MobileTwitterrific

There are two things that I really want on my iPhone: Twitterrific and Frenzic. Last week I started taking care of the first one and am happy to announce a proof-of-concept.

Don’t expect much in terms of usability or elegance. The application only initiates a network connection to Twitter, downloads a timeline feed as XML, and then parses it into a data model. The user name from the model is then displayed in a table view. Sounds pretty simple, right?

Bzzzzt.

It took a lot of head scratching to parse that XML data. NSXMLDocument is hidden in the OfficeImport framework (presumably to handle Office XML files.) The ARM linker can’t see the symbol in the framework, so the document is instantiated with [NSClassFromString(@"NSXMLDocument") alloc]. Many thanks go to Lucas Newman for figuring that one out! Also, there aren’t any XPath methods available, so extracting the information isn’t as easy as with AppKit.

(Do a search for “NOTE:” in the source code for more information on the cause and resolution to these problems.)

It’s pretty clear that the development of a native Twitter client should be done “in the open.” There’s a lot of reverse engineering involved while developing native iPhone applications, so getting more brains involved will result in much quicker development. It will also aid in the development of similar types of network-based applications, such as Ian Baird’s Pownce client. It’s also my hope that this project will spur Brent Simmons into doing something creative :-)

So take a look at MobileTwitterrific, and if you think you can help out, please get in touch via my Gmail account. Thanks!