The Perfect Mac Twitter Client

No, I haven’t found it yet. Sorry, I hope I didn’t get your hopes up with that headline. I’ve been testing a bunch of different Mac clients for Twitter, and I just can’t seem to find the client that has the right mix of features. So, in the hopes that some of the developers of these various applications are reading, here are some of the applications I’ve tested and what I like about each one. Now I just need someone to take all these features and roll them into the perfect Mac Twitter client…

  • Lounge: The Mac beta of Lounge takes the cake for the most complete integration with Twitter. From within this application, you can view user details, see who’s following who and who’s being followed, view another user’s timeline, view Twitter search results, private messages, retweets, view the tweet in a Web browser, copy the tweet’s URL…well, you get the picture. So what’s wrong with Lounge? Primarily speed. I’d also appreciate the ability to customize the display a little bit more than I can currently. Granted, Lounge is still early (0.4.1) beta, so I guess we have to cut them a little bit of slack.
  • NatsuLion: NatsuLion feels the most Cocoa-native here, with full support for transparency (which is a feature I like). I can adjust the display quite extensively, and it has a minimal desktop footprint. There are some trade-offs for that minimal desktop footprint, though, and NatsuLion seems the most susceptible to Twitter brown-outs and outages. Sometimes it will just…not work.
  • Canary: This is a brand-new app I just found earlier today. My #1 complaint about Canary is the display of the tweets—it’s just awful. They need a more streamlined and dynamic display of the timeline, like Lounge and Nambu (see below). Otherwise, I absolutely love the solid integration with a variety of URL shorteners—including credentials for those URL shortening services. Right now, though, Canary is seriously buggy. Switching between views sometimes doesn’t work, and applying a filter then removing the filter causes problems as well. Again, this is an early beta (Beta 2), so I suppose some bugginess is to be expected.
  • Nambu: Nambu is supposed to be more than just a Twitter client, but in current builds only the Twitter functionality works. It’s a pretty decent client, fairly quick and responsive. I like that it automatically contacts URL shorteners to expand out the full URL; this lets you know where you’re headed before you click on it (a good thing these days given all the web exploits that are available). It’s supposed to offer integration with tr.im, a URL shortening service, but it doesn’t really work. It will shorten the URL but won’t use your credentials (in fact, it won’t even save your credentials between launches).
  • Twitterific: It wouldn’t be complete to talk about Twitter clients for the Mac without talking about Twitterific. The only thing I like about Twitterific is the AppleScript support. Otherwise, I absolutely cannot stand the user interface. I just don’t like it. Some people swear by it; it’s just not for me.
  • Bluebird: Bluebird is another application that’s just popped up in the last few days. The first time I tried it, it wouldn’t even launch (said that themes were missing); the second time I tried it, it worked. The themes are supposedly the big thing; you can use standard CSS/XHTML to style the appearance of the tweet timeline. Otherwise, it’s a very early build (Beta 1, I think) and it shows.
  • EventBox: I received a free build of EventBox from MacHeist, but I couldn’t get it to work. It would never even connect to Twitter.

So that’s where things stand. What would the perfect Mac Twitter client possess?

  • The extensive Twitter integration of Lounge
  • The smooth UI of NatsuLion blended with Lounge and Nambu
  • The URL shortening services integration of Canary
  • The AppleScript support of Twitterific

That would, in my opinion, create the perfect Mac Twitter client.

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15 comments

  1. jay’s avatar

    The most perfect Mac twitter client I have found is called “DestroyTwitter”

    https://destroytwitter.com/

    There are a few things I’d tweak (like being able to use firefox-style keybindings for delete (^D), etc…) but otherwise it’s a really nice.

  2. culbeda’s avatar

    Scott – I love your blog (particularly the VMware, NetApp and Cisco info). I subscribe to it. I recommend it to others.

    But a comparison of Mac Twitter clients? What’s next, Facebook tips? ;-)

    Seriously though, love your blog.

  3. Jeremy L. Gaddis’s avatar

    Not a fan of TweetDeck either, I presume?

  4. slowe’s avatar

    Jay,

    I prefer native applications instead of AIR applications.

    Culbeda,

    Not to worry, I promise I won’t post any Facebook tips. :-)

    Jeremy,

    Nope.

  5. Andrew Stone’s avatar

    If you have an iPhone, check out http://tinyurl.com/twitpro . Twittelator Pro has a very comprehensive feature list: http://www.stone.com/Twittelator/Twittelator_Pro_Features.html which has been driving the development of other clients for both the iPhone and the desktop.

  6. Clearly’s avatar

    What no Tweetdeck?

  7. slowe’s avatar

    No TweetDeck! Native Cocoa apps only.

  8. Simon’s avatar

    Just released – Give Tweetie a try – http://www.atebits.com/tweetie-mac/ if it is as good as their iPhone offering it will be sweet!!

  9. Buena Vilalta’s avatar

    Twit Menulet (at twitmenulet.com, I believe) is another native cocoa app that puts everything into a ticker-style display. My own personal favorite!

  10. Adam’s avatar

    I haven’t found the perfect Mac twitter client yet that meets my needs yet. Still looking.

  11. Brad Knowles’s avatar

    Any luck yet? I’ve recently started looking, but I want a program that can be controlled from AppleScript myself. Twitterrific used to be able to do that, but apparently they recently removed that functionality. Hibari apparently supports programming from JSTalk, but that’s not AppleScript.

    I’m with you on refusing to use programs based on Adobe AIR, though.

    Please let me know if you find anything — I’m @bradknowles.

  12. slowe’s avatar

    Brad,

    Still not there. I thought that Twitterrific 4.x was going to be it. I like the new interface (much more mainstream with the rest of the Mac OS X world), but dropping AppleScript support was, IMHO, a HUGE mistake. I’m really hoping they add it back in a future update. There’s still no support for URL shortening credentials (it can work with bit.ly, but won’t store your credentials) and it doesn’t automatically expand shortened URLs for you (so that you have an idea of where you are headed before you click the link). Someday, perhaps…

  13. Brennan Young’s avatar

    There is very basic support for AppleScript in Adium. Well – you can send a tweet.

    But yes, I am also looking for an AppleScriptable twitter client which exposes as much of the twitter API to AppleScript as possible, although the best approach might be to do the whole thing in AppleScript, connecting to twitter directly using RPCs.

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