It’s Time to Free the Twitter Client

infocard_114x80Dave Winer wants a programmable Twitter client. I think it’s a great idea.  It’s something the browser has had for quite awhile now via extensions, frameworks, and plugins.  Up until this point Twitter clients have been closed systems that can’t really be extended in any way.  Loic Lemeur thinks he has the answer with the ability to extend his company’s Seesmic Desktop client – I applaud them for this – it’s something that I think would allow apps like my SocialToo.com to help clean up the stream both in and out of Twitter.  In this way the Twitter client isn’t stuck with exclusive relationships where partners have to pay large sums of money to participate.  Developers and users have full control over the experience they get from the client.  I have a recommendation for Loic, Iain, and other social browser developers though: extend your browsers using open standards if you’re going to do it.

Up to this point we’ve been talking server-based open architectures.  You have OpenID, OAuth, Wave, rssCloud, Pubsub Hubbub, heck, you even have HTTP, SMTP, and even TCP/IP.  But up until now there haven’t been many client-based architectures that extend across any client enabling developers to easily write code for any web client on the client side and have that port from the AIR client to another AIR client, to the browser, and to any other app that touches the web.  Fortunately that technology is here now, and I think the Twitter and Facebook client developers have the opportunity to push this stuff mainstream and put pressure on the generic web browser developers to do the same with their own extension architectures.  That technology is the Selector – Action cards.

Craig Burton said the Cookie is dead, and this is why:  Cookies can’t extend across multiple applications on a single computer.  The Selector has that potential.  Imagine a plugin architecture that read an Information Card to identify you on Twitter or Facebook, etc.  You could add to it an Action card from a site like SocialToo (my site), and based on that Action card and the settings set forth in the Action card by the user the entire Seesmic Desktop experience will be customized based on the settings SocialToo set for that user based on their preferences.  The cool thing about this is it can all be done in simple (and open) Javascript using frameworks like Kynetx’ KRL.

If I were Loic Lemeur I would seriously be studying the open standard of Information cards and especially Action cards right now.  He has the opportunity to follow an open standard in this plugin development architecture that would extend across his app into other apps and even the browser.  This is Seesmic’s opportunity to lead in this effort.  If not other clients will take the ball by embracing these standards – developers will flock to this if it’s done right.

My hope is that Seesmic and any other Twitter or Facebook client can do these plugin architectures the right way.  Information cards and Action cards right now are the most open and extensive way for any desktop (or even mobile) client to put control back in the developers’, and more importantly, the users’ hands.  I hope they do the right thing.

I commented on Loic’s blog post but did not receive a response – hopefully we can hear more about their plans for this new architecture soon, and let’s hope it’s built on open standards.  If you write the first Twitter client to support Information cards or Action cards let me know and you’ll get a big fat blog post here promoting the heck out of it.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s the future of the web and we need to be pushing it as much as possible.  I’m calling all client developers to action.

Be sure to read my article on my vision for no log in buttons here – it will help you understand this stuff, and more of my vision, even further.

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