8 Comments

Summary:

Usability is key to my using an application, so, while I’m not usually one who falls for flashy interfaces, I surely can appreciate them if they are part of an otherwise strong application. Such is the case with blu, formerly known as chirp, a beautiful new […]

blu logo

Usability is key to my using an application, so, while I’m not usually one who falls for flashy interfaces, I surely can appreciate them if they are part of an otherwise strong application.

Such is the case with blu, formerly known as chirp, a beautiful new (Windows 7 or Vista only) desktop client for the web worker’s favorite time waster or productivity tool, Twitter, that I just discovered (via Steve Clayton.)

At first glance, blu looks and feels a lot like Twhirl with a single scrolling pane of updates. Then you notice just how stunning and fluid the app’s UI is. Arrivals of new updates and transitions between panes flow easily and really take full advantage of the Windows Presentation Foundation architecture. Panels flip and items move almost effortlessly as you navigate.

But not everything is just presentational, there are some great features here as well.

Particularly cool is the way you can easily track conversations with blu. Replies feature an arrow that when clicked, flips over to the original tweet so you can see things in context. Very handy.

blu - View Original Tweet

It covers the basics quite well, also. Posting a new update calls up a hidden input box with a nice character counter and a built in spell checker. Just this morning, a new release added URL shortening functionality with TinyURL. The lack of this in earlier versions was sort of a deal breaker for me as it is something which I really have come to rely on, so I was really glad to see this.

blu Update Screen

Individual tweets can be replied to, retweeted, or prompt a direct message.

blu - Reply Options

Clicking on a user avatar pulls up their profile for more information and other options.

blu - My Profile

Obviously presentation and UI aren’t the only things that matter, but blu is just a joy to look at and interact with.

It doesn’t feature TweetDeck-like grouping but you can mark folks as faves and get a visual notification when they tweet, plus it has the ability to filter out items from just those people.

Visually, the lack of a scroll bar initially threw me a bit. It turns out you can click and drag the timeline to move up and down though. A new version I just downloaded adds the ability to use up/down and page up/down to navigate more quickly, which is a great addition.

It only works with a single Twitter account, so if you are looking for a tool to cross-post, or need to manage multiple accounts, blu isn’t for you.

Overall blu is just stunning and I am sure there are surprises in the works as well. Obviously the lack of support for non-Windows platforms is a deal breaker for many, but if you are using Vista or Windows 7 blu is a great choice. It is well on the way to becoming my full-time Twitter desktop app.

blu is a free download for Vista or Windows 7 only. I recommend following them on Twitter for app updates and support.

Is there room for yet another Twitter client? Does blu look good to you?

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  1. Lee Alexander Friday, February 6, 2009

    I started using it yesterday and was initially impressed by its visuals. However I’m going to uninstall it as whilst the animations are all well and good they take up too much time. I don’t need to see my username typed in when I’ve selected to be logged in automatically. It’s just too much – with all these animations it takes 13 seconds to start up.

    Also the keyboard seems have been overlooked in this app.

    Regards
    Lee

  2. Scott Blitstein Friday, February 6, 2009

    Thanks Lee, I hadn’t considered the start up time.

    Keyboard functions are improving with each release – the bigger issue is the (lack of) documentation to let us know what works.

    As mentioned the arrow up/down and page up/down make for speedier navigation between tweets, while pressing U brings up the update window and Esc will cancel it.

    I’m hoping to see it become more keyboard friendly as new releases are pushed.

    SB

  3. You can run this on XP, despite what it says on the site, as long as you have the latest version of .Net it runs perfectly fine.

  4. Scott Blitstein Friday, February 6, 2009

    Thanks for the tip Mark

    SB

  5. I cant DL it cuz of my proxy server.. n i asked them for Direct DL lnks on twtter..

  6. I’ve just downloaded it, and the interface it’s very cool!

    Still, the lack of resizing window ability it’s something that really sucks!

    I hope the improve it, since this post over here were written on february, and mine in june… it’s a long time and they haven’t add the resizing ability

  7. Does it support popup notifications like digsby or witty does ?

  8. I hate it.

    And uninstalling isn’t easy. It hides. Nasty piece of work.

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