A few people I’m following on Twitter were talking the other day about the great new version of TweetDeck that had just been released, version 0.34. Tech junkie as I am, I of course had to see what the fuzz was all about.
Sorry to say, I was disappointed enough that I had to write a review and ask what the f*** is going on; why are you using this piece of software instead of its great competitors? Here’s a breakdown of why I couldn’t stand it, and my recommendation to other Mac tweeters.
Get Started With…
The first thing I see when I am starting it up is a big window telling me about “What’s new in version 0.34”. A welcome screen like this is a horrible way to welcome me to the application. I’ve just been to the website and downloaded the software, I know what features it has and I don’t care what’s new in this release. Show this to me before I update instead. Of course, the checkbox to show this at startup is checked. Why would I want to see this every time I launch the application?
Trading in my native application for an Adobe Air application, and thus adding this other layer, I’m expecting to see a very nice and intuitive interface. The native app I use, Nambu, is a lot quicker and more responsive so this better be awesome if I’m going to make the switch. Unfortunately it isn’t. While it’s not horribly slow, it’s still a small performance hit compared to the native speeds I’m used to. So what does it offer?
A bloated interface
Hiding behind the “welcome screen” is an interface which at a first glance seems all right for Twitter “power users” that may want several columns to use the service efficiently. However, I’m skeptic to the vast amounts of buttons in the application. Each column has a set of mostly the same buttons and the new-tweet field is surrounded by buttons; there are buttons at every corner of the input box. I know that the app has a lot of features but that doesn’t mean the interface has to be bloated.
Open links in background
Another thing that bothers me is the fact that despite all the features the app has, it doesn’t allow me to open links in the background. Not as far as I can see. This means whenever I see an interesting link, I’ll have to open the browser window. Nambu, which I use, is set up to always open links in the background, thus letting me continue browsing the tweets without interruption.
Auto-resolve shortened URLs
Nambu has the fantastic option to auto-resolve shortened URLs and display the final domain instead. TweetDeck has the ability to display preview information about shortened links but it doesn’t automatically “translate” them. This results in an extra click if you want to know where the link is going before you click it, and a window with information you don’t need.
I guess this is a matter of personal taste but I don’t like dark themes (Spotify pulls it off in a nice way though.) This is why I immediately switched to the light theme but I have to say the darker one is better. The lighter version features for example a grey new-tweet field with grey text.
Everything seems a bit “squished” together for the most part. Short tweets look great but most of the tweets are long, making them extend all the way down to the username, time and which client the person used to post the tweet. I don’t care about what client was used or what username the person has.
The colors can easily be changed in the application preferences but I’ve yet to find a way to change the font—under “Colors/Font” there’s only the option to change between the original font and an “international” font. Besides, I don’t want to have to customize the app with my own colors and font settings.
Several columns are great but what’s up with the window resizing? First of all, I can’t change the size of the columns; the columns don’t resize with the window as you would expect. The new-tweet field does, but the rest of the app is covered with a background color and you have to manually resize the window according to the columns to look good.
This is probably not a problem for everyone but TweetDeck totally overreacts to my MightyMouse scrolling. Most of the time I use my Wacom Intous tablet but when I do decide to use the mouse, I can’t properly use the scroll wheel since it scrolls much faster than in any native app such as Nambu, Finder, Google Chrome or Scrivener which I’m using right now.
TweetDeck has very few items with keyboard shortcuts in its menu. There’s only the “File”, “Edit” and “Window” menus and they only have basic application things such as closing, copy/paste, minimize and so on. A common example: Cmd+N does not bring up the new-tweet field which is very annoying.
TweetDeck is a decent application but after trying it out for a while, I went back to using Nambu. Nambu is in my opinion superior—it has a smoother interface, it’s a very fast native application with a native look and feel, and instead of having a lot of features that I may want, it has the smart features which I actually use and which makes life easier for me.
I recommend all Mac users to take a look at Nambu. It’s free and I see no reason why you’d be using TweetDeck as long as Nambu is still being developed. And it doesn’t have a ridiculous “0.xx” version name.