March 2013 is just around the corner. Twitter requires all its 3rd party apps to conform to API V1.1 by then. This basically means your favourite Twitter apps will soon be crippled. I have already been facing the rate limit errors and being forced to use Twitter’s official apps makes me want to use Facebook. App.net has been steadily growing and the API keeps getting better. The app ecosystem is great on all important platforms already. Felix by Tigerbears has been designed for App.net from the ground up and is a feature packed minimally gorgeous App.net client for iPhone.
When you launch the app, you are taken to your stream where you can scroll through the posts from people you are following. The overall look and feel of the app reminded me a lot about Reeder for iPhone. You can reply to a post by swiping to the right and view the conversation by swiping to the left. I am really used to these particular gestures for the same actions now. Tapping on an avatar reveals a small action bar in a nice animation that lets you view the user’s profile, reply to the post, view conversation, star the post and repost (The small recycle symbol) it with or without comment. Since there still is no streaming API for the service every app has implemented pull to refresh to load newer posts. Having a custom animation for pull to refresh is always a nice touch. There is a small bar that appears below the navigation bar whenever you pull to refresh that informs you about the number of posts loaded if at all. I’d really prefer it if this bar was at the bottom of the stream above the tab bar because the blue colour is slightly distracting compared to the rest of the app minimalist theme. Your posts and mentions have very subtle blue and green highlights compared to the posts in your stream. The middle tab is the new post tab and the globe on a stand button next to takes you to the global stream. While I really like the icons in the app, a tutorial or quick guide would have been very helpful.
The post detail view and profile page are really stunning. Each post has your username on top with your avatar in a bar that has your cover image in it. There are buttons below the post quoted for the expected actions and a small note at the bottom mentioning the time and day of the post along with the app used. The profile page has your cover image on top with your avatar in a box on the left. As you scroll down, your avatar moves up and when it touches the top, scrolling more causes it to shrink and your name moves to the left along with it. The cover image shrinks into a bar that is dimmed with both of these during the process and that stays on while you scroll. I love this kind of stuff. Below the bio, you can check a users follow status and there are 3 buttons that let you follow or unfollow (A star for some reason), mute or unmute and mention the person. You get to view information like the number of posts, mentions, followers etc. here.
The last tab will take you to the dashboard. This is similar to your profile page. You can search for people and hashtags here. The search bar sliding animation here is very nice. Your starred conversations and hashtags along with dimmed (muted) hashtags are also available here. The settings and information section of the dashboard shows you how powerful the app really is. While it looks minimal and great, it packs a powerhouse of features. The general settings lets you modify the UI of your stream and toggle the use and behavior of stream markers. Felix has had push notifications from the start and they work brilliantly. The sound is great as well. I’m kind of sick of hearing the Tweetbot notification sound for App.net posts. You can also toggle directed posts from people you don’t follow and change repost style and keyboard here. Felix supports media sharing through CloudApp and Droplr and web saving with Pocket, Instapaper and Readability. The support and about pages also have great transitions.
I’ve been trying to keep App.net and twitter apart. Netbot is great doesn’t help with that. Felix has a refreshing UI with great features for power users like Launch Center Pro integration. I would have preferred it if the app used the new black iOS keyboard that would fit with the rest of the look and supported multiple App.net accounts. Some of the icons are a little ambiguous and a startup guide would be really helpful. Felix is a brilliant app overall and has almost everything you would want in an App.net client. I hope an iPad version is in the works because I’m sure it will look spectacular. Felix for iPhone is available on the App Store for $4.99.