There’s nothing we love more than sitting down with a developer of a Windows Phone app and having a chat about the ins and outs of development. We recently had the opportunity to talk with Brad Stevenson, developer of the Aeries for Twitter app.
If you’ve used Aeries for Windows Phone, you; notice something about the design. Not only does it take cues from Windows Phone 8, but it looks like a Windows 10 app that just took a step back into the present. Its base design is just that good.
Brad Stevenson, the developer of the app shared with us more about the thoughtful design of the app. Windows Phone has a lot of screen size options. Thus, the app’s design is customizable to provide the best UI experience for your device. But that’s not to say its default configuration isn’t the best, sporting a 1520 himself, Brad notes that “small screens have space constraints”, hence the default control provides decently sized text, inline controls that pop out on demand and more.
Aeries provides more or less the feature set expected from a Twitter app. It has multiple accounts, support for lists, notifications, you get the picture. It doesn’t have too many bells and whistles which some may see as a negative and some may see as a positive as the app is not “bloated” and is “lightweight”. Personally I’d say that Aeries customizability makes it so the app is personalized to you to some degree. The developer spent a lot of time making sure the main functionality of the app was firm so he had a strong, solid base on which to build on.
That’s not to say it was a smooth ride into development, there were a few hiccups in the Windows Phone SDK functionality wise. For one, there is no way for the developer to show custom suggestions on the word suggestion bar of the Wordflow Keyboard, Aeries had to make use of a custom integrated bar so hashtags and Twitter usernames could be displayed for the user. Another popular user-requested feature was that of people hub integration. Microsoft previously removed the traditional method of people hub integration so that it would be easier for third parties to integrate. Unfortunately, they limited it to only Facebook, Twitter, Instagram i.e official apps could do so. Shockingly, none of these official apps ever save Facebook and Twitter never cared enough to, and apps that would have extended the functionality of the soon-to-be-defunct people hub like Aeries remain locked out.
Aeries is a nice, beautiful functional app but it still has room to grow. While it is a universal app at the moment, it has yet to be released on Windows as the developer is still trying to figure out a way to make it work. Windows has more power, bigger screens, better task management, trying to shoehorn a mobile app on a desktop or tablet or vice versa, is a recipe for disaster. A Windows version is currently being worked on as he figures out how to use the larger canvas and make efficient use of the most powerful processors. A Windows 10 version is also in the works.
On mobile, features like tweet scheduling and other advanced twitter features will eventually make their way down. One plan for Aeries (not definite yet), is to split off the DM feature of Twitter into a separate app. Those who use DMs a lot without making use of the main functionality of Twitter may find that useful – I certainly would.
Twitter apps are a dime a dozen on any platform, and Windows Phone is no exception. While there are multiple apps, what sets Aeries apart from the competition is its design and “feel”. It’s the same thing that allows manufacturers of cars, smartphones and the like to charge high prices.
It feels premium and for those who want that feel, you just can’t put a price on that. Speaking of price, aside from the reasons I just mentioned, Twitter eliminates developers from making amazing things using its APIs with limited tokens. While some of you may feel it is your divine right to get other people’s work for free, it doesn’t work like that in the real world, In other words, if you find it expensive, you most likely aren’t the intended audience. But there is an audience, they will pay and the show will go on with or without you.
Aeries is available for $4.99 and you can download it here from the Windows Phone store.