The Fate of Bluebird

Matt Patenaude

By now you may have heard that Twitter will officially be turning off their standard authentication mechanism on August 16, 2010, and by that time all Twitter clients must have migrated to their new OAuth scheme. Bluebird still uses the basic authentication scheme, so by now, many of you may have started worrying about whether or not we're going to make the fix.

We're not.

In fact, we're completely letting the current version of Bluebird — henceforth, Bluebird Classic — fade into oblivion. Fear not, though, for there is a method to our madness.

Why Bye Bye Birdie?

Let's be clear, Bluebird in and of itself isn't being killed. After much soul-searching and consideration, we've decided that Bluebird isn't now (and probably can never be) anywhere near {13bold} quality. We think that in designing Bluebird, we got a lot of things wrong.

A few of them, of course, were our own poor design choices. A lot of the problem, however, stems from the fact that we don't think that most traditional Twitter clients got it quite right. Download some sort of site-specific browser (like Fluid), create an icon for, and what do you have? Something that's just as functional and nearly as convenient as most Twitter clients.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of Twitter clients do a very good job of providing a great, native-feeling experience for accessing Twitter. The problem is, the very notion of a Twitter client (in its current, conventional form) aims to provide an interaction model that's practically no different from Twitter's website. The sole utility of a Twitter client is in its convenience.

Personally, I think if you're going to have a dedicated application to do something, it should provide more than just convenience. We want to build something that has the potential to provide a fundamentally different experience, and not just the same ol' same ol'. It's the only chance Bluebird really has to compete with the other clients, and while we're at it, we might as well do something revolutionary, right?

OK, I'm intrigued, when's it coming?

We're aiming to have something out by the end of this year. Yes, I know, that's a long way away, but for reasons I can't really discuss, it's the way it has to be. Trust me, though, it'll be well worth the wait!

In the meantime, do keep in mind that Bluebird will stop working on August 16th. For the time between August 16th and whenever we release our new vision of Bluebird, you'll have to switch to something else (or just use your iPhone/iPad Twitter client of choice ;)). We're sorry for the inconvenience, but unfortunately, it's the way it has to be.

Good Stuff! Hey, what about Bowtie 1.2?

Yeah, a few of you may have heard of a few new features and bugfixes we planned for Bowtie 1.2. Unfortunately, for the same reason that I'm releasing Bluebird by the end of the year, I can't release Bowtie 1.2 just yet. Look for an update to Bowtie coming this November. :)

Until next time, happy tweeting!