With the recent mushrooming of Twitter apps like Falcon, Carbon and Tweetings, it is becoming hard for developers to differentiate their apps and offer unique features. Many focus on power users and implement advanced functions, such as multi-account support and Tweet Marker compatibility.
TweetLine, however, takes a very different approach and emphasizes simplicity and customization: no more complicated screens, overcrowded timelines and hard-to read tweets. It’s all numbed down to an easy-to-use interface that requires very few taps to get something done. The interface is also designed to fit your personal needs, as columns and colors are fully customizable.
One of a Kind Interface
TweetLine’s interface is somehow unique in a sense that it’s simple and functional, yet needs some getting used to. Indeed, the app is radically different from the others in the way it’s used: Don’t worry, there’s still a timeline view – phew! – but the way you interact with tweets is very special.
Timeline and Columns
The first oddity is the action bar at the bottom of the screen: None of the icons let you go to your mentions, messages or favorites; these are accessed by swiping the screen to unveil the different columns. The buttons rather let you post a new tweet and access advanced functions, such as the Column Manager, the search function, your profile and your settings.
The Column Manager allows you to add columns and rearrange them, so you can access them by swiping from a column to another, like TweetDeck back in the days…
Actions (Reply, Retweet, Favorite…)
The second specificity of TweetLine is that while most apps open a “detailed” view of a tweet as soon as your fingers tap one, TweetLine does things very differently. Instead of showing you a conversation view or a preview of a link/image, it will simply display an action bar at the bottom of the screen, which allows you to reply, retweet, open the conversation view, open an “attachment” — link, image, hashtag — view your profile, copy, share and favorite the tweet. It’s a pitty the Favorite and Share items are hidden in the More menu, as you are more likely to use them than view your own profile before replying to a tweet.
Even though this action bar may seem odd, it actually is quite handy, as it prevents the accidental opening of a conversation view or a link by simply tapping on a tweet. It may however be frustrating when you need to quickly open a link or check what someone is replying to, as you need additional taps to get these actions done.
Although TweetLine may sometimes require you to go through additional taps, it also features a very convenient sidebar that puts a handful of features just a swipe away: view and edit your profile, search for people or tweets, display global and local trends, check the people you follow and your followers, favorites and retweets. This is even more convenient on a tablet, as the rest of the columns remain on the screen while the additional content of the sidebar is displayed on the left. What’s even better is that the sidebar is accessible from any column, literally making content available at a glance.
If you followed carefully, you’re probably wondering if the sidebar is a column, as it’s also accessed by a swipe. Well no, in order to open the sidebar, you either have to tap the arrow next to the TweetLine logo or to swipe from the edge of the screen —and not the middle, which would this time bring you to another column. There is also additional redundancy, as hitting the Search or Profile icons — at the bottom of the screen — will also open the sidebar.
The good thing about TweetLine is that even though it offers a very different interface, it gives you the ability to extensively customize it: you can apply different themes, customize colors, change the position of the action bar, the size of the text and even define a preset action following the long press of a tweet.
Themes and Colors
TweetLine comes built with 4 different themes, with one of them being specific to AMOLED screens. Nothing very fancy here, but the noticeable element is that the app lets you personalize the color of the tweet text, the link and the column separator with virtually any color you want.
As you might have noticed, I wasn’t a big fan of the additional buttons in the action bar … No problem! TweetLine lets me move it to the top of the screen and merge it with the main bar. This way, only the New Tweet, Column Manager and Search icons are displayed, and the additional ones are accessed through the sidebar. As for the action following the tap on a tweet, it shows the exact same bar as before, but at the top of the screen.
Preset Action and Retweet Type
TweetLine also lets you define preset actions that would be executed when you press and hold your finger on a tweet. This is a convenient workaround to the fact that the share option is concealed, as it lets you reply, retweet, view the conversation, open the link, view the profile, add to your favorites, share the tweet or copy it to your clipboard.
Similarly, TweetLine gives you the choice to retweet the way you want: You can either do it natively or with a comment by default, or be prompted each time you retweet something, the choice is yours!
Lastly, TweetLine supports muting keywords, people and hashtags, so you can hide unpleasant messages. Of course, muted tweets will still appear in other apps and platforms, as they are only muted locally, but this feature can still come in handy in case you don’t want to read about a particular topic.
Although TweetLine is very innovative and quite customizable, it doesn’t offer Push notifications — not even streaming over WiFi — nor Tweet Marker support or threaded Direct Messages. Also, while the application does support drafts, only the last tweet is kept and there is no way to save multiple tweets as drafts.
It is also true that TweetLine has inline preview for YouTube and images, but these are just small squares that appear in the middle of your timeline. Don’t worry though, an embedded web browser is coming very soon. Similarly, even though multiple account support is missing for the time being, the developer has advised us it’s in the works, along with a new notification system. We’re being told that some of these additional features will be specific to an upcoming “Pro” version, while the current app will remain free.
TweetLine is clearly a different approach to the way we use Twitter and definitely aims at offering a refreshing social experience. Thanks to its many customizable features and its upcoming support for multiples accounts, the app is definitely worth the try.
The fact that TweetLine’s developer is very open to comments and suggestions makes using the application an engaging experience, leading people to share their experience with the rest of the community of users.