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red badger

Red Badger – Developer Insight

Back when Windows Phone 7 was new on the smartphone scene the choice of Twitter apps was limited. Birdsong was one of the most interesting clients of the time, it was 100% accurate in getting the aesthetics right for how an app should look and work on WP7. Making good use of smooth scrolling, panoramic slide overs whilst embracing the best feature of Windows Phone, Metro.

At the time Birdsong was innovative, indeed Red badger became a poster child for how Metro style apps should look and feel, receiving praise from its users and even Microsoft. I wanted to catch up with the team and see how their start-up is going and what brought them back to re-kindling development for Birdsong. I met with one of the founders, Cain Ullah and Red Badgers newest team member, Joe Stanton to see what’s happening...

 

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What? "Birdsong is still alive" you say? It seems the team at Red Badger have been busy pumping life into the old girl, who has been dormant since she was updated to Mango. We last spoke of Birdsong, the then-popular Windows Phone Twitter client, when the team announced that intern Joe Stanton would be tasked with bringing the app back up to speed with the competition. So what's new in upcoming 1.7?

The team has introduced a new trends feature, which is now accessible from the main app bar and provides convenient access to Twitter trending data for users. The feature calculates your location and displays nearest trending topics with the option to view what's trending in a specific city, nationwide, or on a global scale. 

Search functionality has been revamped and is now more intuitive with the main search view retrieving saved searches automatically. Upon executing a search via Birdsong, the app now searches both tweets and accounts simultaneously. The app makes use of the Twitter API for searching, so any saved searches created / manipulated on the app will be reflected on the website and other apps that make use of the same functionality.

As well as a search revamp and trending topics, Birdsong now supports both photos tweeted using Twitter's in-house hosting service and gzip. Previously, any image hosted with Twitter would show it as a link which could not be selected, but now all photos are loaded correctly depending on user settings. For gzip support, this solves the login issue many experience when attempting to connect their Twitter account to the app on first launch.

There are two bug fixes in 1.7, the first being the above implemented gzip support. Twitter altered their authentication API to always return a gzip response, which resulted in Birdsong not being able to process authenticated responses. The second bug fix is for errors with user profiles where the app was making unauthenticated requests, causing the user to hit brick walls with limits being applied by the social network. 

Unfortunately, we couldn't see any mention of the live tile / push service functionality in the change log. Many have been reporting issues with manipulating the settings for said features in Birdsong, where the app would throw a failure message when one attempted to simply enable the service. We hope these known issues will be fixed in a future update, which wont take as long to publish.

Source: Red Badger; Thanks, Kyle, for the tip!

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Good news to anyone who loves the Birdsong Twitter client for Windows Phone as much as the next person, as Red Badger announced last month the arrival of an intern at the company. Joe Stanton, a student at King’s College London (studying Computer Science), will be heading up further development on the app, which has received little attention since the Mango update hit handsets.

So what should we look forward to see in the (hopefully) near future? Trending Topics (both local and global), ReadItLater/Instapaper support for tweeted links, as well as large-scale improvements to the push service. Sounds like a solid plan. On a slight funny note, it'll be interesting to see what an apparent iPhone user (according to the above photo) can bring to the app.

You can download Birdsong from the Marketplace for $0.99 (79p).

Source: Red Badger

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