Last night The Iconfactory released Twitterrific 5, a completely new iOS version of the grandaddy of Twitter apps. I reviewed the new app in detail when it came out, and the releases seems to have been met with a lot of positive feedback.

One of the developers behind Twitterrific, Craig Hockenberry, has lifted the curtain to give a behind the scenes look at the making of Twitterrific 5. A lot of work goes into making a great app.

In his blog post, Hockenberry notes that the first source code for Twitterrific 5 was created on February 15th, 2012. The app was such a big overhaul that it had to be literally rewritten from the ground up, and 6 people worked on the code until the app was submitted to Apple on November 20th. Because Twitterrific is a Twitter app, the developers at The Iconfactory had to consider all of the new rules Twitter has started imposing:

In August, a posting on Twitter’s developer blog announced that changes were coming. In spite of the new requirements and limitations, we were happy to know that our API access wasn’t going to be revoked. Since the early days of the project, we had been worried that third-party development might be eliminated completely.

Twitter now gives third-party devs a limited amount of possible users, but Twitterrific isn’t in danger of reaching its limit for quite awhile. The Iconfactory’s Gedeon Maheux confirmed this to me as well while I was working on my review. Hockenberry mentions how Twitter’s rules will affect the price of Twitter apps:

One downside to the limit of user tokens is that we can’t afford the “cost” of a free app. If someone downloads a free version of Twitterrific and then uses it once, we can never reclaim that token. Tokens are a scarce resource that developers have to manage carefully in order to recoup their development costs. If you’re holding out for a price drop with our app, you’ll be disappointed. The price of Twitter apps is going to rise from now on.

The very talented David Lanham spearheaded the design of version 5:

We’d done Twitter clients before and honestly weren’t that enthused about doing another one. That was until we saw a complete and clickable prototype that David had created. That “wow!” moment you have when you launch and start to use Twitterrific 5 is something we experienced last February. We all knew we had to make this real, even if it was a bit crazy. Our foreman, Gedeon Maheux, made the call and the project began.

Towards the end of his blog post, Hockenberry talks about some of the complaints surrounding the new app:

We are well aware that people are going to complain about missing features: push notifications and streaming are obvious examples. But so are trends, and video support, and in-line photos, and… well none of that matters. We believe in building opinionated software.

The product you have in your hands is what we wanted and needed it to be. As the tagline on the website says, “A simply beautiful way to tweet.” We achieved that goal.

Both live streaming and push notifications are coming in a future update.

Until then, be sure to check out my review of Twitterrific 5 and consider buying it in the App Store. The Iconfactory has posted a handy FAQ and list of gestures for the app.


Image: The Iconfactory

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