Twitter apps for all sorts of platforms are not exactly scarce these days, in fact we’ve previously covered 7 Twitter desktop apps for the Mac, but in my experience with many of them, decent ones are few and far between. Therefore, when the latest MacHeist software bundle offered the Tweetie desktop client app as an addition to the original pack of Mac OS X software, I was eager to try it out.
The first thing about it is its simplicity. There’s not a lot to it, and that’s great because it’s Twitter. And there really isn’t a lot to Twitter. I’m glad that the developer has placed a lot of emphasis on the design of the interface, rather than try to pack it full of features that are really unnecessary when it comes to general use of Twitter.
Upon opening the app for the first time you are required to login using your usual Twitter details as you would on the site or any other app, from there you are ready to go and a notification icon is placed in your menu bar. When there is nothing new to notify you of, the icon remains black, however when there is an update from someone you follow or a direct message, it turns blue. It remains fairly discreet, although it is obvious because if not it really doesn’t serve the purpose. Clicking upon the icon brings up the main Tweetie window. Down the left hand side there is a navigation bar consisting of links to the four main components of the app. Timeline, Mentions, Messages and Search.
Timeline is where the updates from those you follow are listed in a descending chronological order. The interface is extremely simple, with the users image being presented down the left of the main window and a speech bubble to the right displaying their name and their tweet. Links to websites can be clicked and opened in your default internet browser. On the free version of Tweetie, the tweets are infrequently interrupted by an advert banner which is surprisingly unintrusive.
The next window, Mentions, does exactly what it would appear. It lists all the tweets in which you have been mentioned in the same interface as the Timeline window. In fact, all the windows are presented in the same layout which makes the entire app extremely simple to use and creates a consistently neat and extremely useable app.
The Messages window is much the same, but lists all of your direct messages and allows you to quickly respond using a single button. Once clicked, a new panel opens which allows you to enter your message and just click send. It’s as simple as that. This simplicity remains constant throughout the app, from any of the four tabs you can quickly, using a single button in the bottom left of the window, post a new tweet using the same pop-out panel as the messages feature.
The Search feature is simple. It allows you to search through Twitter users as well as any Tweets from any users which mentions the entered name or word. It’s a powerful search tool which is located at the top of the window and the results displayed in the same format as the other features.
Although I stated at the beginning of the review that there were no unnecessary features. There are some in Tweetie which are additional to the usual Twitter apps, however they serve a very necessary purpose and in some ways enhance the Twitter service. For example, the method of which direct messages are displayed allows you to have full, almost IM conversations with your followers. It is displayed in an interface very similar to that of the iPhone SMS or iChat.
Tweetie also claims to have the best multiple account implementation around. This is just one of the alterations that can be made from the prefereces panel. Additionally, you can decide to alter your favourite URL shortener and image hosting service. The app is fairly customisable from that respect and allows you to select only what you want to be notified of, keeping the interface clean and entirely relevant.
There are also a couple of interesting features to improve productivity. Firstly, almost everything has a keyboard shortcut. Command-Enter will send a tweet and so on. You can also open several Tweetie windows so you can access your Timeline as well as a search in tandem. You can also download the ‘bookmarklet’ from the developers website. Here you can add a ‘Post with Tweetie’ shortcut to your web browsers bookmark bar allowing you to share your favourite websites with the world.
So that about wraps it up. It’s a simple yet undeniably complete Twitter app which is nice to use and extremely functional. There is a free ad-supported version of Tweetie but the full version is just $19.95. Also, you might want to look at the Tweetie iPhone app that is available from the App Store – in fact the guys over at Twitter liked the Tweetie 2 iPhone app so much, they’ve bought it and will be no doubt be rebranding it soon.