In the world of Twitter clients, official and unofficial, very few stand out. MetroTwit is one of the few. Inspired by Microsoft’s Metro UI, MetroTwit is elegantly conceptualized into a Windows client that is simple to use, while supporting features such as infinite scrolling, Windows 7 taskbar integration, auto-complete of hashtags and twitter handles, and a brilliant notifications system. We sat down with David Golden, lead developer of MetroTwit, to see what the future may hold for the Twitter client.
Over the last few months, it seems like MetroTwit has gained users at an exorbitant rate, and is highly regarded as one of the best-designed and best-looking Twitter clients. Who came up with the idea to use Microsoft’s Metro UI as the basis for the design, and did you think it would become as big as it has?
Long Zheng (MetroTwit project manager) had the initial idea to do a Metro based Twitter Client back in March 2010 he did a quick post with a mockup of what a Metro UI based Twitter client might look like. I threw the basics of the UI that day and got in contact with Long and it has quickly spiraled from there. Before we started working on MetroTwit we had a lot of issues with other twitter clients and I personally was switching between a few different clients trying to find something that worked for me so when we did start working on MetroTwit we have always had a goal to be better than (insert popular client here). We didn’t expect it to get as big as it has, but we’re very proud and amazed at the support and the sheer number of people who have used MetroTwit.
Twitter, over the last few months, has been cracking down on third-party clients by telling developers to stop making them and purchasing the more successful ones. Have you had any clashes with the company, and would MetroTwit be open to becoming part of Twitter?
Twitters recent changes have made it a tighter system for client developers but the changes aren’t all bad, it’s more to try and cultivate their ecosystem. In some cases those changes have been a bit hard for users to understand thinking a client is artificially limiting them when it’s trying to abide by twitters rules, but it all makes for a better service for everyone. We’re always open to talking to new services and partners to see if there is a fit, and especially for Twitter we’d be more than happy to talk to them about MetroTwit (being a part of Twitter).
MetroTwit is part of a partnership with Rowi, a Windows Phone 7 Twitter client featuring cloud-syncing for movements like adding and removing columns and read tweets between the clients. What future additions will we see to the syncing capabilities between the clients, and when can we expect a release?
We don’t usually talk too much of upcoming features as nothing is really set in stone until it’s done, but you can definitely expect more from the Nest and the cloud-syncing in the future. We’re working really hard on a release right now and we have it currently working in the internal versions of MetroTwit we’re just ironing out the issues before we move to our beta testers.
Will there be a partnership with a current app on Android or iOS, will MetroTwit create its own app, or will you stick with Windows Phone?
At the moment we’ve very dedicated to our partnership with Rowi and The Nest, but we haven’t ruled out expanding to other platforms.
Many of your users have requested new features such as multi-account support and a Mac client. Is there a timeframe for releasing new features and will there be a Mac-version of MetroTwit?
At this stage we don’t yet have the resources to branch out into a Mac version of MetroTwit but there are some other design considerations around whether the Metro UI design is a good design on OSX. We do take a lot of requests in from users and multi-account is currently the most requested feature. We are already working on it and working very hard on getting that to users as soon as it’s ready.
MetroTwit Show seems like a very promising conception that could be used by news organizations, PR groups, at festivals, etc. How much is the commercial aspect of MetroTwit Show your focus, and would you create a branded version for a CNN or BBC if requested?
Currently MetroTwit Show is free for non-commercial personal use at the moment, with commercial licenses available by request. We definitely want to do branded versions of MetroTwit Show for those wanting a commercial license.
What kind of new features and/or updates do you have in mind for MetroTwit Show?
We have an updated version coming soon with slightly better authentication handling, and there will be more features in the future depending on what users are asking for.
Will there be an open beta (sign-up, invitation-only, etc) for future versions of MetroTwit or MetroTwit Show?
There is currently a private MetroTwit Loop group on Facebook for those that would like to run our ‘nightly-ish’ builds of MetroTwit. At some point we’ll likely open this up for anyone to join at anytime.
On the timeframe of an update on MetroTwit, will there be an update by the end of the year?
Yep, we intend to have a number of updates before the end of the year. Hopefully the next update is only a few weeks away depending on how testing goes.
Any plans for expansion into other social networks (Google+, Facebook)?
At this stage we don’t have any plans to expand into social networks, there is plenty of work to be done with Twitter for now, but you never know what the future might hold