Daily Mac App: Osfoora is a sleek, no-frills Twitter client for OS X
If you're looking for a no-frills Twitter client with a pleasant UI, look no further than Osfoora for Twitter. The popular iOS Twitter client is now in the Mac App Store and is an excellent companion to the mobile title.
Osfoora has a straight-forward UI that puts the necessary tweeting tools at your fingertips. It has a two column layout with your timeline, mentions, messages, favorites, lists, search and profile on the left and the individual tweets on the right. When you compose or reply to a tweet, Osfoora opens a second window in which to type. You can add an image and tweet the song that's playing in iTunes using the built-in tools. Adding URLs and hashtags must be done manually. It's a basic UI that works well for firing off quick tweets.
Each tweet has an icon that lets you reply and favorite it quickly. There's a conversation bubble to let you know when a tweet is part of a longer discussion, and clicking on the bubble will open up the conversation. Each tweet has a "retweeted by" tagline, so you know both the source of a tweet and the person who retweeted it. Images are shown in-line, and a single click will open them in a bigger window.
To keep the UI clean, Osfoora hides some actions within a contextual menu. Right-clicking will let you retweet, retweet with comment, Reply all, copy tweet, email tweet and more. You can also mute an author from this menu which is useful if you want to ignore someone for a short time. It would be helpful if you could mute hashtags, but that feature is not yet available.
Osfoora supports a variety of third-party services, with one glaring omission. It only uses Twitter and CloudApp for its URL shortener. Bit.ly is not supported, which could be a deal-breaker for someone who relies on the tracking features of this URL shortener. Other services include the standards like Twitpic, Imgly, CloudApp, TwitVid, and Yfrog. You can also link Osfoora with Instapaper and Read It Later so you can archive tweets and read them at another time. There's support for Growl, if you want custom notifications. If you don't use Growl, the app has a badge on your dock that shows the number of unread tweets. A small alert also appears at the bottom of the app window when you are reading older tweets in Osfoora.
The client also uses TweetMarker which, once you set it up, lets you sync your reading across multiple devices. As someone who is on their computer most of the day and then switches to a mobile device for a short time at night, this is a tremendous benefit. I no longer have to scroll through hundreds of tweets just to get to the top of my timeline. It also works in the opposite direction. When I start up my Mac, I can jump directly to the TweetMarker point and pick up right where I left off on my iPhone.
Osfoora is at the top of my list for lightweight Twitter clients, but it's not perfect. Retweeting is awkward because it's buried in the contextual menu. It should be right up front next to the reply button. The contextual menu is still helpful, but it should be reserved for more obscure actions like copying or emailing a tweet. Search is also limited to the full Twitter stream. There is no timeline or user search.
The window size of Osfoora is also a drawback as it can only be shrunk down to a rectangle that's about 400x625 pixels. If you have an 11-inch MacBook Air, this box takes up too much valuable screen real estate. Even on my 13-inch, it would be helpful to make it smaller so I can place it the upper or lower corner and only show three to four tweets at a time. It's also missing live streams, though you can set Osfoora to auto-update your timeline from every one to thirty minutes.
Osfoora can't duplicate the advanced options of the multi-column Tweetdeck, but it has a cleaner look and is much easier to use. It's perfect for someone who wants a rock-solid Twitter client that's fast and easy to use. Osfoora for Twitter is available now for US$4.99 from the Mac App Store.
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