Michael McConnell, November 20, 2012
You may know Aaron Ash from his jailbreaking utility Muiltiflow. He recently released a new Twitter app for iPhone, Flurry, that has garnered quite a bit of attention. We recently interviewed Aaron about Twitter’s new API as well some general questions about development in the Apple world.
MM: Were there any challenges in developing Flurry in regards to Twitter’s new API?
Aaron Ash: Yes, the biggest two being access to the necessary API for push notifications, and the user token limit. I learned early on, maybe in April, that they weren’t going to give us access to their “Site Streams” API, which is necessary for push. This was a big disappointment, but Mathieu and I kept working anyway. A few months after that, Twitter announced the token limit, and we were quite disappointed (and even considered switching everything over to app.net and never launching a Twitter version). I still use Twitter much more frequently than any other social network, so we pushed on with Twitter.
Are you tempted to create a client for App.net or any other Twitter competitors?
For sure! App.net looks the most promising. It’s unlikely that it will ever get as large as Twitter because of the financial barrier to entry, but its growth so far has kept people excited about it. Their mentality of empowering developers makes it an attractive platform, although I’m too exhausted to jump on it immediately after working on Flurry for so long.
Beyond the changes to Twitter’s API, what other barriers do you feel developers face with Twitter?
Uncertainty. It seems Twitter is looking to monetize though promoted tweets, trends, users, or other methods, but they’re not being upfront about it. Twitter has proven that they’re not afraid to shut off developers, and anyone looking to create for the platform must now take this into consideration. Twitter has recently added a number of features (“Interactions” data, for example) that are not accessible via the API.
Any plans to bring Flurry to the iPad? Any other mobile or desktop platforms?
Flurry for Twitter on the iPad is unlikely, but Flurry for something else is much more possible. With Twitter acting the way it is, it’s a gloomy future for exciting software for Twitter.
After Flurry, what is your next project?
I’m interested in making another jailbreak tweak if/when an iOS 6 jailbreak is released. There’s an element of fun about jailbreak development that doesn’t exist in App Store dev. There’s an interesting private API I’ve been reverse engineering and experimenting with recently. If I can come up with something cool that takes advantage of it, I’ll be happy to release another tweak. Meanwhile, I’ll keep improving things on Flurry, but it’s hard to get as excited about it as when Twitter’s developer relations were better. App.net still keeps my hopes up though.
What is your favorite app on your iPhone right now?
The Camera app, it never gets old. Of course its entertainment value is augmented by other apps like Camera+, Instagram, Twitter, etc, but keeping an eye open for that interesting shot is what helps us enjoy the non-digital world around us.
What’s your favorite app on your iPad right now?
Anything with written content, mostly saved Instapaper articles and browsing the web. I also enjoy the 500px iPad app, which is filled with wonderful photos. I wish 500px would get more popular, but it’s targeted a bit too much at professional photographers to see viral growth like Instagram.
What’s you favorite Mac app right now?
iTerm 2. It’s a bit better than OS X’s built in Terminal app. When you’re spending a lot of time in a Terminal type environment, a little bit goes a long way.
What’s your development rig?
A maxed-out Retina Macbook Pro plugged into Apple’s awesome 27-inch Thunderbolt monitor, Apple’s standard bluetooth keyboard, and a Logitech MX518 mouse for when I’m not using the magic trackpad.
What’s your portable set-up?
Just the rMBP and an iPhone.
Flurry is an iPhone Twitter application, you should grab it before it hits the user token limit. You should also take a look at Aaron’s various jailbreak apps. Even if you don’t jailbreak your phone, they’re impressive design experiments nonetheless. You can follow Aaron on Twitter here and add him to your Google + circles here.Follow @macgasm