If you are familiar with the web design and development community you have likely seen Forrst. The website acts as a social network where digital professionals can share their latest projects and give each other feedback. Many of these shots and code snippets are made public, although much like Dribbble you will need an invite to register an account.
Yet, up until recently there haven’t been many iOS titles related to Forrst in the App Store. One of the newest launches, Leef for iPhone, allows you to browse all of the latest posts from the Forrst API. Their search results are very snappy and you have the ability to customize which media you’re looking for. Let’s get into the other cool stuff after the jump.
When you first launch the app it’s fairly straightforward to sign in and access your own personal settings. Unfortunately, to request an invite key you’ll need to visit this registration page and signup. But either way it’s possible to look through all of the recent and popular posts.
You should notice right away how intuitive the timeline behaves. It’s not a struggle to flick through the entries and check specific posts for more information. Additionally, you can check on the left column of each post for the author’s avatar image. Tapping will bring up their custom Forrst profile with information about their posts, comments, likes, and followers.
I should mention that Forrst will also let developers & designers include links to their online profiles. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, or portfolio website these will be displayed within Leef’s profiles view. It can be great publicity for working your name out into the freelance world.
Sorting Through Posts
By default you should have all post media sorted by most recently submitted. If you tap on this center area in the top toolbar a new menu will appear. From here you can choose to limit results by any of the major post types which include:
- All(everything combined)
I really love the crisp animations as you move between the different options. Selecting any other choice besides “All” will cause a second menu to appear in the same list. You can choose to sort any of the specific post types by Recent, Popular and Best.
Recent will pull from the latest posts based on submission time. Popular posts are the ones with the most likes from members, while Best posts are hand-picked by the site staff.
Pulling More Info & Comments
After you go through some of these views you’ll want to check things a bit deeper. Tap anywhere in the post area to open more details. This new screen looks similar to a tweet view which shows the author’s name & avatar, post content, and total number of comment replies.
If you are logged into an account you may tap the heart icon button to “Like” any posts. Over time these accumulate and the most popular of each category will rise to the top in search results. Similarly, if you tap on the bottom row it will open up the comments area. The display includes nested replies for comment threads which you can open and close at will.
Unfortunately, the comments view does not load everything inline. Threaded replies will open in a new page view, and even going to add a reply will bring up a new input window. This can be somewhat of a hassle when you’re trying to remember the comment and respond to their point. But at the same time the interface just works, and at least it’s some way to interact with Forrst on a mobile screen.
I should also mention a neat feature in this app which I’ve actually never seen before. When you are viewing post comments there is a small reply button in the top right corner, but when you are on the post details page this turns into two small up/down arrows.
You can tap these buttons to quickly scroll through your search results list. It’s much nicer than picking up a quick glance as you flick through the table list of thumbnails and code previews. You also have the opportunity to grab the author’s full name and even check out the discussion comments if you’re interested.
Custom App Settings
From the main lists view you’ll notice a gear icon in the top right corner. You can tap this to access some other account settings and customize your viewing preferences.
For starters, you have access to log into an account if you haven’t done so already. Alternatively, you can logout from here and leave the app disconnected from your account, or log into a different one. The General settings allow you to customize some of the display options. These include font sizes and display names listed as the user’s Full Name or Forrst Username.
The Startup Feed menu can be edited and saved for your own personal favor. I leave mine to All since it’s the quickest way to checkout what’s happening on Forrst at-a-glance. But notice this is limited to only recent posts through the Forrst API. Any of the other post types may be setup with a different search method and saved as the default feed.
Having been a user on Forrst for about two years, I really enjoy using Leef. It works perfectly and offers so much capability even for non-members. Not to mention the beautiful interface design and app icon which fit so nicely into the natural theme of the website. For web designers and especially developers I have to recommend trying it out. Forrst is such an articulate community and Leef is the perfect companion for your iPhone.