November 09, 2008

TweetBox preview release

The title sounds more official then I intend to, but I guess this what I should call it. I don't even have a versioning scheme for TweetBox. I still see it as a toy project. On the other hand, the TweetBox is taking nice shapes. Programming JavaFX turns out to be a lot of fun, and once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy too. Imho, java developers now finally have a sophisticated GUI API that is productive (Swing is rather counter-productive, and that's coming from a faithfull fan) and easy to use. JavaFX still has quite a way to go before it becomes as sophisticated as Adobe Flex and AIR, but still. A big pro of JavaFX is that the syntax of the language allows you to build GUI's declaratively (just like Flex's MXML) and that it is very neat and clean. Compared with JavaFX, MXML is definitely more cumbersome.

You can download the binaries for TweetBox here. Simply unzip it somewhere and double click TweetBox.jar (or run "java -jar TweetBox.jar" on the command line). Mind you, it still misses lots of functions that we take so much for granted in tools such as Twhirl, such as sending updates, replies and direct messages, retweeting, following/unfollowing people, et cetera. I have now come to appreciate them even more.

For the time being, configuration of your twitter login credentials must be done through a properties file (here's an example), that you must place in your user home folder (you can figure out the location of that folder yourself, I just use the value of the java system property "user.home").

TweetBox sometimes crashes rather spectacularly every once in a while at startup. That has something to do with the fact that I am using a separate thread for invoking the Twitter API. Also, it is not yet getting your friend timeline at regular intervals. The button with the binoculars allows you to do a twitter search. It will only get 20 results, but it works.

I have only tested TweetBox on Vista, so let me know the results of using it on other platforms.

In short, TweetBox is unstable and misses lots of features, but admit it, the way it fades in on your desktop when you start the TweetBox, it's nice shapes and that you can see through it is awesomely cool.


Rick Mans said...

It works fine on Ubuntu :).

Mark Nankman said...

Thanks for testing that for me Rick! I would appreciate more feedback.