Back atom.xml blog Identi.ca is dead to me 23 Dec 2011 opinion identica microblogging twitter

There was a time when I was a big fan and user of open source microblogging site Identi.ca. I regret to inform you that this time has passed and I can no longer in good conscience support the platform.

Identi.ca has always had issues, to be expected of an open source web property, there are bound to some rough edges running around. Things took a turn for the worse when the team decided to perform a major upgrade which took the site offline for an entire weekend. The major upgrade in mid-September introduced a number of issues:

• Entirely new UI which improved things in some areas (more AJAX) but introduced whole new UX flows, heavily padded rounded UI elements and new hiding places for elements (Groups) that I used to use heavily (why the christ would you put the Groups that I admin behind three clicks and not have them in the stupid sidebar? Idiocy).
• Took the XMPP bot offline for interacting with Identi.ca. This was often the only way I interacted with the site!
• Data integrity issues
• A number of stability issues and bugs

I would go on, but my mouth is already foaming at an unhealthy rate so I better stop before I get kicked out of this coffee shop.

Anyways, it is of my opinion that the folks behind made a classic blunder: the major re-write (joining Netscape 5, Perl 6, Python 3, and numerous other over-promising projects that falter in the “real world”). Eschewing the evolutionary approach to a project means large changes in data structure or user experience can and will be made before anybody has seen them operate with “real world” data and users.

I’m not sure where this leaves me with regards to using Identi.ca, I want to like the site so badly but every tiem I’ve tried to use it in the past three months I end up terribly frustrated.

Extra bonus rant: If you ever try to use the mobile site, you’ll have a taste of how silly Identi.ca can be sometimes. If the site doesn’t detect that your browser is mobile (which happens on every device for me), then you have to load the full non-mobile home page, at the bottom of which is a “Switch to mobile desktop layout” link. The link doesn’t have an href, it uses fucking JavaScript, clicking this link will reload the page with a special mobile cookie set. There is no m.identi.ca site at all.

To use Identi.ca from a mobile browser: your browser must run JavaScripts, you must load the full non-mobile document, click that link, set the cookie then hope that your browser keeps that cookie around forever.

Uh oh, my mouth is foaming up again, better stop here.