My ideal Twitter client

Since the demise of Twitter’s Jabber server, I’ve been frustrated with pretty much every client I’ve tried.  And I’ve used a few:

  • twhirl – doesn’t stop scrolling up when it’s out of focus
  • twibble – random crappiness, memory leaks, poor recovery from posting failures
  • tweetdeck – doesn’t remember the groups you set up so if you accidentally close them you’re screwed, and also doesn’t work on 64-bit linux (same applies to twhirl – it’s an Adobe Air issue)
  • a couple of console clients, all just sort of generally crap.  Mainly frustrated by their inability to scroll backwards – I like being able to not look at twitter for a few hours without missing out on stuff 🙂

So here’s my ideal client.  I’m going to start writing it on Wednesday, once school’s done.

  • works with an irc client.  I ❤ irc, and I can keep it running on my shell server, accessible from anywhere.
  • search functionality: I want to be able to join a channel and have that act as the search term on summize / twitter search such that /join #search-25C3 shows me the results for this search in real(ish) time.
  • groups functionality (like tweetdeck) – I’d like to be able to set up groups of followees to see only their tweets.  There are a couple of reasons for this: wanting to have a “quiet” group containing just the people I care most about, avoiding what on LiveJournal is termed “unfriending drama”, grouping friends geographically, or whatever.  But it’s been sorely lacking in my Twitter experience so far.
  • keyword exclusion – if I don’t want to hear any more about #AnnoyingVendorCon, I want to be able to exclude it from the tweets I’m getting.
  • proper IRC direct message functionality: dm’s should show up as /msg windows.
  • following and unfollowing from within the client – this hasn’t worked properly in twibble for a while.

I’m going to start working off Mike Verdone’s existing Python Twitter Tools – should be a good start.

8 thoughts on “My ideal Twitter client

  1. That would be freaking awesome! I doubt you need my help, but if there’s any way I could give you a hand with this, I’ld be more than happy to. Heck, if nothing else, I suppose more testers would always be good, and I like to think I’m fairly good at that part of software development.

    Would you do some sort of password management, or would you expect everyone to run it for themselves?

  2. Well, I was originally thinking of having it run an irc server that one can just connect to on localhost; the irc-bot in Mike’s Twitter Tools connects to an arbitrary existing server though. I’ll be playing around with it more Wednesday. Have you used bitlbee at all? That’s kinda what I’m thinking of, where you have a control channel and interact with a bot which manages things for you.

  3. I haven’t even heard of bitlbee before, but looking at it, it seems kind of neat. (I did the opposite with a Jabber bot back in the day, connecting IRC to IM.)

    So, basically you’ll be bundling a (possibly-modified) version of Mike’s stuff with a small IRC server, and some default config to hook everything together? Sounds pretty cool. Have you thought about whose IRC server you should use? (I hear good things about the Twisted stuff, but then you’re in Twisted-land, which might make the integration with the Twitter stuff “non-trivial”.)

  4. Hey Chris,

    I haven’t tried it…. Sadly, Air doesnt’ work on 64-bit linux, and Spaz doesn’t seem to have a couple of dealbreaker features for me – multi-account support, search / track functionality, and groups. I’ll forgive them for missing keyvord blocking, as I’m not sure if any clients support that yet 🙂

  5. Blake:

    I’ve been using screen + irssi + bitlbee -> IM for a couple of years now. It’s really incredibly great. I’d love to be able to use twitter through the same screen as I did when the twitter jabber still worked… that’s the core functionality I want to bring back 🙂

  6. i’m surprised that i still haven’t seen any twitter clients with keyword exclusion. i’m also kind of disappointed by how few open source twitter clients are out there (spaz is the only one i’m familiar with).

  7. I actually gave up on doing 64-bit on desktop (still on my servers) when I realized that it wasn’t really coming into play on performance unless I was doing something with a crapload of threads, and for me desktops are basically tools to open a bunch of workspaces with Xterms and Firefox.

    Anywho, when I was doing 64-bit, I had good luck getting pretty much anything working getting jiggy wif der 32-bit chroot.

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