I’ve lost count of the amount of Twitter clients I’ve tried, and none are perfect. There may well be a client out there that does everything I need exactly how I want it to, but I’ve yet to find it. In recent times I’ve settled on Syrinx because it ticks most of the boxes, but it’s not perfect. I haven’t been actively search for a new client, but I’ve still been keeping my ears open. Hence, when Tim Verpoorten talked about Itsy on a recent episode of the Mac Review Cast I decided to give it a go.
My first impressions were very good. I immediately fell in love with the simple and beautiful elegance of the interface. It’s definitely a more pleasing interface than Syrinx’s. Clearly a lot of hard work has gone into the design and look of this interface, and that was time very well spent.
There are some other nice features too. The in-line inclusion of TwitPic and Frogger images is another major advantage over Syrinx. Like Syrinx this is a native Cocoa app, and like Syrinx Itsy integrates with Growl.
However, I’ve bumped head-long into some shortcoming too. The first one I ran into is something Syrinx does really well – filtering the tweets in your stream based on a search. In Syrinx you have a text area at the top of your stream and as you type the tweets you see are filtered in real time to only include the ones matching your search term. I use this feature a lot, so I really really miss it in Itsy. Itsy does have a search pane, but it’s for searching Twitter rather than filtering your stream.
The second issue I bumped into is with Itsy’s Growl support. It’s just that bit less useful than Syrinx’s. For a start, when you get 5 or more tweets at once you don’t see them as growl notifications, you just see a single notification that says there are a certain amount of new Tweets. I read most of my tweets as they fly by via Growl so this really annoys me. The other problem is that by default no Itsy Growl notifications stay on screen, not even one for mentions or DMs! There are no preferences within Itsy for controlling it’s Growl behaviour, but you can force mentions and DMs to stay on the screen by editing the settings for Itsy within the Growl preference pane if you wish. This is what I did but doing so soon highlighted another shortcoming. When you click on a Growl notification from Itsy it doesn’t bring you to the relevant Tweet in Itsy. Again, Syrinx beats Itsy here because if you click on a Growl notification from Syrinx it brings you to the relevant Tweet in the Syrinx interface.
I’ve also found it hard to tell which tweets are new and which aren’t in the Itsy interface. Syrinx’s bookmark metaphor isn’t the most intuitive in the world, but once you understand it there can be no doubt that it works well.
Finally, when you write a tweet in Itsy you can’t sent it by just hitting enter. This means much more mouse clicking than I like.
Over-all Itsy is a capable little client, and it’s certainly very elegant, but feature-wise it doesn’t stack up to Syrinx. Since both apps are free native OS X Twitter clients, I think it’s both fair and reasonable to compare the two. They are after-all competing in the same space at the same price. What I really want is an app with all the features of Syrinx but the UI design and finesse of Itsy.