Posts tagged with "twitter"

Tweetbot 4.6 Brings Image Support in DMs, New Compose UI for Replies

The new compose UI for replies in Tweetbot 4.6.

The new compose UI for replies in Tweetbot 4.6.

In an update released today on the App Store, Tapbots has started taking advantage of Twitter's more flexible third-party API to allow users to send images in private conversations (DMs). The feature – which has long been available in Twitter's official app – is limited to static images for now (no videos or animated GIFs), although the Twitter API could make more attachment types possible in the future.

Perhaps more notably, Tweetbot 4.6 comes with a redesigned compose interface for replies. Similarly to Twitter's iPhone app, Tweetbot 4.6 doesn't count usernames against the 140-character limit. To present this change in functionality, Tapbots has opted for a Twitter-like design where usernames aren't displayed in the compose box upon starting a reply. Instead, a "Replying to..." banner at the top of the screen highlights the tweet's original author and other participants in a conversation. Tap the banner, and, like in the Twitter app, you'll be a shown a popup with a list of users you're replying to. The author at the top of the list can't be de-selected; other users in the conversation can be removed by tapping on the blue checkmarks.

Twitter (left) and Tweetbot 4.6.

Twitter (left) and Tweetbot 4.6.

While this design is similar to Twitter's, it should be noted that Tweetbot limits this presentation to the compose view for replies. Unlike Twitter's official apps, usernames are still displayed in the body of a tweet in both the Timeline and Mentions views, providing a familiar format that doesn't force you to tap on the "Replying to..." banner from every section of the app. Personally, I believe Tapbots adopted a better solution than Twitter itself: the compose UI is nicer and usernames are easier to remove, but the timeline retains the familiar @usernames that add context to inline conversations.

I'm curious to see how Twitter's new API roadmap will impact third-party clients such as Tweetbot over the next few months. Tweetbot continues to be my daily Twitter client on every platform, and I hope Tapbots will be able to add even more native Twitter features in future updates (I'd love to have support for polls in Tweetbot).

Tweetbot 4.6 is available on the App Store.

The Twitter API Platform’s Future

Twitter today disclosed future plans for its API platform and published a public roadmap where developers can track the company's progress.

One of the most significant changes announced is that later this year the company will be unifying its API platform, combining the strengths of its Gnip APIs with its more affordable REST and streaming APIs. This will simplify the platform and provide more powerful APIs at, in theory, lower costs to developers with smaller-scale needs – though pricing plans have not been announced at this point.

The announcement post contains many details on the API platform's future, but a few specific things are highlighted which launch today or in the short-term future:

  • Today, we launched the Account Activity API, which provides access to real-time events for accounts you own or manage, with delivery via webhooks.
  • Today, we also launched a set of new Direct Message API endpoints that will enable developers to build on the new Direct Message features we recently announced.
  • Later this year, we’ll launch a new set of tools that enable developers to sign up, access, and manage APIs within a self-managed account. This will including the ability to get deeper access and more features, all with a transparent pricing model.
  • We’ll also be shipping a new Search API that provides free access to a 7-day lookback window with more sophisticated query capabilities and higher fidelity data retrieval than is currently available. We’ll also provide a seamless upgrade path to full-fidelity 30-day or full archive lookback windows.

Twitter's openness regarding its plans should be an encouragement to anyone who depends on third-party Twitter clients like Tweetbot or Twitterrific. The Direct Message API, for example, will now support media attachments like the official Twitter app.

Although it may be some time before we see today's announcements bring specific benefits to third-party apps, Twitter has had a rocky relationship with developers in the past, and today's announcement is a sign of commitment to its API platform and developers.


Twitter Replies No Longer Count @Usernames Against 140-Character Limit

Twitter has announced a major change to the way replies are handled across all platforms – on the web and in iOS and Android apps. Presumably the Mac app will be included as well. Sasank Reddy writes:

Now, when you reply to someone or a group, those @usernames won’t count toward your Tweet’s 140 characters.

With this change, we’ve simplified conversations in a few ways:

  • Who you are replying to will appear above the Tweet text rather than within the Tweet text itself, so you have more characters to have conversations.
  • You can tap on “Replying to…” to easily see and control who’s part of your conversation.
  • When reading a conversation, you’ll actually see what people are saying, rather than seeing lots of @usernames at the start of a Tweet.

One potentially confusing detail worth mentioning: although the usernames of those you reply to will not count against the 140-character limit, if you add any new usernames to the body of your reply, those new mentions will count against your limit.

You can see today's change in action by watching the following video:

This update is rolling out to all users now. If you haven't seen it yet, it should be coming to you soon.


Twitter Announces More User Safety Initiatives

Continuing the company's recent efforts geared at stopping abuse on its platform, Twitter today announced several changes in a blog post by Ed Ho.

One behind-the-scenes change is in how Twitter monitors potential abuse and proactively addresses it. The company has implemented algorithms meant to detect potentially abusive behavior and address it without the need for users to report the behavior. Ed Ho gives the examples of an account "repeatedly Tweeting without solicitation at non-followers or engaging in patterns of abusive behavior that is in violation of the Twitter Rules." He admits that mistakes will likely be made as they begin this proactive monitoring, but states that the algorithms and tools will be continually worked on for improvement.

A change more visible to users involves additional tools found in the Twitter app. Ho writes:

We’re also introducing new filtering options for your notifications to give you more control over what you see from certain types of accounts, like those without a profile photo, unverified email addresses or phone numbers...We’re also expanding the mute feature to build on the work we did in November which lets you remove certain keywords, phrases, or entire conversations from your notifications. Now, you’ll be able to mute from your home timeline and you can decide how long this content is muted – one day, one week, one month, or indefinitely.

The final change announced today has to do with Twitter's transparency in responding to reported harassment. Notifications will be used to confirm that a report of abuse has been received, and also to share if/when an action is taken in response to that report.

The user-facing features announced today will be rolling out soon to all users.


TwIM: Instant Messaging Built on Twitter Direct Messages

Last December, BuzzFeed reported that Twitter built and killed a messaging app. It wasn’t the first time rumors circulated that Twitter was working on a messaging app, but for whatever reason, none has ever been released. That left a void that developer Andrew Hart has filled with his new iPhone app TwIM, a modern messaging app built on top of Twitter DMs.

There’s a lot of friction involved in trying a new messaging service. Not only do you have to want to try the service, but you have to convince friends or family to try it too or you'll have no one with whom to chat. That’s a significant disadvantage that TwIM sidesteps for anyone whose contacts are already on Twitter. What’s more, TwIM sets itself apart from the built-in direct messaging functionality of other Twitter clients with better content handling and support for the latest iOS features like Siri, interactive notifications, and 3D Touch. That gives TwIM a shot at appealing not only as a messaging app, but to anyone who wants a better direct messaging experience.

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Twitter Introduces New Tools to Combat Harassment

After years of being accused of apathy toward the harassment and abuse that takes place on its platform, Twitter has so far marked 2017 with a stronger commitment to creating a safer environment for everyone.

Last week, Twitter announced a change to the way abusive tweets could be reported. Previously, if a user had blocked you, it would be impossible to report that user's tweets as abusive or harmful, but that's no longer the case.

Today Twitter introduced three more changes:

Stopping the creation of new abusive accounts:
We’re taking steps to identify people who have been permanently suspended and stop them from creating new accounts. This focuses more effectively on some of the most prevalent and damaging forms of behavior, particularly accounts that are created only to abuse and harass others.

Introducing safer search results:
We’re also working on ‘safe search’ which removes Tweets that contain potentially sensitive content and Tweets from blocked and muted accounts from search results. While this type of content will be discoverable if you want to find it, it won’t clutter search results any longer. Learn more in our help center.

Collapsing potentially abusive or low-quality Tweets:
Our team has also been working on identifying and collapsing potentially abusive and low-quality replies so the most relevant conversations are brought forward. These Tweet replies will still be accessible to those who seek them out. You can expect to see this change rolling out in the coming weeks.

These changes follow a series of tweets at the end of last month by Twitter's VP of Engineering, Ed Ho, who claimed the company is committed to "moving with more urgency than ever" to make Twitter a safer place. Ho tweeted again as today's changes were announced and reinforced that these actions represent just the beginning, and more changes would be made to the service in the coming days.


Twitter Moves Trending, Moments and Other Features to New Explore Tab

Twitter has replaced the Moments tab in its official app with an Explore tab. Moments are collections of tweets on a particular topic that are picked by Twitter editors. Moments haven’t gone away, but they’ve been moved under the new Explore tab along with ‘Trending Now’ and ‘Explore More’ sections, and live video. Explore is also where you go if you want to search Twitter.

According to Twitter’s blog:

Over the past year, we’ve been exploring different ways to make it simpler for people to find and use trends, Moments, and search. During our research process, people told us that the new Explore tab helped them easily find news, what’s trending, and what’s popular right now.

Although the Explore tab is only now being rolled out to all Twitter users, it has been in testing and available to some users for a few months. Twitter says the new Explore tab is being made available to iOS users today and will be available to Android users in the coming weeks.

Fabric Acquired by Google

Fabric, a suite of developer tools owned by Twitter, is being acquired by Google and will become part of Google's Developer Product Group, working with Google’s Firebase team. According to Francis Ma, Firebase Product Manager:

As a popular, trusted tool over many years, we expect that Crashlytics will become the main crash reporting offering for Firebase and will augment the work that we have already done in this area. While Fabric was built on the foundation of Crashlytics, the Fabric team leveraged its success to launch a broad set of important tools, including Answers and Fastlane. We'll share further details in the coming weeks after we close the deal, as we work closely together with the Fabric team to determine the most efficient ways to further combine our strengths.

It appears that Google is clearly interested in Crashlytics, Fabric’s crash reporting tool, but has left open the extent to which the other components of Fabric will be incorporated into the Firebase toolset.

Twitterrific Adds Enhanced Media Browsing with Center Stage

Twitterrific 5.16 is out with a new media browsing feature called Center Stage. The feature, which has multiple entry points in the app, lets you dive into images, GIFs, and videos without losing where you were reading in your timeline. I like the design of Center Stage a lot and appreciate that it's been thoughtfully implemented to enhance the Twitter reading experience without getting in the way.

Center Stage is a parallel way to browse Twitter focused primarily on media. One way to get started with the new feature is from the top of your timeline. If you tap the icon to the right of the search box that looks like as stack of photos, the most recent media in your timeline will animate into view from the bottom of the screen on a dark translucent backdrop with the related tweet at the bottom of the screen.

To navigate Center Stage, you swipe left or right through media. The options for interacting with tweets in Center Stage are more limited than from your regular timeline, but you can still retweet and like tweets. Depending where you enter Center Stage, a rewind button will appear on the left or right that takes you to where you began browsing media. In addition, tapping on the screen hides onscreen controls so you can focus on the media without any distractions.

From Center Stage, swipe down to dismiss the tweet and tap to hide controls.

From Center Stage, swipe down to dismiss the tweet and tap to hide controls.

The tweet at the bottom of Center Stage can be dismissed with a downward swipe leaving just the media. When a tweet is dismissed, the Center Stage icon appears in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. That’s because dismissing the tweet takes you out of Center Stage and into the standard media-preview mode. Tapping or swiping a media preview closes the view and returns you to your timeline. To jump back into Center Stage from preview mode, just tap the Center Stage icon. You can also exit from Center Stage and return to your timeline by tapping the close icon in the top-left corner of the screen or tapping the tweet at the bottom of the screen.

Another way to enter Center Stage is from a media preview. Instead of scrolling to the top of your timeline, you can preview something from anywhere, tap the Center Stage icon, and the related tweet will animate into view, ready for you to swipe through the surrounding media. Center Stage is also available from user profiles. If you tap on a media thumbnail in someone’s Twitter profile, Center Stage opens, immediately allowing you browse among the photos, GIFs, and videos someone has posted with the added benefit of the related tweets.

Timeline, media preview, and Center Stage modes.

Timeline, media preview, and Center Stage modes.

Center Stage is great for casual browsing of media in your timeline, but I expect I will use it most at events like WWDC. When I’m in San Francisco for Apple’s developer conference, I don’t want to miss friends’ photos and videos of the event, but I also don’t have time to read every tweet in my timeline. With Center Stage I can go straight to those photos and videos and dip into my timeline later when I have more time.

The Iconfactory has raised the media browsing bar among third-party Twitter clients with Center Stage. The feature does a fantastic job of working hand in glove with the traditional browsing experience, enhancing and supporting it rather than getting in the way.

Twitterrific is a free download on the App Store with In-App Purchases for certain features.