Saturday, February 17, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Twitter Abolishes Native Mac Client

Twitter (Hacker News, MacRumors):

We’re focusing our efforts on a great Twitter experience that’s consistent across platforms. So, starting today the Twitter for Mac app will no longer be available for download, and in 30 days will no longer be supported.

For the full Twitter experience on Mac, visit Twitter on web. 👉 https://twitter.com

Jason Snell:

Masterclass in doublespeak. Please wait while we upgrade your Twitter experience. With a browser window.

Thomas Brand:

A really sweet solution!

Peter Bright:

that plan again:

1. Kill third party apps

2. Force everyone onto first party apps

3. Kill first party apps too, for good measure.

Anil Dash:

I can’t complain about them making official what’s already been obvious for ages, but I wonder what Twitter’s answer is for how those of us with multiple accounts are supposed to use Twitter. Just keep logging in and out?

Jack Dorsey:

Within the iOS app you should be able to switch easily.

John Gruber (tweet):

It’s all fine, really, so long as they continue to allow third-party clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific to exist. But this “Mac users should just use the website” attitude is exactly what I was talking about here as an existential threat to the future of the Mac.

People choose the Mac because they want the best experience — not the same experience they can get on a $200 Chromebook.

Kontra:

To want to be “consistent across platforms” is a UX self-own: there’s a reason why platforms (plural) continue to exist. And a very few apps manage to escape platforms’ gravity.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

The Mac losing an app as fundamental to today’s society as Twitter is exactly why macOS needs ‘Marzipan’; without a shared app platform, the app ecosystem is going to leave the Mac behind — get used to web apps

Jeff Johnson:

There are so many apps that have both Mac and iOS native versions. I’ve worked on some. With small teams. Even a team of one. It can be done, very reasonably. It’s not trivial, but the narrative about how big corporations can’t afford to do it is absurd.

Somehow MAGICALLY small third party dev shops can have native iOS and Mac Twitter clients. But Twitter can’t because IT’S TOO HARD.

Macs are empirically selling better than ever. This is a matter of public record. But everyone wants to say the Mac is dead. WTF is wrong with this world? We’ve lost all touch with objective reality.

Calum Hunter:

it just shows how bad everything else is. mac hardware is crazy outdated they are still selling a macpro from 2013 on their store or crying out loud! MacOS 10.13 is a dumpster fire. But even still, its still better to use than windows or linux

Craig Hockenberry:

To celebrate, we just lowered the price of Twitterrific for Mac from $19.99 to $7.99.

John Siracusa:

Third-party clients haven’t even been able to use all Twitter features (e.g., polls, group DMs, etc.) for years. Only the “sweet solution” of the web can fill in completely for a first-party native Mac app.

Rosyna Keller:

The API third party Twitter clients use is also free and doesn’t support Twitter ads or other revenue generating features.

This API is also severely limited (no group DMs, searches limited to 7 days, no polls) and may be entirely deprecated in June.

Brent Simmons:

That thing where indie developers have a Twitter-imposed limit of OAuth tokens is still a thing.

Twitter leadership are jerks in so many different ways.

Jeff Johnson:

You know, they didn’t even need native clients that badly, because they had RSS. Any RSS reader allowed you to follow Twitter. But then they killed RSS support.

Oluseyi Sonaiya:

The app ecosystem is going to leave the Mac behind regardless. The desktop is increasingly marginal for non-productivity software, so this hand-wringing over a mediocre app being shuttered is surprising.

Josh Centers:

And you know what? Apple is as much to blame as anyone. When is the last time Apple made a great case for a native interface? Apple News?

Which doesn’t even have a Mac version…

Previously: Twitter’s First Profit.

Update (2018-02-19): Colin Cornaby:

What alarms me is the number of iOS devs who think it could be “write once run anywhere” and what they would do if trusted with that power.

Chris Adamson:

On a larger scale, if a company doesn’t care about making Mac apps now, making the process slightly easier probably won’t move the needle. Twitter finally made a $90MM profit; they could maintain their Mac app if they cared.

Colin Cornaby:

I don’t think Twitter cares about the Mac at all and a universal framework would change little.

They might put a token app out there but they still won’t pay it any special attention.

Jeff Johnson:

It looks like the official Twitter Windows client has also been neglected. It doesn’t even have 280 characters either. Most likely it will also be discontinued. Jack himself said they’re focusing on mobile.

Anyone who thinks this is all about “Marzipan” has not considered the Windows side. You can say Mac is a niche, but Windows worldwide market share is about 90%.

Of course, Windows isn’t on phones. Twitter only cares about phones now.

Dan Frommer:

Twitter on the web feels like a static product. Like something you open, read, and close. Twitter for Mac made it feel alive; a never-ending conversation, in a way even the best mobile clients don’t. Really too bad.

Update (2018-02-22): See also: Upgrade.

Ben Sandofsky (via Jeff Johnson):

I was never in the C level suite on any of the conversations about how they truly felt, but it was always…You know Google has 20 percent projects? [Twitter for Mac] was always a 120 percent project of, “Once you’re done with all of your work, we’re going to give you your nights and weekends.”

It’s really a testament to a lot of the people who love the app inside the company, who would go on to spend, in some cases, their holiday time off building in updates. I think that it never really received all of the support it needed.

13 Comments

"it just shows how bad everything else is. mac hardware is crazy outdated they are still selling a macpro from 2013 on their store or crying out loud! MacOS 10.13 is a dumpster fire. But even still, its still better to use than windows or linux"

Calum may feel this way and more power to him. However, my mostly Linux setup has been working well enough all things considered (one Windows system in the mix as well) and the money saved not buying Apple hardware has allowed me to pay bills easier. No joke. I'm quite fine with that trade off. Seriously, the Mac has its strengths but it isn't the only game in town. Not by a long shot. Look, our host has excellent software for the Mac (Thanks again Michael for this venue to chat!!!!), Carbon Copy Cloner is excellent as well, power management on the Mac is pretty dang good, PDF integration should be a strength, etc. I could go on and on about strengths related to the Mac to keep things fairly assessed; just saying, still is not the only system capable of productive use.

I like Windows 10 for many things and if Microsoft can ever figure out we shouldn't need two different settings apps, yeah, seriously, I'd be a lot happier. I don't even mind the new Settings app showing all the basics and then each pane theoretically having an advanced window to toggle for more options. As things are now, some things are in Control Panels, some are in Settings, some are in both, and some are not anywhere. On that last point, you can toggle on DLNA sharing easily enough, but the only way to turn off the service is to literally go into the Services app and stop the service from running. As far as I can tell anyway. Yuck! Now Linux, well, I love Linux, even if I have a bone to pick with it all the time. In many ways I prefer it to the Mac. The idea that if I don't like something, I can just find another project better catering to my needs, or if I possess the ability, I can just conjure up my own solution is rather empowering. It's the opposite feeling engendered than the Apple "my way or the highway" lock down on the Mac.

Back on point. As far as the Twitter app going missing on OS X, I don't think the Mac OS market share is worth much for this type of app. Just a guess, but most people on the desktop are still Windows users and most regular users seem to hit up social networks on their mobile devices anyway. Even on the former point, wouldn't shock me to see the official Windows client gone at some point as well. Could Twitter keep the OS X app up and running with minimal costs given the size of the Mac market? Likely. Should they? I don't know? Maybe? They clearly are not bothering and their jerking around of third party apps shows me the preferred solution will continue to be Twitter.com. If Twitter would just use RSS to notify for new posts....people could always click through to respond via Twitter.com, even on mobile. Alas, they don't....Mostly thinking about notifications on mobile and why Twitter is more likely to keep an app on mobile. Well, notifications and the bajillion iOS and Android mobile users they can grab with the same effort as a few million Mac users.

P.s. Man I hate proprietary web silos for following content. I love RSS and Atom. Works great for following. I feel like the world would be better off with a series of micro blogs for replying and RSS/Atom for syndicating. Make it simple man....oh well.

I love the passion in the linked debate. Even if it stems from Twitter unsurprisingly moving users back to twitter.com as the preferred platform interaction. It's fascinating looking at tech insiders digesting such news. I wonder if most Mac users even use a Twitter app? Do most Mac users even engage with Twitter on their desktop OS at all? Really curious here.

My point? Will regular Twitter users even notice? Are hardcore tech people truly representative of the microcosm of overall Twitter users? Or are they simply outliers with no real pulse on how these changes effect the larger market?

Doesn't mean the teeth gnashing might not be warranted, just wondering if it will resonate out of the tech echo chamber.

"People choose the Mac because they want the best experience — not the same experience they can get on a $200 Chromebook."

To be fair, that $200 Chromebook probably has a better-quality screen and a newer CPU than the $999 MacBook Air.

As for Twitter, I've barely used it in the past several months... the sooner we move on (and help everyone do the same), the better. Only after I took a Twitter break did I realize how cognitively exhausting it is to read a reverse-chronological timeline of unstructured status updates, having to reconstruct discussion threads and sequences of events in my head, when we should be having the computer do that kind of work.

>But this “Mac users should just use the website” attitude is exactly what I was
> talking about here as an existential threat to the future of the Mac.

I think at this point, the solution here is not to complain about the fact that people don't make native Mac apps anymore, but instead to get them to improve the web versions to the point where the difference no longer really matters. This will eventually also allow us to switch to another platform, as Apple steadily lets macOS go down the drains.

Really, how much of a benefit are native Mac apps to us? They benefit Apple, because when people use native apps, it makes it harder for them to switch away from their Mac. But I don't benefit from that. In fact, it harms me, because it locks me into using a Mac, as its quality declines with each new release. I'd be much happier if all of the native Mac apps I rely on were web apps instead.

So we shouldn't convince Twitter to make a Mac app. We should instead convince them to improve their web version.

If, as Steve Troughton-Smith said above, twitter is "fundamental to today’s society," we have much bigger problems than the loss of an app.

PS. I agree with the comments about RSS support. I started using twitter almost as soon as it launched, and I was a big fan of using RSS to keep up with certain people on twitter. When twitter discontinued their RSS feeds, the platform became significantly less useful for me.

"...improve the web versions to the point where the difference no longer really matters. This will eventually also allow us to switch to another platform, as Apple steadily lets macOS go down the drains."

This is increasingly my sentiment as well. When I see a new/good Mac app, I'm no longer excited about it, but instead worry that if I buy it, it will be another thing that will keep me on the platform. So I've not bought Mac apps lately.

Adrian Bengtson

"Really, how much of a benefit are native Mac apps to us?"

I think it's still a huge difference between using a Mac app like Tweetbot and Twitter in a browser. Syncing position to never miss a tweet, switching between multiple accounts, fast scrolling through timeline (instead of scroll-load-scroll-load…), searching to quickly filter, muting and more. There are some operations where I prefer the web interface (loading threads correctly, searching the entire Twitter and of course features things that are not allowed through the API like voting). Of course, Twitter could improve the web, and they have and they will, but the nature of a web page is different than a standalone well-written native app. Maybe the difference will be erased in say 10 years, but right now there are clearly benefits.

BitchX, people. ;)

@Adrian Bengtson: None of the things you list are things that couldn't be implemented in the web version right now, if Twitter decided to do that. Even things like fast-scrolling could be done.

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