On Twitter Clients and Their Change in TOS

Update: The plot thickens. Sean Coates pointed out on Twitter this morning that the Twitter API announcement has been pulled, with no obvious response. Most of the mailing list message is still available in an article in the Guardian.

First, I’m not a developer of software. I make websites. I use Twitter. A lot sometimes. I have found the reaction to Twitter’s curious announcement in the change in their terms of service interesting. Granted, most reactions I have read are from developer types, so it may be biased. The sentiment could be summed up in a tweet I saw today, “Twitter: from #dickbar to #dickmove”. That basically Twitter added a new “feature” in their most recent mobile app that absolutely no one liked and users were abuzz with suggestions for other clients. Rather than listen to these users (granted, they did release a minor update that apparently mitigates to a degree the trending bar, coined by Gruber the dickbar) they simply decided to post to a mailing list telling developers to not plan on being able to create alternate clients. Poor timing? Possibly. They very well could have been planning this announcement for some time. Still seems odd.

But what if they had challenged themselves internally? “We are going to make such a kick ass experience for the desktop, mobile and web, users won’t bother with these imitators.” They could have looked at who was doing great things with the iPhone and the desktop and simply hired them to make their product better. Listened to their users to see what features these other clients were offering and make them better. Isn’t that what free-market competition should be all about? Not, “hey, thanks for helping build up our user base, now go screw yourselves.”

Ultimately, Twitter really reminded me that I don’t pay for it, so I can’t really bitch about it, and should remember my goal of Less Twitter, more me..

iBlogger iPhone App

Prior to my discovery that you can post to a Habari blog with Safari on the iPhone, I purchased iBlogger for the iPhone. It’s from the same developers of ecto, a desktop blogging client. It’s currently only priced at $0.99, which for me is a price I’m willing to pay to test an app. It supports all of the popular blogging platforms, as well as the generic metaweblog API, for which Habari has a plugin available.

Connecting the app to my Habari install was very easy, if I recall it even auto discovered the endpoint (example.com/xmlrpc).

As far as functionality, I do not know if because the generic metaweblog API is being used, and sites using engines like Moveable Type or WordPress, but the options are currently pretty sparse (as of v 1.0.7). Habari’s plugin doesn’t support posting images, so the only options really are:

  • adding your location – the app inserts a link which opens to a Google map
  • adding links – an easy UI for adding a hyperlink.
  • tagging – this “feature” seems very weak. It doesn’t pull the existing tags from the site, a common feature in desktop blogging clients, and in my testing, keeps the previous post’s tags on subsequent posts. Might be handy if you expect to tag all of your on-the-go posts the same thing, but I don’t see it that way.

iBlogger does support multiple blogs, otherwise, I have not found any additional elements. For $0.99, I suppose one can’t complain. Since all of my personal sites are on Habari, I haven’t had cause to look at any of the other iPhone blogging clients. I understand the WordPress app is free and open-sourced, I’m sure at some point, most likely out of boredom, I will look at it. Ultimately, as many people have pointed out, typing on the iPhone doesn’t lend itself to the phone being a real blogging device.

However to get that in the moment feel, having a stable option with with a decent feature set would be nice to have. Thank goodness with Habari and in iPhone, you don’t need a secondary app.