet

Searching

Searching is fully supported through Tweetie, either in the default window or a new one. When you reach the end of the search results, another search is automatically performed to populate the list with results from further back in time. Unfortunately, there’s no way to save search results at this stage – something which would be great to see in a future version.

Configuration

Only a few preference options are available for Tweetie, allowing you to change a few display settings, and choose which URL Shortening/Image service to use:

Tweetie Preferences

Tweetie Preferences

Advanced settings include the ability to adjust keyboard shortcuts, alter notification settings, and specify how to handle links within messages.

Conclusion

After spending a while using Tweetie, it has certainly become my desktop client of choice. The interface and animation is subtle enough not to distract, and conversation tracking seems immediately natural. There are a few limitations such as the inability to save searches and no view for displaying a list of followers within the app. These aren’t huge sticking points for me and I’ll be purchasing the ad-free version shortly.

Tweetie for Mac is available now, with a full-featured, free version supported by FusionAds. Registration will disable the ads, and licenses are available for a two-week introductory price of $14.95 (normally $19.95).

If you’ve tried out Tweetie today, let me know what you think! Is it likely to become the must-have Twitter software for OS X?


  • http://steve.blogme.us Steve Morrissey

    Cant help but agree with you here, Tweetie for Mac (and the iPhone for that much) is the best combo of twitter clients to date. Covers all my devices, all day long.

  • http://vectips.com Rype

    How does it compare to Nambu?

    • http://www.designersreviewofbooks.com Andy Polaine

      I couldn’t stand Nambu – I went straight back to Twitterrific. But now I’m on Tweetie.

      • http://twitter.com/AdrianHerritt Adrian

        Nambu seemed bloated and slow for me. I’ve tried pretty much all of the OS X twitter clients out there, and kept coming back to Twitterific. Tweetie is working great so far and seems to be just as fast and with more functionality. I miss the black transparency of Twitterific though.

    • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

      It depends what you’re looking for. Nambu is probably more powerful, but lacks the polish of Tweetie.

      It’s like comparing NetNewsWire (with all the bells, whistles and synchronization support) with NewsFire (which looks great).

      The way in which conversations are styled is also a killer feature; something which Nambu lacks.

      • http://vectips.com Rype

        I see. I’ll give Tweetie a try for sure, but I’m afraid it lacks a little to much in the features department. Still, Tweetie looks great!

  • http://www.designersreviewofbooks.com Andy Polaine

    I’ve tried almost every other Twitter app including all those other faux application AIR ones. For me Twitterrific was always the best and I still like it’s semi-transparent ability because it is less distracting. Tweetie, however, is looking like it’s the smartest so far and will probably become my main Desktop client – it needs Growl support plus an alert sound too, but those will come, I’m sure.

    • Mike

      Ooh, yes forgot it was missing Growl support. However, this looks like the next hot feature request on GetSatisfaction, so I expect we’ll see it soon.

  • Mike

    Have to agree – about to purchase it now. Few bugs to be fixed (global shortcut keys, right-click menubar icon, etc.) but nothing I wouldn’t expect in a v1.0 product.

  • http://adrian-rodriguez.net Adrian Rodriguez

    I just downloaded it this morning and I am already very impressed with it. I have it as my only twitter client at the moment and it is pretty awesome.

  • http://www.truebluetitan.com Rob Schultz

    Color me impressed. I’ve tried tweetdeck, twitterific, and a handful of other local client apps for the Mac, but always ended up going back to the Web site. As someone who prefers local clients, this was a blit flustering. The polish on Tweetie, however, might change my ways. I’ve been using their iPhone app for quite some time now, and my first impressions lead me to believe that Tweetie will slowly become my ONLY interface to twitter. Growl support is my #1 request at the moment.

    Tweetie: It’s simple and does what you expect it to do beautifully.

  • http://mohdrafie.co.uk/ Rafie

    I really like it.

    But try this. Cmd + N

    I suspect it is a bug. Twittie should detect that the New Window for a tweet has already open thus it is not necessary to open a new Window.

    What say you?

    • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

      I think that’s a feature they’re pushing – that it’s possible to compose multiple Tweets at a time!

      • http://www.truebluetitan.com Rob Schultz

        David, you’re right. It’s listed as a feature on their Web site.

      • Mark Bowen

        Would love to know how you can type two things at once? ;-)

    • John

      Yees! Finally a situation where I get to say:

      “It’s not a bug – it’s a feature”

  • http://www.ad2.com.br Fabiano Coelho

    I don’t like the interface, I like it clean as bluebird

  • http://paperplanes.de Mathias Meyer

    Just bought it. So far one of the most polished Twitter clients for the Mac. Although it seems that writing a Twitter client has become the equivalent of writing “Hello, World” in a new programming language.

  • http://www.drewbarontini.com Drew Barontini

    I’ve used ALL twitter clients and always ended up back at Twitterific for 2 reasons: 1. You could get rid of the dock icon, only using the menu bar icon and 2. Growl notifications. I’ve seen these two features requested, and I think they will be implemented in Tweetie. I picked up a copy, it’s really an amazing little app. I’m enjoying it so far.

  • David

    Two missing things for sure…
    1. Dock icon should hide and only appear in menu bar, surprised this isn’t an option?
    2. New tweet window should reveal from the bottom of the app, not in a new window – annoying for sure…

    Other than that, great app, looking forward to updates.

    • http://pixelbud.com pixelbud

      #2 is not annoying when you can set a global shortcut or use the bookmarklet in Safari and be able to tweet anytime and anywhere.

  • http://www.thegraphicmac.com/ Jim

    By far the slickest looking Twitter client. Adjustable font sizes is nice, and in-Tweet picture viewing is awesome. But it has a few bugs, and is sorely lacking a few features that virtually every new client has. Groups is by far the biggest shortcoming.

    It’s nice that the developer has decided that he would rather have multiple accounts instead – unfortunately he’s not the only one using the app. Not having groups is going to absolutely kill any chance that this app has of skyrocketing to the top of desktop Twitter clients for the Mac. I really don’t understand why some people are so against groups for helping to organize Tweets. Why would you want to create multiple accounts simply to categorize Tweets?

    For now, Twitter power users have a few options for groups-enabled clients that have a well-rounded feature list:
    TweetDeck
    EventBox
    Nambu
    Seesmic Desktop

    Did I miss one?

    • http://www.designersreviewofbooks.com Andy Polaine

      You can do tear-off searches if you need groups. Do a search, then go to Window > New Window and your old one with the search will still be active. This is much better than the way Tweetdeck works IMHO because you can place the individual windows where you want on your screen. The fact it isn’t a faux application AIR app is a plus too.

  • http://chetiboy.blogspot.com Chet

    It doesn’t currently support Growl, which can be fixed in a future update. I guess what I was most looking for – although just an aesthetic, is the all around ichat-esque messages similar to the iPhone app.

    Wish we can choose how the images are displayed though!

  • Ara

    I’ll stick to twitterfon for iPhone and twhirl for mac. Both free. There is no sense in paying $15 or $20 just to post to twitter. Lol especially with so many free tools out there.

    • http://www.truebluetitan.com Rob Schultz

      It’s free if you don’t mind the ads. I’ve been using it all morning and they’re not invasive to the UE at all.

  • http://www.nouveller.com/ Benjamin Reid

    The App is brill’! I’ll be dishing out a free copy of Tweetie for Mac in the next few weeks.

  • Bennett W.

    it has some nice features but the UI and dock icon is so disgusting to look at.

  • http://www.masey.com.au Masey

    Yeah I’m really liking what I’m seeing so far with the Tweetie desktop app. Certainly needs Growl support as suggested earlier, but it seems to be high on the request list so I imagine we’ll see it integrated before too long.

  • Oxide

    I think i’m in love!

  • http://dzine-studios.com Dan

    Awesome app. The only thing that’s stopping me from whipping out my credit card is the lack of a “hide icon in dock” feature. I like my Twitter apps to be silently running in the background, without obtrusive dock icons taking up valuable screen space.

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  • http://Rushi.Vishavadia.com Rushi

    The lack of growl support and an option to hide it’s ugly icon in the dock. Otherwise I think it’s perfect.

  • http://www.kriegs.org Jeff Krieger

    It looks great. But I am way more exciteda bout Nambu. User groups, the ability to see all my timelines (friends, searches, replies, whatever I want) all in one window, three different views, and it looks almost as pretty. Wondering why Nambu isn’t getting as much respect. Oh, and Nambu is free…at least for now.

    • ali

      Nambu’s been discontinued :(

  • Ben

    Really good but needs a few things.

    Growl support, hide dock icon, retweet button, and a way to save searches. If they do that this will be perfect.

  • http://www.12thday.co.uk Jason Ball

    I like Tweetie and it sure is pretty but unless I’m missing something, the inability to group follows/followers makes it less appealing than Tweetdeck for me.

    On Tweetdeck this means I can pay more attention to the people I know or have a particular interest in and check in with everyone else when I have the time.

    If there is a way of doing this, I’d love to know.

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  • http://www.hellonemo.com Caesar Aldhela

    Great app! i’d love it :)
    but i still have a problem with my avatar in tweetie that didn’t showed but in web or other app showed and has no problem :(

  • pmaile

    I am trying to find a Twitter app that allows me to monitor two Twitter accounts at one time. Has anyone heard of one they could tell me about? I really want to be able to monitor my personal and work accoutns at the same time without constantly having to log in and log out

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  • http://www.metamorphosislive.blogspot.com Jorge

    How can i log out from tweetie , because many people uses my mac i do not want to see my profile

    • Collinmd5

      You go to your tool bar and click tweetie, under tweetie click preferences, then from there its self explanatory.

  • http://www.martinvaresio.com.ar Orfebre Martin

    I really want to be able to monitor my personal and work accounts!

  • Grace

    Hey I love it!I have on problem though.I can’t figure out how to sign out. How do you do that?

  • Jay

    How the hell do you view lists?

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