We’re very excited to announce the release of Rowi 3.4 (for Windows Phone 8 and 2.4 for Windows Phone 7)! This has been a big effort to continue to make Rowi what we, and hopefully all of you, want to use as your primary Twitter client. We previously discussed some of the new features. Here is a summary of what’s in Rowi 3.4 (these can also be found in the descripion in the Windows Phone Store):
- Bug fixes
– Twitter 1.1 API support
– Expanded URLs shown in lists of tweets
– Receive tweets instantly inside of Rowi
– Receive push notifications instantly on multiple devices with multiple accounts with new notification types and lock screen support
– Higher resolution user images
– User profile banner images
– Favstar.fm integration
– Let’s dive into a few of these and learn more…
Receive Tweets Instantly Inside of Rowi
In the new Twitter 1.1 API that all developers are now required to use, the amount of calls to Twitter in a given time period and how they are called has changed. Previously, Rowi was allowed to “call” to Twitter to request data (anything from timelines to users and everything in between that makes up what you see in Rowi) of any kind to Twitter up to 350 times every hour. For most users this was enough most of the time. For others, you might have seen a little message telling you that you’ve hit Twitter’s rate limit and that you should try again later. Rate limits are now determined per type of data being requested. For example, loading up your latest mentions is one call for data to Twitter. In the new API you are now allowed up to 15 of those calls for each type every 15 minutes, so effectively you can call every API Twitter has about once every minute.
Twitter now recommends, however, that everyon use their streaming API, which is, for the most part, not rate limited. This new release gives you an option to use the streaming API instead of the usual manual refresh method that’s always been in Rowi. Effectively, what this means to you is:
Tweets from your home timeline, mentions and direct messages will come to you inside of Rowi as soon as they are posted to Twitter.
This option will use a bit more battery (but you’ll receive tweets instantly instead of refreshing!) since it is holding an open connection to Twitter while Rowi is open
This new feature is only for your home timeline, mentions and direct messages. All other pivots that you have configured on Rowi’s home screen will work as they did before. When connected to Twitter so you’ll receive tweets instantly, you will see the refresh button turned into a pause button. If tweets are coming in too quickly, you can stop the stream of tweets from coming in.
There is a new behavior we added to help you use it more effectively. While streaming, if you slide all the way to the tweet at the top of the list, when a new tweet comes in, it will tell Windows Phone to leave the screen on indefinitely. This is useful if you want to have your device plugged in and always on showing you the latest tweets in your timeline. It will also keep scrolling up for you to always show the latest tweet at the top. As soon as you scroll down, Rowi will stop scrolling to the top when new tweets come in and do our best to not interrupt your reading. It will also tell Windows Phone to timeout and turn off the screen as it normal does based off of your phone settings. If you’d like Rowi to never tell Windows Phone to leave your screen on, we have a setting for that.
This feature will default to on all the time, meaning Rowi will always try to stream new tweets to your device when you open Rowi (though it will fall back to the old way of manually refreshing when it can’t), but you can change it to never stream or only stream when on WiFi.
Because you may be notified often of new tweets coming in, there is also a new setting to not show the in-app notification when new tweets arrive.
This feature is really cool for everyone (who wouldn’t want to know about their tweets sooner? ;)), but is extremely useful for those who use Twitter heavily and hit rate limits often.
Note: This feature is not in Rowi 2.4 for Windows Phone 7. While we plan to add it in the future, we have no ETA at this time.
Improved Push Notifications
Back in May 2011 (2 years ago, wow!), the Hidden Pineapple team travelled to London, England to participate in the Windows Phone 7.1 SDK launch event that Microsoft put on. For the event, we built a prototype of Rowi that showed off using secondary live tiles (a new feature in Windows Phone 7.1). In this prototype, you could pin any pivot you configured on your home screen and our server would push to that tile when there were new tweets. It was shakey at best and wouldn’t scale, but it worked and showed off the potential of Windows Phone at the time (and for a Twitter app in general on any platform). Things never go according to plan. Unfortunately, other features took priority and this feature was never implemented…until now!
We’ve created a new Windows Phone push notification service in the cloud that uses Twitter’s streaming API to receive new tweets on your behalf and send notifications and live tile updates near instantly to your device! Finally! Just like when we first launched push notifications in Rowi back in April of 2011 (the first Twitter app on Windows Phone to do that, I might add ;)), we’ve included some flexibility in what notifications you receive.
The Enabled/Disabled toggle allows you to quickly turn on or shut off notifications completely. The first section of checkboxes allow you to specify which types of notifications you would like to show up on your Rowi live tile. In addition to mentions and messages, we now support favorites, retweets and new followers. By checking these options in this first section, the live tile counter and back of the tile will be updated accordingly. The second section of checkboxes are for which toast (the notification bar you see across the top of your screen) notifications you would like to receive. There’s also an option to only receive toast notifications from people you follow in case you get lots of mentions, favorites, retweets or new followers.
Here is an example of Rowi’s live tile with the counter set on it.
Note: You’ll notice that we are no longer using our custom counter that used to show both mentions and messages counters in the tile. We now only support the built-in counter on live tiles. This is to support the options you select for what notifications you want to be included on your live tile and it is also required for lock screen support.
You will also notice the lock screen button which will take you to the Windows Phone lock screen settings. Rowi supports being added to your lock screen for both quick status and detailed status. Pick and choose what you’d like.
Note: Lock screen options are only supported on Windows Phone 8.
If you’re using multiple accounts you will see an additional option in notification settings for your live tile.
This toggle allows you to pick if you want notifications from all your accounts to appear on your live tile or just the notifications from a single primary account.
You can also pin mentions and messages pivots separately to your start screen and their live tile counts will be updated individually. Multiple accounts are even supported for pinning and updating so you can create your own virtual Twitter dashboard on your Windows Phone start screen! If you come up with a great layout for Rowi on your start screen, share it on My Tiles and share it with us. We’d love to see how you use Rowi on Windows Phone.
Note: Push notifications are only available in the paid version of Rowi (available on both Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7).
What do you think?
Even though this release was rushed a bit to make it in time before the old Twitter API was turned off (though that has been delayed again), we think this is a really great release for Rowi.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments and as always be sure to add and vote on suggestions for Rowi on User Voice.