TweetStation: Elevating the Discourse

(See below for Updates).

TweetStation is my first native iPhone app (as opposed to my award-winning HTML5-app iCoaster). More screenshots can be seen here

Just like Rails, TweetStation is an opinionated Tweeting client, it contains my personal blend of features that I enjoy from other twitter clients, but also tries to do something about changing the world.

TweetStation has been designed to elevate the level of discourse on Twitter.

At a conceptual level, this is achieved by applying the cardinal rule of not taking anything too seriously, specially any interactions you might have online.

At a practical level this is achieved with two features. The first feature plays back chicken noises whenever you request more Tweets (this is bound to the Tweetie-like "Pull to Refresh" feature). These chicken noises have been engineered to remind you that no matter how important an argument appears to be in Twitter, you should not take it too seriously.

Additionally, the chicken-noise-on-refresh serves as a cue to other people talking to you that you rather see what @jacksonh, or @Mickey__Rourke have to say than hear them parrot back the physics of clouds wikipedia page that they just read twenty minutes ago.

When you compose a message with TweetStation music starts playing back in the background. This music was specially selected to elicit in you the desire to write a witty and clever response as opposed to the usual "well, fuck you too" response seen too often on social media sites. The result will be the kind of tweet that your local newspaper would publish in the front page, or in their "Social Media Expert" column.

But there is an elephant in the room, and I want to speak directly about it. Many Twitteristas are concerned about the Tweetpocalypse and Twitter's transition to use some bizarro world non-feature called OAuth.

Tweetstation is feature packed and does not suffer from either problem. You can trust that Tweetstation was developed using the best engineering techniques available today, and that you will never be the victim of the Tweetpocalypse and be left incommunicado due to some silly programming mistake. Not in this 32-bit century, not in the next, and not under my watch. If my years of experience taught me one thing is and one thing only, it is when to use a 32-bit integer data type and when to use a 64-bit one. Do not fear dear user, I also master many other data types, but I digress.

But you might be wondering, why another Twitter client, and why now? As a twitterista you know that there is a special bond, an intimate bond if you will, between the twitterista and his twitter client. This bond can exist as long as both the twitterista and the twitter client grow hand in hand, if they co-develop. And I found myself at odds with the design decisions and paths that other twitter clients were taking. In a metaphorical way, I felt uncomfortable, like a Woody Allen character under pressure. But a character that lacked Woody Allen's command of the language.

And this is how TweetStation was born, it was a labor of love, but mostly of social awkwardness when my friends mocked my Twitter client for lacking a chicken noise, or when they suggested things at dinner like "would it not be cool if...". I decided to change all that, and make sure that other twitteristas in the future did not feel the social scorn that I had gone through, and this is why TweetStation's source code is on github.

Getting TweetStation

You can get TweetStation from iTunes.

Activating the Chicken Noises

By default, the chicken noises are off. To turn on this features, go to "Settings" and in the "Poultry" section set "Chicken Noises" to the "ON" position.

TrollStation Pro vs TweetStation

Since this is going to become a FAQ, I wanted to address this here.

I have two sets of keys that I got from Twitter to access the service using OAuth. One set of keys is the regular set of keys that anyone can get, and I attached the name "TrollStation Pro" to that one. This set of keys is what I placed on the public code on GitHub, so anyone can try and anyone can use. I reserve the right to change that name on a day-by-day basis depending on what I consider to be funny that particular day.

The second set of keys are labeled as "TweetStation" and that one is used for the actual application on the AppStore. These keys are special because Twitter was kind enough to give me access to their service using "xAuth" which improves the login experience (no web browser is involved).

Retina Display

TweetStation was submitted to Apple before I could get my hands on an iPhone4, so it is missing the high-resolution artwork. I just submitted a build that contains high-resolution icons for the iPhone4.

Updates

Login bug: There is a login bug if your password contains any special characters. I have submitted a bug fix to Apple (including the Retina display update). For now you can work around this issue by changing your password to use letters and numbers.

Posted on 01 Jul 2010 by Miguel de Icaza
This is a personal web page. Things said here do not represent the position of my employer.