What do you need to use Denby full time?

As Denby is adopted beyond our cadre of keenly interested alpha testers, users are less likely to be forgiving of faults or crucial feature absence, soΒ I’d like to see how much of the low-hanging fruit I can pick off before our next big leap in usage. (Which, by the way, is likely to be this weekend, soon after the new site streams based server goes live!)

To do that, I need your help.

A deceptively simple question for current and aspiring alpha testers: What do you need to use Denby full-time? Which absent feature has you regularly resorting to the Twitter website? What’sΒ missing?

I’ll start!

The two main things for which I regularly visit the website are:

  1. Viewing user profile information, especially of recent followers, retweeters or favor–*ahem*… favoriters.
  2. Twitter history backfill, most obviously and inconveniently absent when I start Denby.

I’ll be working on both of these today… and I’m sure I’ll be pleasantly distracted by your great suggestions too. πŸ™‚

This entry was posted in Development. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to What do you need to use Denby full time?

  1. i can’t really say whether these features are absent from Denby as i haven’t used it yet ;), but things i currently rely upon Twitter for.

    1. reading tweets (duh), but with more history than mobile clients will occasionally support. i’m a read-every-tweet guy, so one of the things i do when i start my day is to scroll backwards, reading tweets until i get to where i last read the night before.

    i’m led to believe that this is anomalous behavior, but hey, it’s what i do. as a result, i need the tweet history to be complete (on a relative basis, of course).

    2. reading @mentions. pretty obvious.

    3. reading @retweets. likewise.

    4. going back over favorites. i use favorites on the Twitter mobile client as a “read later” button, so the client needs to support my favorites list so i can go back and, well, read my favorites later.

    5. people look up. one thing i think is an under-realized possibility, is more sophisticated lists. basically, i look at who’s following, etc, on #newtwitter, but it’s just a straight list.

    when did they join? what do my follower joins look like when plotted on a timeline, etc? that would be interesting.

    6. searches. i have searches for things like @redmonk, @monkjobs, @analyticsmonk, etc to track what’s going on with those account.

    7. trends (i use Boston) are interesting, but i wonder if they could be augmented with other trending info (e.g. http://www.trendingtopics.org/).

    8. look at my own profile. again, #newtwitter just presents this as a list, but i wonder if could be improved. threaded convos? plotting tweets along a timeline. etc.

    hope all of that helps.

    • Jeff Waugh says:

      Zounds! Awesome list. Lots to chew on, including the analytics stuff. πŸ˜‰

      I assure you that your first point won’t be under-serviced, as I suffer the same affliction!

  2. XNoArchive says:

    A cute lil icon for my location bar
    A pedantic ToS/Privacy explanation .

    I sent my tweets to private for no reason. I am jerk online, so I dont get many follow requests anyway, however… I cant recall anythingmentioned re: follow requests for denby.

    and now to actually answer the question; Just the Backfill.

  3. I haven’t had the priveledge of trying it out but can it show conversations like tweetdeck? I find that incredibly useful.

    • Jeff Waugh says:

      It has something almost like it. When you click a reply, a “Conversation” column pops up with the parent and reply, and whatever Twitter’s “related tweets” API call picks up. Which is generally pretty crappy. Looks like TweetDeck might rely a little on that, but probably also fetches each individual reply in turn (blerg).

      Ultimately, I plan to build support for a “grab conversation” overlay API into the Denby server, as it’ll have all the tweets anyway, and can store the relationships.


  4. John Ferlito says:

    For me it’s customisable columns. I currently use TweetDeck and always have a couple of columns open

    – Everything
    – Mentions
    – Direct Messages
    – List: @johnf/friends
    – Search: linuxaustralia oR linuxaus OR lca2011 etc etc
    – List: @johnf/announcements

    If I could do all of the above I’d probably switch

    • Jeff Waugh says:


      Do you like mentions and direct messages being separate? Right now they’re not (and won’t be by default), but I will make it so you can add a direct message column if you prefer it that way.

      Search stuff is demoed in the alpha, but not editable yet. (Annoyingly, that will actually require additional work once I switch to site streams, because at least with user streams you can add search tracking to your personal stream.)

      Every time someone mentions lists, I wish-oh-wish-upon-a-star that they were streamable. Sadly, they rely on recurring REST calls. Luckily, I have made some cute “fake stream” APIs in node-twitter so this will only require a little bit of work to bring up nicely. πŸ™‚

      • John Ferlito says:

        At the moment I could live with mentions and DM being in the same panel and that would be nice. Maybe color them differently though. If I was a super star like @piawaugh though, I might miss DMs in the midst of all the mentions

        • Jeff Waugh says:

          Good point on distinguishing DMs in the Me column. Simple as figuring out what should go here…

          #me .direct {


  5. Pulling my tweets in…

    +1 to @sogrady on all counts
    +1 to @johnf on separate mentions and DMs

    Columns. I need columns – searches, tags, lists. Plus hooks to my custom URL shortener. A better Tweetdeck, in browser so I can live a Flash/AIR-free existence.

  6. Jono says:

    – Filters. Global filters would be ok, but more customisable filters would be lovely – say if I could filter all mentions of ‘topic x’, but only from @user_y.
    – The ability to navigate everything by keyboard (well at least using the arrow keys). Not being able to scroll down through past tweets on a profile page with the arrow keys on Tweetdeck annoys me greatly.
    – Inbuilt twitpic et al viewing would be nice, but not a deal breaker.

    • Jeff Waugh says:

      I have an idea for the filters thing which is related to a few of the other comments about columns: I think I want to make some kind of generic, underlying filtering mechanism.

      It won’t necessarily be exposed to humans in that sense. They can do things like drag and drop people between columns, press “mute” buttons, stuff like that. But it’ll be wonderful for building Denby, and even better for extending it (with some kind of plugin system).

      That said, I am not worrying about it for now, because it is the kind of shiny infrastructure thing that can suck up any and all energy around it, until there’s nothing left but a glorified procmail which passes only test cases, and a blubbering mess of a man still using the Twitter website.

      Denby lists are not currently keyboard navigable. About this I am deeply ashamed, but it’ll get there eventually. πŸ˜‰

  7. Ric says:

    Trust @sogrady to ask for analytics!

    Most of the stuff already mentioned I can support (although since I follow more people than @sogrady I don’t read every tweet, so lists are very important).
    I would prefer mentions and DMs separated – they are very different “intents”
    The other biggie for me is multiple accounts on-screen simultaneously – I haven’t seen any mention yet of support for it in Denby (and was a little surprised Stephen didn’t ask for it, given that Redmonk has a number of Twitter accounts)

    I’m using Seesmic Web at the moment – has the multiple accounts, multiple columns, lists, saved searches, etc. One thing I like about it is support for both the new Twitter retweet, and the old-school “RT quote” so annotations can be added if needed.

    One little bugbear I would like sorted: I don’t much like Twitter’s decision to remove @replies from the stream if you don’t follow the person being replied to, so an option to @reply with the period (“.”) prepended to the handle (e.g. “.@jdub”) would be nice …

    • Jeff Waugh says:

      Denby supports New Retweet and Retweet Classic.

      Classic has an action button labelled “RT:” and does what you’d expect — “RT @nick: <tweet>” with the cursor positioned before the RT.

      You can see all of the tweet action buttons in this screenshot. For testing, I have stopped them from being contextually hidden, as would be the case normally. πŸ™‚

  8. Ric says:

    @trib reminded me of something … Seesmic desktop allowed me to use my own bit.ly account (and by extension my custom domain for shortened links) but is something of a CPU-suck, and of course AIR-based. Seesmic Web is (duh) web-based, but doesn’t allow the personal bit.ly shortener … I would LOVE to not have to go to the bit.ly site to shorten links (so I get the custom domain) and cut-n-paste into the tweet.

  9. Adam says:

    Things I need / want:
    – History backfill
    – Resizable columns
    – Customisable searches
    – (nice to have) list support

    • Jeff Waugh says:

      Resizable columns, as in width? What kinds of things prompt this want/need?

      • Adam says:

        Well, it is more of a want than a need I guess πŸ˜‰

        Currently I use Seesmic Web and it has a little slider that lets you resize all the columns to a certain size. This is OK but what I’d really like is to have some columns large and some small.

        Basically I prefer reading the main tweetstream in wide format but am happy to have additional narrow columns.

        • Jeff Waugh says:

          Great, thank you!

          Because I want to keep the UI as simple as possible for as long as I can, this won’t go to the top of my list… but I’ll keep it in mind, particularly as I introduce custom columns, multiple account support, etc.

  10. In order of importance:

    1) Being able to review ‘old’ tweets is quite important; firstly because, like previous commenters, I like to review tweets from overnight; secondly because it looks like I lose everything if I refresh the tab (which looks like it could be quite painful with more long-term use).

    2) Customisable columns (for searches etc).

  11. daniels says:

    Looks good! A few things off the top of my head:
    * Separate mentions and DMs.
    * Changing the page title to reflect the number of unread messages.
    * Backfill!
    * Favourites, both as a separate tab and possibly also integrated with mentions.
    * Search support.
    * Being able to look at people’s profiles at a glance.
    * A conversation tab which opens up the entire thread history with the selected entry highlighted.
    * Maybe always having the rightmost empty tab/window/whatever open with launchers for mentions/favourites/search/etc?
    * Embedding videos/photos from popular sites (YouTube, Vimeo, TwitPic, TwitVid, YFrog, Flickr, etc) would sure be neat.
    * Automatically expanding tweets other fools have sent from tmi.me and tl.gd — but no ability to send them.
    * A pony tab.

  12. Jonathan says:

    Without columns for lists, columns for searches, or the ability to trace the history of a conversation I just can’t use Denby for very long – I follow a lot of people and need to be able to slice the feed to make it useful.

    This makes me sad, because Denby is so very, very stylish and responsive.

    (you mentioned a long way up the comments that clicking on a reply should at least get related tweets – I don’t see that)

    Seesmic Web is my primary client and while it is neither stylish nor responsive it mostly does what I need – and it links me to the right parts of twitter.com where it doesn’t.

    • Jeff Waugh says:

      Missing features… that’s life in alpha-town! Columns is the next great-big-hairy feature to tackle. πŸ™‚

      The conversations column is uselessly finicky right now. Sometimes a column will pop up with the originating tweet… but no others. Not very useful!

      That said, every in-tweet link has a destination on the main website (user names, hash tags, permalinks, etc.), so even if Denby doesn’t do something special, you should land in the right place anyway.

  13. Jethro Carr says:

    After playing with the alpha, most of what I’d like is already listed by others above, however here’s a full list of what I’d love to see in order to replace the dreaded #newtwitter interface that I currently use:

    * Backfill of tweets – ideally back to the one you last read – eg so I can catch up on tweets after being offline overnight without having to scroll back for ages.

    * Tweet threading/replies – I follow so many concurrent conversations, this is pretty key in order to retain my sanity.

    * Proper DM handling – I see that I can currently see DM messages when they appear in my @replies, but it looks

    Also just to note some stuff that Denby currently does that I love – mentioning them incase there are any plans to change any:

    * The highlighting of new tweets

    * How the UI stays on the last read tweet and doesn’t keep forcing you to the top.

    Over all it’s a fantastic application so far, very fast and snappy and I look forwards to seeing future versions. πŸ™‚

    • Jethro Carr says:

      Ignore the DM one, that’s me being stupid – DMs work perfectly πŸ˜€

      • Jeff Waugh says:

        Heh. One of my fave little things about the DM entry is that the character counter corrects itself as soon as what you’re writing is obviously a DM: Type the final space in "d nick " and the counter resets to 140. πŸ™‚

    • Jeff Waugh says:

      With regards to conversations, a new micro-feature came to mind while I was sorting out how to do columns properly: If you open a Conversation column (currently by clicking on the time/permalink of a reply tweet), subsequent replies to any of the tweets in that column will arrive there instead of in your built-in columns (like Home or Me). πŸ˜€

      • Jonathan says:

        Will that catch all replies to all tweets already in that conversation thread? That could be an expansive tree of tweets to catch…

        Also, would prefer duplication across columns – reviewing history in a column is harder if some tweets are missing.

        • Jeff Waugh says:

          At this stage, I plan for it to catch all replies that you would normally see in your own timeline, but that could be enhanced later on to show tweets from people you don’t follow.

          Regarding duplication… some columns will show duplicates, others will not. I aim for this to make intuitive sense, largely based on the permanence of the column.

  14. David Basden says:

    The only thing stopping me using it as my full time client at the moment is history backfill, and reconnecting to the back-end without having to refresh.

    It would be nice to have it work through proxy caches, and to change the terms of the right-hand box (*cough* #qanda) .

    Apart from those nitpicky annoying to implement things, it’s awesome πŸ˜€

    • Jeff Waugh says:

      What’s the issue you’re having with proxies? It’s 100% HTTPS — except when Twitter is redirecting images! — so it should work with any proxy which allows CONNECT on port 443.

  15. Jonathan says:

    If I click on an @name in a tweet, I get an empty column. Would much prefer a new tab at twitter.com/name

    • Jeff Waugh says:

      That’s a bug… which I think is a race condition: Sometimes it fills the column, sometimes it dumps the server response on the console.

      Ultimately, clicking on a user name in the Denby interface will display profile information and tweet history in a column, and you’ll be able to “subscribe” or “pin” the column to keep it around, receive further updates, etc.

  16. Gavin says:

    Retweets. The new ones. Who has been rt’ing me new way. I like to give credit and follow those who have been rting me. Most clients don’t show these in the default UI. so you need to go the twitter website

  17. Jeff Waugh says:

    Brief requests from Twitter power user @latikambourke:

    1. A zillion columns
    2. Easy RT options
    3. Custom URL shortener (Latika has a custom bit.ly account)
    4. Upload docs/pdfs/text online and tweet them (I wondered if uploading to a public Dropbox folder would work)

    She uses TweetDeck (old-school AIR version) on Windows at work, Janetter on her Mac at home, TweetBot on her iPhone and Twipple on the iPad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *