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Apps of a Feather (apps-of-a-feather.com)
281 points by coloneltcb 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 77 comments

If I'm forced to use the official Twitter app, I think I'll just top using the service. I have no need for all those ads, and the hard to follow out of sequence ordering of tweets.

This trick is to add them to a list like "People I Follow" instead of just following them like usual. Lists are always sequential and not loaded with a billion ads, "Stuff you missed", and all that algorithmic garbage

I love how people have to use a hack to view Twitter the way it was actually intended to be viewed.

A hack invented by the users is a cultural phenomenon: The hashtag.

This should just be a setting switch on the app rather than twitter changing how the app has worked since it's inception.

The one that kills me is "In case you missed it". I read my twitter chronologically, and removing tweets from that order in order to show them closer to the top (and therefore later) is the exact opposite of what I want.

I love that there's a "See this less often" action that you can click on that content, which appears to do nothing.

I've clicked that action every single time I've seen it for at least the past year and it still continues to show the very thing I want to see less often. It's absolutely infuriating.

Hmmph, well another data point is that I love the ICYMI feature and use it every day. My feed is too big to ever read every tweet and get to the bottom, so it works for me.

I am glad that it is useful for you. It bugs me though that Twitter is trying to force everyone to use their service the same way. I want to use Twitter more like an RSS reader to catch interesting news stories and blog posts. The fact that they are actively discouraging using their platform like this is infuriating.

Have you tried Tweetdeck? I feel like the way it does columns and being able to clear might be useful for your workflow.

Especially when one or more of the "in case you missed it" tweets has a like, reply, or retweet from me already. Clearly I didn't miss it. Why are you showing it to me?

This is pretty much me as well. I'll likely start using RSS a bit more as that's mostly how I use twitter in any case.

I'd be ok with limited ads, but re-ordering the tweets and adding tweets from people I don't follow is just not worth dealing with.

Reddit.com/r/friends/comments is pretty good. I have a good little group of consistently insightful people I follow, and while the posts are mostly replies to other people (and not really "microblog content"), it's probably my most visited URL.

I find the use of muted words to slightly better the issue of receiving tweets from people I don’t follow. At least the topics their tweets are about will not be a topic I don’t want to read about.

Being forced to use the official Twitter app would be bad enough -- but there isn't any official app at all on macOS. They killed theirs off in February.

Just use your browser. On desktop/laptop, the official app is just a browser engine with a custom icon to appear in your dock/task bar.

The official app on macOS was never browser-based. It was based on the third-party client "Tweetie", which Twitter acquired in 2010.

> I have no need for all those ads

I'm sure they'll miss you too.

I pay for a good third-party client app. Twitter could get a cut of that money. Or they could just offer a paid subscription option, that would be fine too.

They could do those things, but like every other company in this space they have concluded that advertising is the most profitable option for them.

The investors might considering their long term outlook is pretty poor

Are you saying that some other clients allow to see the timeline in chronological order? I'm a Twitter noob but started to use it more recently - still using the web client.

Yes. Give Tweetbot a try (if you’re on an a Apple platform). It’s great.

And if you're on Android, I'm a big fan of Flamingo.

Flamingo is fantastic, but just got discontinued due to hitting the infamous token limit. It's infuriating.


Can one not input an own API token?

No, the way they did it the tokens are granted to the app makers on behalf of the users. And each company was limited to a certain number of tokens based on how many users they had at the time the policy came out.

This means that apps that had already been out and had a ton of users like Tweetbot it hasn’t been as much of an issue, but anyone wanting to start a new Twitter app today is basically doomed to a low ceiling of users.

In the days of old all tweets were chronical. The official Twitter app orders your stream of tweets based on popularity and some other metrics that it thinks will appeal to you. It also slides ads in amongst them.

yes, but do other clients (twiterrific, etc) order the tweets chronologically?

Tweetbot does this, yes.

Twitterrific does as well.

Have they figured out any other viable business model? It seems like twitter is still struggling to find profit.

I’m in the same boat. I don’t understand if it’s just all the smart people at Twitter don’t know how power users use Twitter or they just choose to ignore all this.

On the Mac, there isn't even an official app. It's been discontinued.


I'd use the official twitter app, but they make it impossible to read in chronological order.

Another comment I just read noted you can add the handles you follow to a list like "people I follow" and simply read that instead of the default view. this preserves chronology and helps reduce much of the junk they otherwise introduce.

I find this technique good for seaparating out people who tweet lots, say 5-10+ times per day, vs those that are more irregular.

Attention all startups and creators out there: If you have an idea, and people keep telling you "Why are you building this when incumbent 'X' already exists and is wildly more successful that you will ever be?", just show them this blog post.

In nearly 40 years of creating apps on all sorts of platforms, my advice to anyone is to build something that you have total control over. If your app is purely a Remora that has to connect to a big shark and have a symbiotic relationship, then you are basically taking a seat under the Sword of Damocles. It is only a matter of time when the shark either shakes you off or stops sharing the information critical for your survival, or simply eats you for breakfast.

(NB: Clarification - Totally different story from a standalone app that has integrations to other services. Those are fine. But if you depend on Twitter, Facebook et al just to exist, then you are in trouble before you start.)

Just like all ideas for any sort of business, building a product on top of a platform like Facebook or Twitter has risks.

But to extend that observation to mean avoiding any opportunity that involves those risks seems rather ham-handed. It is patently obvious that building a third-party twitter app has been a lucrative business for TweetBot (for example) for the past seven years.

Even assuming Twitter cuts them off and their business ends, is 7 years of success really such a failure? Particularly when so many new apps and businesses die much sooner, and in unremarkable obscurity.

Having been through this experience about 3 or 4 times in the past 4 decades, I will say "Yes", it is indeed a failure, because as I did (and probably TweetBot did), I built a whole business around the assumption that creating an 'add on' app was a solid, viable, long term business.

When those other vendors decided to either (a) close down or (b) stop sharing APIs and critical integration details or (c) change their architecture considerably at short notice or (d) build exactly what you have developed internally themselves, then you will be stuck with pretty much nothing. (Yep, I have pretty much had all of the above happen to me).

The taps will be turned off with little notice. You will have to go and tell your staff that they are out of a job and don't need to come in Monday or ever again because you haven't got the cashflow to pay them any more. You will have to go and try and break the lease on your office space with your landlord. You will have to tell the bank that you are suddenly unable to service any business lines of credit or your cards. That is NOT my definition of success.

I would far rather plod along with an app that I have built in relative obscurity, knowing that I can put strategies in place to deal with the regular ups and down of the market. Writing a remora app just means that there IS a definite finite shelf life for your product, only you won't ever know when that is.

What is a remora app?

I bring you the built-in dictionary entry that pops up when you force-press the word "remora" on a Mac:

remora | ˈremərə, riˈmôrə |


a slender marine fish which attaches itself to large fish by means of a sucker on top of the head. It generally feeds on the host's external parasites.

So you are saying the Twitter is still not developer friendly? I haven't followed the story closely in the past 10(?) years, but how many times have apps been created on their api, for them to see their use stopped because Twitter decides to deprecate, close or revoke access to some (all) of their api?

If Twitter doesn't make money off Twitter then nobody else should be allowed to either!

Sounds like Twitter has backed off their plan: https://twitter.com/TwitterDev/status/982346370882461696

Delayed, not backed off completely

I guess Mastodon will see another wave of migrations from tech-types, although the non-technical people probably still won't care.

A recent toot suggested that mastodon.social is effectively twitter now, being a single huge instance. As effective migration comes on-line it will be easier to find, and then move to, other, smaller, more focussed communities.

Maybe this is the time to jump.

That was my first thought too. Time to look into Mastodon again I guess.

Come and join me on Mathstodon[0] - if you then want to move I'd be happy to help. Once registered you can look for "similar people" using this tool:


[0] https://Mathstodon.xyz

I keep thinking of trying Mastodon but then stop because I just don’t think I’ll find enough or be able to interact enough. Having a tool and someone to follow initially should help!

This thread from a few days ago: "Ask HN: Who are your favourite people to follow on Mastodon?"


You could always have a look here, it's a tool to find out which of your Twitter friends already are on Mastodon: https://bridge.joinmastodon.org/

If you join an instance that caters to an interest of yours, then you can look at the "local timeline" which shows only public posts on your instance.

There's also this instance:


How does Twitter even work without Tweet Marker?

I can open a 3rd party app on whatever platform I am currently using and will be presented with the exact position of my timeline where I left it before with one of the other 3rd party apps.

If they cripple their API even further, I can't see myself using Twitter anymore.

I wish Twitter would just go away already. It's a walled off, proprietary and useless cess pit of meaningless jibber jabber.

It's kind of like the monster hiding in your closet — it goes away if you stop thinking about it.

Wow, this is just plain stupid. I think I would rather stop using Twitter than to be forced to use their awful clients.

Mac users don't even have an official client anymore.

I believe they will just wrap their website into an Electron app.

Yes, it's called TweetDeck.

And I stopped using Twitter on my Mac when they discontinued it. (I tried the web version, but that didn‘t seem like the twitter I signed up for)

I think it’s well time to migrate to Mastodon. I suppose it has streaming features?

Yes it has.


What with Facebook's recent API and privacy issues in the press, are we seeing the start of the end for developer APIs as we currently know them? I really wonder if this trend is going to continue with other API providers, and if so, what does the final state look like?

How far removed they have become from the golden days where the api to post a tweet was just a HTTP POST with your username/password in the http basic auth header and the global timeline of all twitter users were on the frontpage and rss feeds everywhere. :-/

The irony is that such a simple platform would’ve only required a handful of engineers to maintain and would’ve been profitable from day 1 if they introduced promoted tweets.

Instead now they have 3000 employees doing god knows what, an awful UX and the ads aren’t sufficient to sustain all that.

A few days ago someone left a comment that they download their timeline's tweets and associated content. I thought that post was great, and that it was nice that Twitter could support that kind of advanced personal usage. As the API continues to dry up though, less of that personal control will be possible unfortunately.

Is there a twitter client out there that satisfies the following:

- accumulate tweets, no chronological reordering - just keep piling tweets up until I read them one after the other or decide to "mark all read"

That's basically how I used the now retired Twitter for Mac (despite it not accumulating tweets indefinitely).

What about their new webhooks API for notifications?


I was recently considering getting back on Twitter using a third-party client. Looks like they're gonna get the middle finger instead.

What's the status of Gab? Is it still the Voat of Twitter? Any apps on iOS?

„there is no way for its developer to fix these issues.“ ... few paragraphs further down: There might be a solution in place.

Keep reading. The "solution" is actually no solution at all -- it'd work for a few dozen users, but not for hundreds of thousands.

and it's not even available to test with for most developers

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