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I’ve started re-doing the main UI for Buzzbird… the iChat knock-off look that Buzzbird currently uses is pretty lame.  Here’s how it looks so far:

I had planned on adding some underpinnings for theme support when I re-did the theme, but just getting this far has taken a lot longer than I had hoped.  Getting the @#$&! rounded corners to work along with the avatar and tweet text took me a while.  And the new theme still doesn’t color differently based on reply/direct/etc.

Right now, my priorities are as follows:

  • Finish up with the new theme, get tweets to render in different colors based on tweet/reply/direct/etc.
  • If there’s time, put some underpinnings for theme support in.
  • Split up main.js into two files, one for back-end API stuff, which is embedded in the main XUL object, and one for the browser which is concerned only w/ rendering.  This will make way for support of multiple accounts and tabs

To summarize, Buzzbird isn’t dead yet.  I’ve gotten past sulking about the bad comments I saw in  I’m encouraged by the fact that someone forked it on github to add support.  I’ve gotten some positive feedback.  So I hope to have a new release put together within the next week or so.

I decided tonight, based on some feedback that I’ve received, that I probably released Buzzbird a bit before it was ready.  I thought that the “alpha” label on it was enough to let people know that it’s still a work-in-progress, but after careful consideration I’ve concluded that I should probably get it a lot closer to “feature complete” before releasing it to the public.

Releasing software is a funny thing, I guess.  The only other open source project that I had been involved with before this one was the Avant Window Navigator, for Linux.  In that case, there were lots of developers encouraging each other to make baby steps toward a great user experience.  In this case, I’m just one guy.  Making matters worse, because I started out with the same name as a Mac app, I’ve unwittingly attracted a lot of Mac users.  Unlike Linux users, Mac users are a lot more demanding of their apps to have achieved their Mac UI Zen (bear in mind, I say this as a Mac user myself).  Even though my app is very young, it’s getting a lot of bad press because those users are disappointed, once they’ve downlaoded it, that it’s far from complete.

So I’m pulling down the download link for a while, so I can polish it a bit more before trying again.  Hopefully I’ll have better luck the next time around.

I finally downloaded and installed Ubuntu 8.10 on my Macbook Pro under Parallels.  I did this so I could try buzzbird on Linux, and it worked quite well, requiring very few tweaks.  In fact, the only difference with the windows version is that the buttons in the statusbar don’t have an icon in the Linux version, as the default behavior for XULrunner is to draw the button outline on hover– thus, having the outline on the icon just looked weird.

Now I’m going to take a few days off to work on a few other things before tackling version 2beta.  I’m going to need to make some significant changes in the next release to support themes and multiple tabs.

Oh – one more thing, the forum on planetblur seems to be totally hosed.  Not sure what’s up with that.  But until now, no one has really used it anyway.

I’ve decided to rename my Twitter Client from Bluebird to Buzzbird.  This resolves a naming conflict with another team {13bold}, who were also working on a Twitter Client named Bluebird.  I didn’t know about them, and they didn’t know about me.  Frankly, the name “Bluebird” seems pretty obvious for a Twitter application, and I’m surprised that there were only two of us.  FWIW, I chose the name to be consistent with the pattern of other XUL applications, which end in “bird”  (Thunderbird, Songbird, Spicebird, etc).  The timing of our projects was nearly identical – mine went public first, but they had the domain name and Twitter source key first.

I agreed to change the name on the condition that the other team contribute something to my project, and the fact that Laurent Baumann is a talented designer led me to suggest that they provide a logo for Buzzbird.  Laurent agreed, so everybody wins!  He is still working on the artwork, but I hope to see it in a few weeks.

It’s interesting to note that Twitter has no problem giving out duplicate source keys.  I wonder if they’d have a problem giving a random developer a new source key for Twhirl or Tweetdeck?

I’ve noticed some pretty harsh criticism sent my way during this mess.  The naming collision was purely coincidental, but fans of {13bold} who accidentally downloaded my early alpha release didn’t feel much need for restraint when proclaiming how badly my “fake” application sucked.  Thanks, guys.

I’m just a guy doing this as a hobby.  I’m like the guy you see playing guitar on the sidewalk. I certainly don’t expect you to throw change into my open guitar case, but you don’t have to spit in my face just because I’m not Eric Clapton.  This isn’t my first open source project, but it’s been the first one where people have been so rude.  I guess I’ll need some thicker skin.

I’ve been working on the next release, which has some UI improvements.  I hope to have it ready soon.  I’ve gotten rid of the annoying menu-button to the right of the textbox and replaced them with individual buttons in the statusbar.  And I’ve fixed the toolbar so it looks “unified” on the Mac now.  I’ve also refactored the XUL so that the Mac-specific stuff is in its own Overlay, which means the Windows version doesn’t have a bunch of Mac artifacts in it.