The future of ModernDeck #357
June 2023 Update
Twitter has killed several APIs relied on by TweetDeck, rendering ModernDeck largely useless. This is the end of the road for ModernDeck. It's been fun!
Let's get this out of the way: After more than 8 years of development, development of new ModernDeck features is halted and Twitter will likely break your ability to use it in the near future. It's painful to have to put down something you've been developing on and off for the better part of a decade, but I cannot see any way forward for a variety of reasons that I'll get into. Many of these issues are shared with Better TweetDeck, and Better TweetDeck's demise was the last push I needed to clarify what the hell is going on. I cannot continue to put labor into a company that hates its developers and its users.
Originally called TweetDeck Enhancer, ModernDeck started as a way for me to improve the look and feel of TweetDeck, and eventually add new features to it. First starting as a mod for the now-dead TweetDeck for Mac, it quickly emerged as a browser extension, and eventually, a dedicated desktop app built with Electron.
TweetDeck as it stands now is missing tons of features found on Twitter's more contemporary clients. Some of these features can and have been grafted in, such as a GIF picker, but other features such as managing threads prove far too difficult to try to graft in. This means ModernDeck will always be missing features present in the Twitter Web App and mobile apps, even though being based off of TweetDeck means we have privileged access to the API compared to traditional 3rd party apps.
To alleviate the lack of any features or development on TweetDeck, Twitter has been selectively testing a new preview version of TweetDeck that contains a lot of these features. This new version shares code with the Twitter Web App, which means it shares its feature set as well.
It also inherits large performance problems, because while the web app usually runs well enough with just a single thing on the screen at a time, with TweetDeck you can have several, even dozens of columns, meaning performance can be abysmal on lower end systems and even struggle on high end systems. This lack of any care makes this experience often even worse than old TweetDeck.
Second, it is extremely difficult to extend TweetDeck Preview like the old TweetDeck could. And it being a complete rewrite means total incompatibility with any mods built for TweetDeck. This would require a rewrite of everything at best, and at worse be just totally infeasible. So the death of ModernDeck has been on the timetable for a while, but now that Twitter is pushing out TDP to more people, it's inevitable they will kill the old TweetDeck that ModernDeck relies on to operate.
It's been speculated for a while that TweetDeck could become a paid product, and recently some code found in Twitter suggests Twitter Blue may one day be required to use it. As a product built on top of TweetDeck, that means if Twitter does this it would basically nuke the prospects of anyone not paying for Twitter Blue using ModernDeck, even if TweetDeck Classic still exists by then.
Twitter kills 3rd party apps and their API
Twitter has killed 3rd party apps such as Tweetbot, revoking their tokens and suddenly changing the developer agreement to explicitly ban 3rd party apps from using Twitter's public API.
Twitter has announced that by February 9, the Twitter API will become a paid product, with no explanation as to why, nor any pricing information.
ModernDeck is built off of TweetDeck, so it circumvents such API restrictions by being built on top of an official Twitter app (TweetDeck). However, it's clear that Twitter today hates the very developers that put in the work to make their platform what it is.
And who knows, they might randomly change their ToS to ban any modifications to Twitter's apps, putting ModernDeck and its users at risk in such a scenario. Twitter is unpredictable in their announcements, so moving forward with anything is a total minefield.
Difficult to maintain CSS
I've lost interest
Developing ModernDeck isn't as fun as it used to be, and I don't really use Twitter anymore, especially in the time since the Elon Musk shenanigans. Taking a break from social media has been necessary for my mental health. So I'm sorry to those who have waited patiently for new features and other updates that really haven't come in the past year.
Thank you for using ModernDeck all these years
I hope you found ModernDeck useful. I might still release some limited bugfix updates depending on platform, but don't expect anything big from now on.
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Thank you for all your work and effort during these years, Moderndeck was my main tool in order to keep away the noise and keep my feed tolerable for my job. It's a shame that the tantrum of a billionaire is ending with what made twitter useful in the first place :( MANY BLESSINGS FOR YOU