This is one of those “I’ll flame the whole %#&ng concept to ashes and hope that annoys some tech proponent badly enough to make them point out that sensible approaches do exist.” If someone has a good solution to the problem, please do point it out - I’m lost in this giant mire.

Here’s the ridiculous thing: there just don’t seem to be any client applications for Twitter and StatusNet/

Oh, sure, there technically are clients. I’m talking about applications.

Because it appears to me that when people start writing Twitter clients, they go funny in the head. And not “funny in the head” the way people who develop revision control systems and filesystems go - those people go crazy and produce great software, as long as you remember that they use words that no other mortals dare to utter and have curious quirks in the software that you just have to accept, because they are geniuses and you’re not.

Nope. Twitter clients, to me, seem to be like the developers just wanted to build websites that run 100% on client side. Sure, there’s code that authenticates the user and fetches statuses and lets you post statuses. Yay. But the user interface side is usually epic stylish graphical extravaganza. You know, just like client apps aren’t supposed to be like.

The client developers, at some point, forgot that the reason people use client apps is that client apps are supposed to work on the terms of the underlying operating system.

Look, I don’t want the Twitter clients to look like the websites. I don’t want the clients try to break new ground and display the messages in epic new ways. I just want them to display the status updates the old way. The way every other application in my frigging system does it. Show me a list of messages, show me a tree of replies - I don’t care. Don’t put the messages gigantic shaded boxies because that’s not like anything else I’ve ever seen.

Then there’s the issue of development platforms. Is it really too much to ask to use the native widget sets with native look and feel? Most of these clients seem to use Adobe AIR; I don’t know much about Adobe AIR, but it seems like Adobe released this platform entirely for Twitter client developers. (JWZ said that every application expands until it can read mail. Adobe AIR is the exception to this law: every AIR application project started ultimately mutates into a Twitter client. You can start developing what the hell you want, but you will ultimately deliver a Twitter client.)

And then there’s the performance issue. I quit using Gwibber shortly after I started because I noticed the bloody thing was eating tons of memory and slowed my computer to crawl. Yes, a software that handles 140-character messages brought my 3 GHz computer to its knees. I think that Gwibber developers are likely sensible people who wouldn’t suggest that I should upgrade my old Athlon XP to the multicore era to handle 140-character messages. I mean, my cellphone handles messages just fine with Mobidentica, which is written in that old performance hog, Java. Right?

In conclusion: If you have written a sensible open-source cross-platform Twitter or StatusNet client, please start advertising furiously, because you’ve clearly lost yourself among the sea of complete and utter crap.