Friday, December 18, 2015

Honest Review of the Twitter App for Android

Twitter developed a nice, simple, sleek, and working app for Android so long ago I don't recall the date. But as time went on they began making a ton of huge mistakes.

The first was reinventing the wheel, which is not something I usually gripe about but in this case they didn't really reinvent it. Instead of using the built-in Android libraries for basic features like animations and video, they moved the entire app to the NDK then rewrote all those from scratch.

If said features were unique, I'd understand, but these are to play simple GIFs and web video, nothing fancy like YouTube's annotations. Of course YouTube uses only the SDK, so even if they did do all that the Twitter app would need no new NDK libraries.

Then all hell broke out on the app as feature after feature was added using all new code in spite of being nothing more than basic Android features. This creates huge errors as the native code tries to access a lot of stuff that is not even there.

Ultimately, this creates a very sluggish and glitchy app no matter what device it is used on. But Twitter developers simply don't care, all theybseem to care about is cramming as much useless garbage into the app as possible.

So now we have the promoted tweets showing up in every expanded tweet, which slows the already slow app down to a crawl. They also added what they call "moments," which is just "what's popular" but with a bunch of extra code added to the app.

To make matters worse, this all updates in the app constantly, even when the app and notifications are turned off. Adding in the automated refresh nonsense makes the Twitter Android app more like a virus than an app.

So the flaws in the Twitter app for Android are:

1. Bloated - by using the NDK and recreating all the features already built into Android, the app takes up way more space than it needs.

2. Memory - bad memory management has always been a huge flaw in the Twitter app, as if the developers know nothing about the devices they are developing for.

3. Constant Updating - the timeline is updated automatically so frequently that it slows the entire device down and makes reading your timeline impossible.

4. Useless Features - like the Microsoft paperclip, no one likes these. From their constant search updating for "moments" to the intrusive promoted tweets showing in every single expanded tweet, all they do is ruin the app.

5. Background Updates - to make the automated refreshing more of a hassle, it happens even if you turn off notifications and the app is in the background. This interferes with other apps and processes as well as destroys your bandwidth.

So my recommendation is to find a third party app to access Twitter, many of them don't show any promoted tweets so that's an extra bonus. Some will require being purchased, but most allow you to try before you buy and they are worth it.

Once you get use to the other layouts, Twitter becomes both useful and pleasant again.

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