Fixing speed issues with Twitter

As we’ve no doubt all experienced at one time or another with Twitter things just seem to slow down to a crawl, with seemingly no explanation as to why.  I had my suspicions and so I got to experimenting by injecting some analysis code into Twitter In An App, where my suspicions were confirmed.

Like many ‘top down’ scrolling applications, TweetDeck is very fast at loading in new data when it’s needed as you scroll down the list.  The problem is, whilst you scroll down this new data is added to what’s already there.  The more you scroll, the more gets added.  The same applies when the application is just sitting there receiving new tweets.  There is no attempt to keep the number of items displayed at a ‘manageable’ level, and therefore it just leaks memory and leaves your Web Browser / Operating System to deal with the consequences.  Usually, this means lots of disk / memory management.

Twitter In An App, therefore can be affected by this issue.  However, there is now new a feature to help you keep the wild Twitter beast under control, called ‘Auto-purge’.


Auto-purge allows you to define how many Tweets you consider ‘manageable’ in each column, and when turned on, will ensure that no more than this number of Tweets exists in each column.  It’s a timed event, fired after it checks for notifications, which occurs every 10 seconds.

However, you need to be careful about using this!

If you intend to catch up with a lot of tweets, and need to do some scrolling you MUST turn the feature off.  The application tracks the last know tweet and will cut everything from this tweet up to the number you have defined as being manageable.  If you don’t turn the feature off, you will be fighting a never-ending battle where you can never see older tweets for very long!

Also, there is a feature to enable Auto-purge on startup.  This is NOT recommended for general use, unless you know that you are NEVER going to be scrolling down previous tweets when the application starts.  (The reason it is not recommended, is the same as above!)



New notification system coming soon…

I’m not standing still for long when it comes to features for TwitterInAnApp and over the past few evenings have been re-writing the notification system as I outlined in a previous post.

Now the application is able to track notifications and messages across multiple accounts, and display an appropriate notification discreetly (assuming you have ‘Notify on New Activity’ turned on), which slides in and out of view without taking focus.



This notification will update every time there is new activity, so in the example above, a new ‘Mention’ if the application has not been activated would increment accordingly (to 8 mentions).  Once activated, the notifications are reset back to zero.  If you have new activity and the notification window is not visible (the icon in the system tray remains orange), then simply move the mouse over the icon and the notification window will be displayed again.

This version is currently out to a select group of users for testing, and once I’m happy it’s stable – you can expect it to be publicly available!

Coming soon…

Just a heads up for those keeping an eye on developments!  With the April 15th deadline looming like a runaway freight train, there’s a few plans in the pipeline to help you get a little more out of Twitter In An App.

The application as it is, is perfectly usable as a replacement for the website.  It has just enough basic bells and whistles to cover basic usage, but admittedly there’s still more to do!

On my TODO list are the following features:

  1. Implement the default notification sounds – the website actually seems to have these embedded [if you’re brave enough to look at the source code, there’s some media tags for the notification sound], but never plays them.
  2. Implement Custom CSS – a little more tricky this one, as I’d like to inject custom CSS to allow you ‘tweak’ the look and feel of the Twitter site as you see fit! [It’s proving harder than I thought it would!]
  3. Implement extended notifications – we all know the original TweetDeck popped up a notification box containing the content of the new items.  I’d like to do something similar [but not the same!]

I do have a version now which extends the tray notifications a bit more, which I will consider releasing over the next few days.  Unless someone really wants it sooner rather than later.

Got any more suggestions?  Feel free to get in touch and let me know!