(scroll to bottom for Iain's reply to my nits with TweetDeck)
Earlier today I lamented on Twitter that I get an error whenever I try to favorite a tweet using Twhirl or TweetDeck, my favorite and 2nd favorite Twitter clients for OS X. Shortly after, a Iain Dodsworth replied, pointing out that TweetDeck hasn't yet added the ability to favorite tweets, so might I not be a tad mistaken?
Well, Iain turns out to be the TweetDeck creator, who apparently pays close attention whenever the word TweetDeck is tweeted. So sorry, Iain, I am indeed mistaken: while Twhirl gives me a "limit exceeded" error whenever I try to favorite a tweet, TweetDeck doesn't yet have that functionality. It does have a button labeled F which is currently greyed out but which will presumably allow you to set favorites at some point. So for the moment, I use Twitterrific on my iPhone whenever I really want to favorite something.
Since I caught Iain's attention, I profitted from the occasion to send him a message outlining some of the reasons why, much as I like some of TweetDeck's functionality, I still prefer Twhirl. Here's the list of my nits to pick with TweetDeck:
Twhirl is more compact. In TweetDeck, all tweets take the same vertical space, regardless of whether they're one-liners or five-liners. This means I can see more Tweets in one Twhirl column than in TweetDeck. One simple way to regain vertical space would be to move the Reply/D/R/F buttons from below the pictures to the left or right of the pictures. Each tweet would now only be as high as the user's pics.
Re-ordering groups with the move left/right buttons is cumbersome. Either implement drag-and-drop for column re-ordering or add a pop-up menu where you can drag the column names up and down to their desired positions, instead of having to move them one step at a time.
The "All Tweets" column becomes less useful when you have created your own groups. Whenever I add someone to a group, I now see their tweets in two places. This might be the intended result for some people, but not for me. I don't have everyone I follow added to a group, only the ones I pay more attention to (friends, acquaintances, gurus). This means I have to filter the tweets I've already read when I scan the All Tweets columns for lower priority tweets. A simple workaround for this problem would be to create an "Ungrouped" column and allow me to use that instead of the "All Tweets" column.
Allow me to fit more than one group in one column. I don't have TweetDeck running all the time, so some columns are empty or mostly empty much of the time, such as the "Direct Messages" one.
Allow me to resize the width of each column, so I can fit more on the screen at the same time.
When I click on one of the fast access buttons (Replies/Direct/Twitscoop/12seconds), do not add a duplicate column if one already exists.
Allow me to mark a tweet as a favorite ;-)
Notwithstanding these nits, TweetDeck has several appealing features, such as:
Being able to place the people you're following to different groups and display each group in its own column.
Built-in search, including the ability to create a self-updating search column (I presume this is how Iain found my tweet).
Built-in URL shortening, with the ability to choose your favorite service (currently I mostly use http://is.gd).
Built-in support for TwitScoop, letting you see what are the "hottest" words being tweeted in the twittosphere.
Built-in support for 12seconds.tv, a cross between twitter and seesmic, where instead of posting 140 character status updates you post 12 second videos. Haven't tried it out yet, though.
Update: I forgot to mention one of TweetDeck's conveniences, which is the nifty Twitter API status indicator in the lower right-hand corner. This is useful whenever there's trouble in the twittosphere.
On the other hand, Twhirl has a few tricks of its own up its sleeve:
Support for Seesmic, which is currently the dominant video micro blogging platform. Nevertheless, I've tried Seesmic and found it a bit boring, with too many rambling monologues. Perhaps the 12 second limitation could prove as liberating as the Twitter 140 character limit.
Support for friendfeed, Paul Bucheit's wonderful life feed aggregator.
Ability to crosspost to Pownce and Jaiku.
Update: I just checked out my Pownce account, and it seems like only some of the tweets sent using Twhirl are reaching Pownce, so this feature is only half-working (and I'm not talking about tweets sent via other clients, which of course won't be automatically crossposted to Pownce). I can't confirm whether the same happens with Jaiku, since I don't have an account there.
I really enjoy these last two features, so for the moment Twhirl has my heart.
2008-09-22 Update -- Iain's reply
Iain replied via email 10 minutes after I sent him an email, but I was busy writing this post so I didn't notice it. Here's his answers to my nits:
Twhirl is more compact
Iain: removal of tweet buttons implemented in next version
Re-ordering is cumbersome
Iain: due to be implemented in a near future version
Iain: All Tweets column is removable in the next version, good idea on the ungrouped column - I'll get that implemented
More than one group in same column
Iain: unused columns are removed from view in the next version
Iain: working on this - BUT I have to be careful to not ruin the look of TweetDeck, I've tried different height tweets and they completely ruin the feel
Buttons add duplicate columns
(this nit was missing from my first email to Iain, so no answer from him yet)
Iain: implemented in next version