In Praise of Wren
Over the past year, my daily workflow has increasingly included a number of apps that do one thing well. Writing apps that have no toolbars or buttons. Email tools that just do email. Browsers with almost no extensions. File sync and backup without having to think about it. Anything to reduce complexity in computing.
But can you take simplicity too far? Can you strip out too many features? That depends on what features you're removing. The best apps are designed by people who strip a tool down to its most essential elements and only focus on those.
Wren for Mac is that: a Twitter app designed for sending tweets, and just that. You might need to tweet for your job, perhaps posting to multiple Twitter accounts throughout the day. Or you might just want to share a link to the blog post you just wrote, or that witty thought you'll forget in 5 minutes. Whatever. The last thing you want to do is get distracted from your work. You need to post to Twitter, and get back to what you're doing.
If you open Twitter.com, or Twitter for Mac, or Tweetbot, or Tweetdeck, or any other standard Twitter app, you'll end up reading your Twitter stream or seeing what others have @replied you. Just sending that one tweet turned into a 20 minute internet buzzfest. That's why Wren was designed. Andrew Ramos and Kevin Smith designed it to do one thing well: send tweets. Not distract you, not help you waste time, just send tweets from any of your accounts. It can shorten URLs and auto-complete @names, and even shows you the last thing you tweeted so you won't repeat yourself. And you can save tweets you want to send later, for those ideas that are too good to tweet at 2AM when no one else will see them. Everything you need to make you great at sending tweets, and nothing else.
It's beautifully designed, and if you're using it on OS X Lion or newer, be sure to check out its unique Full Screen Mode implementation. For such a simple app, it's rather fun to look at. But actually, don't look at it too long. Because the whole reason its worth buying is to save you time. So you'll stay socially engaged, but quit being so distracted.
And that's enough reason to love it.
Thoughts? @reply me on Twitter.