Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Ivory for Mac


Ivory is free to download, but requires a subscription to use. You may subscribe and immediately cancel to activate a 7-day free trial and evaluate its features in full. Outside of the trial and subscription, the app is limited to one account and limited to read-only mode. The iOS+iPadOS app is a separate subscription, but there is a bundled discount if you want use Ivory across iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.

Joe Rossignol:

A new “Universal” subscription tier allows users to access Ivory across the Mac, iPhone, and iPad for $24.99 per year, or users can subscribe to the Mac app on its own for $14.99 per year.

John Voorhees:

What Ivory brings to the growing field of native apps is what we saw with iOS and iPadOS: impeccable taste and snappy performance that few other apps can match.


Ivory’s multi-column design is the most readable of any Mastodon app I’ve used. It’s easy with multiple columns of text and media for a multi-column window to look cluttered, so it’s a testament to Ivory’s design that it’s as readable as it is. One of the touches that helps a lot is that instead of including a tab bar for each column, Ivory uses drop-down menus at the top of each column to allow users to pick what the column shows. That eliminates a lot of duplicative interface elements you find in other apps like Mona.

I really appreciate the additional columns I can open on the Mac. When I use Ivory on my iPhone, it’s usually to read my own timeline. However, when I’m at my Mac, I’m usually working and want to keep tabs on the mentions coming into our MacStories accounts.

I discovered in the interregnum that the traditional Twitter client paradigm is not ideal for me. After using NetNewsWire to read Mastodon, I find that I prefer reading posts by account rather than mixed together in a timeline. I like having unread indicators and being able to bulk-mark certain ranges, accounts, or folders as read. I like not worrying about losing my scroll position or losing access to older posts if I take too long to read them. I like single-press archiving to EagleFiler.

That said, the combination of RSS and a Web browser is awkward and slow for basically any interaction other than skimming/reading, though Homecoming for Mastodon helps. I’d like to be able to use Ivory for these other tasks and to handle multiple accounts. I’m a bit put off, though, that it feels so much like an iOS app, in ways that Tweetbot didn’t. The Settings window seems even more constricted and rigid than System Settings, and I can’t close it with Command-W when it’s showing a subscreen. On the other hand, without Catalyst there wouldn’t be a Mac version today.

More importantly, I can’t stand being forced to use Universal Links. Universal Links that I could opt into would be great, but it seems like you can still only manually opt-out on a per-click basis. If every Mastodon link is going to switch to Ivory instead of staying in my browser—or, worse, open in Safari with a “Do you want to allow this page to open ‘Ivory’?” alert—I’m afraid I’ll probably have to uninstall it.


Update (2023-05-29): John Gruber:

Ivory for Mac is a Mac app. But, numerous Catalyst-isms show through. System-wide Services menu items don’t work. Smart punctuation (automatic curly quotes and proper em-dashes when you type two hyphens) only work when you type slowly. Some views scroll via standard keyboard shortcuts (space/shift-space, Page Up/Page Down), but some don’t. A lot of these are things that I consider shortcomings in Apple’s Catalyst framework — the whole point of Cocoa from 20+ years ago is that standard controls get standard behavior out of the box, relieving developers from the drudgery of making simple expected platform-standard features work. Catalyst isn’t like that — or at least isn’t like that yet.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

> without Catalyst there wouldn’t be a Mac version today
I highly doubt that. Because of Catalyst, there isn't a Mac version today. It makes you choose the slightly easier path. It is one of the worst things Apple has done, especially in the light of SwiftUI, IMO. I have no idea why a proper AppKit app would take a *year* extra.

Hi Michael, do you not prefer to have your RSS feeds be less noisy than the traditional social media feed? Or else you are overwhelmed in posts and just spend huge amounts of time selecting feeds/folders as "read"? I guess that isn't different than endlessly scrolling the Mastodon feed, but Mastodon feels like doesn't encourage "completionism" as much as RSS does. But there might be a better way to use RSS readers than I'm currently using.

re: universal links and modifying behavior, possibly Velja might be helpful. Setting up custom rules via settings - apps and settings rules.

@Sean I think the way I do it is less noisy. Reading by account instead of by timeline gives more context, so I can easily run through a sequence of related posts without jumping back and forth between unrelated conversations that just happened to occur at the same time. I’m a completionist in that I at least skim everything, and this is quick to do since NNW has keyboard commands for moving around and marking (above, below, or all) without having to select anything. I can reduce the noise by only subscribing to replies for certain accounts. And there’s also less noise in that it will abbreviate long posts, and I can page up/down immediately rather than having to watch an animation.

@rajs Thanks for the suggestion, but neither the Apps tab for Twitter nor the Rules tab for Ivory seemed to work for me to redirect Universal Links back to Safari.

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