Loren Brichter On Tweetie

Loren Brichter is the author of the popular Twitter application Tweetie, an iPhone only application until the Mac version was released on Monday. MacWorld has a great little interview with Loren. One thing I really admire is that Loren really understands how to build a good application. Performance, ease of use, simplicity are all taken into account. Not just features and toys.

I thought this particular nugget was the highlight though:

..AIR apps are like modern day Java applets… sure, they run on every platform. But they also suck on every platform.

I’ve yet to find an Adobe AIR application I like even though several have great ideas behind them. Even on Windows, where I presume AIR has the biggest market share they all look strange, the UI is garbage and the performance is abysmal. On the Mac it gets even worse. Creating a Mac theme won’t help as my expectations for a Mac UI are different than they are on Windows or Linux. Java apps have the same issues.

I think this is why more and more “applications” are becoming web based. If your going to feel awkward and unnatural to the user anyway, why even bother with the installation barrier? Why not just be web based so you don’t have to download and install. As awkward as they may be, those that add Adobe Flash tend to make the problem worse by adding more strange feeling UI to their application. Adobe Flash does do good video, it’s a big reason YouTube became popular, but it’s really no replacement for user interface. Hopefully in 2017 when HTML5 is wrapping up we’ll have this problem solved.

One thought on “Loren Brichter On Tweetie

  1. Hi Loren, this is pretty easy…. 😉

    Web interfaces _are_ AIR interfaces — the graphic resources are identical to what you use in browsers: HTML and SWF. If you think they all suck, and only prefer native-coded interfaces mandated and restricted to a single hardware/OS manufacturer, then that’s your prerogative. But if you “hate” all AIR UIs, then you’re hating all Web UIs too.

    So, assuming Web UIs are sometimes acceptable, then we’re at “What’s the user advantage to AIR over webpage?” There are many reasons here, varying by the individual application, but including: increased abilities (notifications, windowing, local storage, cloud synch, desktop drag’n’drop, etc)… dissociation from the performance and security issues of generic cross-site browsers… desktop presence across OS brands (setting as a start-up task, background operations, etc)… application resides locally and is always available, and UI, data and logic do not need to transfer themselves down through the Internet for each use. The new option fills several needs.

    1.0 performance was indeed not fully optimized, just as the iPhone has been underpowered — the first generations are more for exploration and validation, later generations polish off the edges.

    No need to feel threatened — AIR is an additional choice.


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