I recently installed Twitter client that is new to the Linux scene, called Hotot. It promised a slick interface, lots of nice transitions between interface elements, and was able to work with OAuth, the now-mandated authorization system Twitter uses. I’d seen screenshots, and it appeared it would look good in KDE, and not only in GNOME, so I gave it a try. I like it quite a lot, although it still has a few rough edges.
First, Hotot is the absolute coolest-looking Linux application I’ve seen in a while. It doesn’t follow your desktop theme, however, so if you’re the type of person (as I usually am), who gets bothered if an application looks out of place, then Hotot might not be for you. Also (and this is often seen as heresy in some Linux quarters), Hotot looks a lot like a Mac OS X application. I happen to like how OS X looks, so for me that’s a good thing. But again, people who have an aversion to Apple or anything that looks like Apple might have designed it would best steer clear of Hotot.
Hotot has all the features most often found in Twitter clients, so there’s nothing really new there. You can view your standard timeline, reply to messages, retweet them, send and receive direct messages, as well as mark a Tweet as a favorite. You can browse through messages using the standard Home Timeline view, or one of a handful of others: Mentions, Direct Messages, My Favorite Tweets, and Retweets & Retweeted. When you choose a different message view, you see some of the visual flair Hotot has, as the different views smoothly slide in and out of view.
Some of the message views, such as Direct messages, have two viewing options. You can view your inbox (direct messages to you), or your outbox (direct messages you have sent). Similarly, the Retweets message view gives you the option to view messages retweeted by others, messages you have retweeted, or messages from you that others have retweeted. You can also perform Twitter searches, in order to find and follow a favorite topic.
Another nice feature Hotot has is an extension architecture. It ships with two extensions by default, one the ability to upload pictures to img.ly, and the other a “click and translate” tool, for messages in a foreign language. Those are both really useful, and while the extensions category is limited to those two tools, hopefully other developers will see a need and fill it for a more customizable and feature-filled experience.
As mentioned, there are still a few rough edges. First, and I admit this could be something weird on my end, I have to click a button in order to get Hotot to login every single time I start up Hotot. Clicking the “save password” button doesn’t seem to do anything (although that could be a preference for identi.ca accounts, which Hotot also supports), and nothing I do seems to change this behavior. Other Twitter clients I’ve used have allowed me to login automatically, but Hotot doesn’t seem to want to do that for me. The one other bothersome behavior is that each time I start Hotot, every update is viewed as new. It doesn’t have any way to mark a message as read, so I could look at every message, quit Hotot, immediately restart it, and those same messages I just viewed are identified as new messages in the pop-up notification. That’s a little annoying.
Still, Hotot is still working its way to a 1.0 release (it’s currently at 0.9.5), so these kind of bugs and this kind of behavior isn’t unexpected. And in spite of those rough edges, the overall experience is nice. Hotot looks great, seems relatively fast, works pretty much the way you’d expect a desktop Twitter client to behave, and seems to have fairly active development. There are other features available in addition to the ones I mentioned, including Geolocation, threaded conversations, image previews, and more. At the moment it looks as if all this could eventually lead to one of the better Twitter clients for Linux. Hopefully it gets there.