Although there is hardly a shortage of desktop Twitter clients, the native client options for Mac users remain more limited. A few weeks ago, Realmac Software introduced Socialite 1.0, an app that manages Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds and more.
Now another new Mac native client has entered the ring — Kiwi by YourHead. Kiwi doesn’t do multiple social networks like Socialite — its focus is Twitter. It’s a deceptively simple-looking client, but under the hood, the real audience is the power Twitter user.
Look & Feel
Similar to apps like Twitt and Bluebird, Kiwi offers users a number of different themes — they can even create their own. Kiwi’s theme API uses HTML and CSS, which makes creating and altering themes pretty easy.
YourHead is a big player in the RapidWeaver community and already some other RapidWeaver theme designers have created themes for Kiwi. The built-in selection of styles offers lots of different options for the customization junkie.
The first thing I noticed about Kiwi as an application is that it is FAST. Like, extremely fast. Switching from one account or group or saved item to another felt seamless and instantaneous.
For power users that don’t like to leave the keyboard unless it is absolutely necessary, Kiwi has a ton of keyboard commands. Creating tweets, going to replies, direct messages and favorites, selecting accounts, retweeting and more can all be done from the keyboard. Speaking of retweeting, you can do it the official way, and there is also an option to edit and retweet. One really nice feature — you can view a user’s timeline instantly or in a browser from their tweet.
When composing tweets, you can easily append pictures and shorten URLs before hitting send.
Groups, Account Types and Regular Expressions
Kiwi 1.0 does NOT support Twitter Lists. The feature was simply rolled out too late in Kiwi’s development process — but YourHead says it is planned for a future version — probably Kiwi 1.1.
That said, there are lots of options that can create a list-like effect. Kiwi is designed to be used not only with multiple Twitter accounts (if you have them), but with multiple types of accounts. For instance, you can group together a bunch of different Twitter followers’ timelines into one group and then view updates from all of them together. You can also add certain searches or certain search rules to these groups.
In addition to grouping those items together, if you want to keep a certain search term on tap for easy access, you can add it as an account type. Kiwi has a slick little quick account window that you can choose to have open that lets you switch from one account or search term to another.
Perhaps the most advanced feature Kiwi possesses is support for rules and regular expressions. This has tremendous potential, especially if there are terms and phrases you want to keep tabs on. For instance, you can create a rule to automatically hide tweets containing a certain phrase (so if there is a popular twitter meme you want to avoid, you can just add that hashtag to a rule and all of those tweets will be hidden from view). You can also create rules to highlight and color-code content so that you are able to spot it in your timeline.
Kiwi is a really impressive Twitter client. It takes the same vertical menu design that has been popularized by the earliest desktop Twitter clients and adds in a lot of features without cluttering things up. Other than lacking List Support and Growl notifications (that’s being worked on, too), this is easily as advanced as any other Twitter client, regardless of platform.
My biggest takeaway with Kiwi is that it is fast. Really, really, really fast. Switching between timelines, searches and search combinations is quick and easy, and updates come in elegantly and without any sense of slowdown.
Kiwi requires Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. It’s $14.95, but you can download a free trial and see how it fits into your work flow.