Most of the buzz around App.net has been gone and it is not a headline anymore. However, we can’t deny its growth with the invitation-based freemium accounts and the file storage API, allowing users to store files in their own server.
Still, App.net is mostly known as a social network with an ever-growing development of new clients to host the conversations. There are so many clients being released that we could write almost once a day about them, yet after having tried Felix, I doubt you’ll ever look back.
Felix comes with a clean interface, mostly in pales of black and white, creating a read-friendly environment. As you connect your account, you’ll be introduced to a tutorial about its full screen gestures, however, let’s stick to the regular view for a while.
From the Tab bar you have quick access to your personal stream, mentions, private messages, the Global feed and your Dashboard. When viewing a stream, you can swipe to the right to reply or to the left to view the conversation.
Tapping on the user’s avatar will also allow you to view their profile, star or repost the comment. Holding on the post will display an extensive menu with plenty of options like translation, collapsing, mailing or sending it to other services like Pocket or Instapaper. If you hold on a link, you can even open it on 1Password.
All these features connect Felix to the other applications. It is not a world on its own and doesn’t try to be. It is efficient because it allows you to use your favorite applications to view items outside App.net. With Felix, it seems to always have a choice, it never encloses you.
Jumping Into Conversations
The main difference on App.net and, for example, Twitter, is not the price, but how their users behave. The latter has often become an outdoor for brands and a news feed, meanwhile App.net attains to a more personal approach, encouraging its users to talk to each other. In Felix, it is easy to view a thread as a whole, or even collapse it in case you’d prefer to ignore it.
Felix makes it easy to attach media, take a photo or include a link to your posts, you can set a text to replace the URL, using less characters. Any post can be saved as a draft, just in case you’re expecting a better moment to post it. Media can be imported to Droplr, CloudApp or even App.net’s own file storage.
If you’re sending a private message, the editor is almost the same; it includes a field to include recipients and also a key-lock in the background.
There are also a few gestures to help you navigate within the Editor, swipe to move the cursor by character or use the two-finger swipe to move by word. You can also pull down to view the post you’re replying to, just in case you forgot about it.
Finding the People
When you check the Dashboard, you may find new folks by searching through the content of their descriptions. You can also search for a specific hashtag. When looking at someone else’s profile, you may follow, mute, mention or send a direct message to the user. It is also easy to see if the user follows you back, their posts, mentions, starred posts and followers.
What if someone is disturbing you? Or maybe a topic of conversation doesn’t please you? Well, if someone steps beyond the line, you can report the post or mute the user, however this paragraph is here to point out the collapsing options. In Felix you’re able to collapse conversations, users or even clients. So if you believe that users who don’t use Felix should be ignored, you can actually do it.
Syncing Across Devices
App.net offers their own web client, named Alpha, to use the social network. Some features of Felix are exclusive, which means that if you move to your desktop, you won’t find them. Since its last update, Felix syncs your drafts, starred posts, starred hashtags and collapse settings in your iCloud account.
Another old issue that Felix solves is the use of the stream marker to follow the threads at the point where you left them when using a different client.
Browsing in Full Screen
Spreading with two fingers will lead you to full-screen mode. The tab bar is replaced by a circle on the bottom right, displaying the icon for your current stream. Tapping on the icon shows the drawer with access to every panel and also the option to create a new post.
Felix already contains a good share of gestures. Not all of them are very intuitive and may take you some time to get used to, however, they only find their prime necessity here at the full-screen mode. The aforementioned swipe gestures makes replying or viewing conversations quite a breeze. If you get down in the hierarchy, a tiny arrow is displayed in the stream icon and a double tap there will take you back.
A Different Experience
We’ve said a lot, but we barely scratched the surface of Felix’s features. You can customize the font size for posts or user bios, the sound for push notifications (and the notifications themselves). It crossposts with Twitter and may display a unified timeline. Posts with images attached are shown with an inline preview. Felix also supports x-callback-url for Launch Center Pro users.
It is by using an application like Felix that the difference between Twitter and App.net stands out. It is as unique as the network itself and offers an experience pretty much superior to the one previously offered by other App.net clients, like Netbot, which strikes me as an adaptation from their Twitter client.
Perfection is a rank too high to achieve by any application, still, Felix shows as a candidate by offering a resourceful application, malleable settings to adapt to most ways to browse, a constant development that keep it ahead of its counterparts and also an App.net experience thought from the ground to embrace the brand-new (and growing) social network.
A fast, beautiful and feature-rich client for App.net10