Disclaimer: this post is way longer than my usual stuff.
Today, I released Corebird 0.9, after a development time of over 4 months. That's a pretty long time in contrast to my usual 4 to 8 weeks. But nothing is normal today, which you can see by me writing a blog post about it (or a blog post at all). I'll first quickly cover the changes in 0.9 and then talk about the future of the project, so if you've been keeping up with development anyway, you can skip to the bottom of the post.
Changes in Corebird 0.9
Most of you probably haven't, but if you attended my talk about Corebird at GUADEC 2014, you know that I pondered about releasing a 1.0 instead of a 0.9 version, but I think some things are missing and/or incomplete and a "real" 1.0 release is not justified (more on this later).
I like lists, so here's just a list of smaller improvements and/or changes in no particular order and terribly incomplete:
- Mentions, hashtags and links now get highlighted directly in the compose window
- The avatar of the currently active account in a window is now clickable, showing all configured accounts. From here, each account can be opened, configured or the active account of the window can be switched. This also means that the account setup page in the settings dialog is gone.
- The logic for autostarting accounts is more explicit now. Previously when starting Corebird, we opened all accounts that were opened when you last quitted the application (read: you used the application menu to quit it or you just closed the last window). Meaning, it was not possible to close all windows separately and still get more than one window at the next start. The new behavior features a "autostart" switch in each account's settings you can toggle. We fall back to the old behavior in situations that have no better semantics, like when no autostart is not set to true for any account.
- The setting regarding the dark theme is gone (existing configurations will keep working). This was just wrong and caused a lot of confusion (seriously, how often did I read "Corebird comes with a dark theme..."?). If you want your desktop to be dark, use a theme that is dark.
- When viewing an image of a tweet with multiple images/videos attached, you can now use the cursor keys to navigate between them.
- Avatars in tweets and profiles now show if the user is verified.
- Lots of the application should now react better to missing network connections.
- The activity indicator for loading older tweets (which is what was in the bottom of the sidebar)is now in the tweet list itself.
- Some things now get immediately applied instead of needing a restart of the client. For example, when adding/removing filters (or changing them of course), the corresponding tweets get immediately hidden/shown. Same things applies to unfollowing someone or disabling someone's retweets.
- Each window now has a back button, additionally to all the keyboard shortcuts available for going back and forward. This has been a long-standing concern and is hopefully fixed now.
- Last but not least, large parts of the UI have been refined, spacing, icons, etc. have been changed. Thanks to Allan Day for his great work on this.
There's a lot missing here (I guess?), and none of the real bugs fixed are listed.
Future (help wanted)
If you've followed the development even from far distance, you've probably noticed that most of the commits are just from me (see the graphs). Although there are quite some contributors (10 in total if Github doesn't lie to me), almost all of them are one-time contributors with very small patches. This basically results in me doing all the stuff alone, without any kind of feedback or opinion before merging it into master.
This isn't just a problem because I've had less and less time for it in the last few months, but also (and even more) because there's no way for me to verify ideas/implementations/designs/etc. before implementing them. I usually implement bigger features in a branch first, then if I think I'm done, I post into the corresonding bug report that people might try that branch. Rarely get I any feedback at all that way. After 2 weeks I just merge that branch into master, which is when I maybe get some feedback.
In other ways, it's problematic because of the sheer lack of manpower. Corebird is IMHO currently lacking in documentation and design. The website is pretty horrible (especially regarding the (lack of) information on it). There's virtually no documentation for users at all. How do Filters work, that's a List even, how can you add a new account, etc.
To sum it up, I'm actively looking for help in the development and documentation process, for community work, etc.
Regardless, I have some things on my radar regarding the near future:
- Move everything to a git.gnome.org repo. This was on my list since GUADEC 2014, but I never had the time to do it. This would enable us to use gnome's translator team in order to translate the UI. I'm also hopig for more and faster feedback. I don't know if I'll keep the Github repo intact or not, the Github page is certainly better suited as a landing page for people just quickly interested in some facts about the project (a problem one could address with a better website...). There are other reasons (and downsides) for this of course but it's too much (and to convulted) to list here.
- Fix the situation for blocked/muted/retweets-disabled wrt streaming connections. This is a rather old problem that needs a proper an general enough fix.
- Have shorter, regular releases.
- Create a Corebird Twitter account for support, releases, news, etc.
- From a design POV, the banner/avatar configuration dialogs probably need some refinements.
As always, if you have comments (or other ideas, want to help me in some way, etc.), send me an e-mail.
 This is slightly unreliable because [insert rant about Twitter API]
 Unfortunately, we're not inserting the target user's tweets into your timeline if you haven't previously been following them ATM.