Tag Archives: review

Tweet Library 2.6

Tweet Library 2.6 shipped today after 13 days waiting for review from Apple. This release adds support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screen sizes, as well as improvements to sharing so that iOS 8 extensions can be used, and a fix for an annoying random crashing bug.

I also finally dropped iOS 5 and 6 support for this release. I wanted to support the iPad 1 as long as possible because those were my very first customers when I launched Tweet Library 1.0 almost exactly 4 years ago. I hope they got an incredible value out of the app in that time (all upgrades have been free). It feels good to turn a corner and require iOS 7.

Three ADN clients for iPhone

Lots of new people are joining App.net. If you’re one of them, welcome! In this post I’m going to briefly review 3 of the most popular iPhone clients: Netbot, Felix, and Riposte. You can’t really go wrong with any of these three apps. And if you’re looking for a Mac client, my current favorite is Kiwi.

Netbot

Netbot is nearly identical to Tweetbot. It shares most of the same source and all of the same UI design. That common heritage is great because it’s familiar to fans of Tweetbot, and it allowed Tapbots to launch onto App.net in a big way, leapfrogging all other clients that were under development at that time.

But the familiar design is a double-edged sword. Not just because the App.net API will evolve and diverge from the Twitter API, but because if you switch between both Tweetbot and Netbot often, you may need to be careful that you remember which app you’re posting from. This was a problem for me since I no longer post to Twitter, and the last thing I wanted to do was accidentally leave a new post there after a 5-month absence.

All the usual features you’d expect are present in Netbot: timeline, mentions, private messages, multiple accounts, and sync with Stream Marker. It even has an iPad version, which you may want to pick up even if you chose a different primary app on the iPhone.

Netbot also has one big feature that most App.net clients don’t have: post search. This is not part of the core App.net API. Tapbots rolled their own search server so that they could offer this feature inside the app.

Sidenote plug: if you want search for all the posts from anyone you’re following, and your own posts, consider my web app Watermark. You can subscribe on the web or in the iPhone version.

Felix

Felix is possibly the most mature and actively maintained of the App.net-exclusive apps. You can tell from his App.net posts that the developer is passionate about App.net and determined to keep making his app better.

The current version supports all the basic features as well as push notifications, narrow inline image previews that take the full width of the screen, iCloud sync for drafts, starred conversations, and a brand new feature in version 1.5: collapsing posts you don’t want to see, similar to Twitterrific 5’s muffling. The only omission is that it does not yet support multiple accounts.

Felix is also unique in that it is the only one of these 3 apps that is not free. The other apps are counting on the Developer Incentive Program to send them a check each month instead of relying on traditional sales. Felix is a good value at $5, though, and the price shouldn’t stop you from trying it out, especially as it is a very small amount compared to the paid App.net subscription itself.

There are a number of gestures in Felix. One interesting shortcut — which may also be familiar to users of Twitterrific 5 — is swipe right to quickly start a reply. I personally found that this breaks the illusion of gestures as direct manipulation, though. Since swiping to the left pulls forward the conversation, doing the reverse swipe should go back to the timeline. (Update: There’s actually a setting in Felix to switch this behavior.)

Felix also added a clever trick in its post composition window. You can swipe the text view to move the selection cursor one character over, or use two fingers to swipe across an entire word at a time. This saves a lot of time tapping-and-holding and fiddling with the magnifying glass. Felix is packed with little details and shortcuts like this.

Riposte

Riposte is beautifully done, with a clear design and a simple left/right gesture system to navigate through anything in the app. By default, there is no toolbar or tabs; everything is full-screen. Following Netbot’s lead, the developers of Riposte have decided to make their app free, and they have written up some thoughts on why.

Multiple accounts are handled well and it’s easy to switch between them. Like Felix and Netbot, push notifications are supported. Riposte uses large square inline images. It’s got a great interactions view that shows users who have recently followed you or starred your posts.

Riposte mirrors Felix’s compose text view gestures, and Riposte was the first to introduce 2-finger swipes in that text view. I love that both apps now support these gestures about equally, and hope to see many more apps steal this feature soon.

Since it doesn’t have tabs, switching between timeline, mentions, global stream, and other views is done through a slide-out panel, popularized in early apps like Facebook, Path, and Sparrow, and now very common everywhere, including my own Twitter app Tweet Library. It’s a swipe and a tap instead of the single tap of Netbot or Felix, but it is space-efficient and fits the flow of gestures in Riposte.

While Riposte holds its own against the competition, I think it will be chosen most not for its features but for its design. The striking full-screen look and consistent, discoverable gestures make this app feel great. It also has probably the most readable conversation view of any app I’ve used, where the focused post appears immediately and then is surrounded with the full conversation using smaller text. That design is even maintained in HTML email when sending a conversation from the app.

Macworld review for WebSentinel

This month I’ve been lucky to have “Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/ featured in both the US and UK print editions of Macworld. It’s great to see the product in print.

Around 1996 to 1998 I worked for a small Mac software company called Purity Software. When “Ned Holbrook tweeted”:http://twitter.com/nedley/status/2639266306 that he had a collection of old Macworld print magazines, combined with having Clipstart’s review fresh in my mind, it jogged a memory that one of my products from Purity was reviewed in Macworld and I had always wished I had kept a copy. WebSentinel was a C++ PowerPlant app with a great UI for server products of that era (“screenshots here”:http://www.purity.com/websentinel.ws?page=exp — warning, Mac OS 8), though in hindsight it suffered from some annoying bugs and had trouble scaling. It turns out that 10 years later the review is nearly impossible to find online, but by following a series of broken links I eventually got a copy from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

I’m archiving it below. It ran in the December 1998 issue.

WebSentinel 2.0

Master of the Realms

By Jeff Davis

For Macintosh Webmasters who find their server’s built-in security limited and tedious, Purity Software’s WebSentinel 2.0 promises relief. This WebStar API (W*API) plug-in provides support for multiple database mechanisms and an attractive interface for an array of security services, including new features such as support for workstation restrictions, HTML log-in forms, and account expiration.

WebSentinel 2.0 extends the realms model of Web security common on Macintosh Web servers. Rather than applying permissions to a folder (such as the Logs folder), you set permissions for a group of URLs (the realm) that share some specific text (any URL that contains .log, for example). This method can be very powerful, allowing administrators to secure like files regardless of their location on the server.

In addition to standard HTTP authentication for realms, WebSentinel 2.0 supports HTML-forms-based authentication, allowing you to present personalized log-in screens. Webmasters can designate customized forms and no-access files for each realm. WebSentinel 2.0 even offers Redirection realms, so requests for certain URLs can be automatically sent to another page.

Once realms are defined, you grant access to users, groups, and workstations. In addition to simple user names and passwords, administrators can define expiration criteria for each user, consisting of a date, a number of days, or even a number of accesses.

WebSentinel 2.0 supports multiple “data targets” (back-end databases); you can save your information to more than one type of outside database, including those in Purity’s own Verona format and those in FileMaker Pro.

It took me about 60 seconds to install WebSentinel 2.0 on a Mac server running StarNine’s WebStar 3.01. After another five minutes, I had my users, groups, and realms up and running. Both the administrative application and Web-browser interface are attractive and usable, but a few very minor interface glitches exist. Although assigning access to users and groups is quite simple, WebSentinel 2.0 needs to offer an easier way to display all users and groups assigned to a given realm within a single window.

The security options all worked nicely, and there was no noticeable performance hit with ten users and realms. I did encounter problems when trying to use the plug-in with WebTen, due to an inconsistency with Tenon’s W*API implementation. Tenon has a patch that addresses these problems.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

Macintosh Webmasters will definitely find that WebSentinel 2.0 offers an elegant extension of WebStar’s realms-based security. But those dissatisfied with the whole realms concept should look to other options, such as Tenon’s WebTen, which offers built-in file and folder security.

RATING: 3 1/2 mice PROS: Elegant interface; authentication forms; multiple data targets. CONS: Lack of file and folder security; no easy way to view access by realm. COMPANY: Purity Software (512/328-2288, www.purity.com). $199 (upgrade from 1.0, $79).

December 1998 page: 62