It's great when one of your Happy Friends posts a lot of tweets, but it can get unmanageable quickly. So I added a couple of features recently that help manage the flood.

  1. Delete All Tweets, a new command in the Friends menu, is the radical approach. It just starts all your friends over from scratch, deleting every tweet under every friend. I actually like to do this, but then I'm not trying to create an archive of tweets with Happy Friends.

  2. A more nuanced approach uses a new Happy Friends setting that groups all tweets under a sub-heading for the day. Turn the feature on in the Settings dialog, which you can access in the menu at the right edge of the menu bar. Here's a screen shot. Now when you expand one of your friends to see what's new, you'll see something like this.

A picture named dateSort.gif

It's important to be aware that there's a limit to the amount of memory you can use to store this outline. But the limit is 5 megabytes, which actually is a lot of space for outline text. But someday you will hit that limit if you don't delete some tweets.

07/14/14; 09:38:04 AM

After releasing 0.46 and 0.47, I tried using Happy Friends on my iPad and immediately saw two fairly big problems with the Arrow Pad. Both are fixed in 0.48.

  1. The pad was on the right side of the screen, which is the right place for Fargo but the wrong place for Happy Friends, where it obscures the Twitter rendering of the item, which is almost certainly what you came to see. Now it's on the left side, over the top of the outline.

  2. Expand and Collapse works a little differently in Happy Friends. When you expand a twitterFriend type headline, we have to look to see if there are any tweets available for it. So we can't examine the in-memory outline to determine if it can be expanded. Now it does the right thing, which is considerably more complex to program, but not complex to use.

07/10/14; 05:39:32 PM
  1. New command in the Friends menu: Delete All Tweets. All your friends are still there, but the tweets under each friend are removed. I think of this as the Fresh Start command.
07/10/14; 12:03:01 PM

In order to keep their servers running smoothly, Twitter has established a set of very reasonable limits on the number of times users can do things when using an external app like Happy Friends.

I've tried to tune the software up in such a way that it's not likely to happen, but it's possible that with a large number of friends, or if you're checking for updates frequently, that you'll hit a rate-limit error. You'll know you're getting these errors if a red message appears below the outline that tells you. It links to this page.

Rate-limit checklist

  1. Consider turning off automatic checks, or checking less frequently. In the menu at the right edge of the menu bar, choose the Settings command and click on the Rate panel.

  2. If you turn off automatic checks, you can do a scan manually with the Check For Updates Now command in the Friends menu.

  3. Watch fewer people in Happy Friends and keep the rate of automatic checks as-is.

  4. Slow down, or take a break. Sometimes rate-limit errors can happen if you do too much expanding. So slow down a little, or do something else for a while. The rate-limits eventually reset (that is, Twitter forgets about the past excess).

  5. When you come back, reload the page if the message is still there.

The technical docs

Here's what Twitter says to developers like me about rate limits. It's pretty deep stuff.

07/10/14; 08:27:26 AM

In the rush to ship Little Card Editor and thesaurus.land some problems were surfacing in Happy Friends. I finally got a chance in the last couple of days to dig in and figure out what's happening and make some fixes.

  1. It wasn't handling rate-limit errors well. And that would cause false positives, headlines that would go bold when there were no changes.

  2. If you had two copies of the app open in different tabs, it would be possible for one to update and the other to pick up on the change and wipe out the outline. Now it no longer has the capacity to do this, and even better the copy of the app running in the non-active tab will stop updating until you show up again. However, for now -- the best thing to do is to be sure always that there's only one copy of Happy Friends open in any single browser, on any single machine.

  3. I tuned up the way columns display, so that there's more fluidity. The tweet preview should not overwrite the outline. And the outline should get smaller if you decrease the width of the window. As a result it also works better on tablets such as the iPad.

  4. If you're saving a public copy of your outline you'd quickly hit your rate limit if you were making lots of changes to the outline. Now this won't happen because we cache information that Twitter provides us, on the server.

  5. There's a new Unbold All command in the Friends menu if you want to check all your friends again. It helped preserve my sanity while testing, and it may help you too. (Can't hurt.)

  6. There's a new Rate-limit indicator below the attributes display. It shows when we're getting rate-limit errors from Twitter. It's important for you to know this, because parts of the app are non-responsive when you're at the rate-limit. I also write a user-level backgrounder on rate-limits. When you're getting rate-limit errors there are remedies, which are explained in the backgrounder.

Summary

The new release works a lot better than the previous release. Sorry you had to put up with all those problems. I hope to do better with this product in the future. I love it as much as the others. It's a little more difficult but it's also quite useful.

07/10/14; 08:26:46 AM

Last built: Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 9:12 AM

By Dave Winer, Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 8:26 AM.