Phanpy is good software for reading Mastodon or other Fediverse posts. Astonishingly it’s an open source passion project from a single developer, Chee Aun. Its quality is extraordinary, better than most commercial social media software.

There’s so many good things about Phanpy that it’s hard to know where to start. It has several innovations for reading social media. My favorite is the Boost Carousel, a way to collapse the ordinary spammy boosts / retweets so they don’t overwhelm original posts. There’s also the catch-up UI, a novel approach to the problem of helping you read the last 12+ hours of posts quickly.

Mostly I like Phanpy because it’s just very high quality. All the little things work so well, like the post UI and the image display and the notifications. The account switcher is great too. So many software products are full of rough edges and bugs and annoyances. Phanpy is immaculate.

It’s easy to get started. Phanpy runs as a PWA so there’s not even really an install, you just visit the website, approve the login from your main Mastodon host, and you’re up and running. I use it that way in my browser on desktop but have it installed as a formal PWA on my phone. Works great, including notifications.

Honestly surprised a product of this quality is an open source project. AFAICT Chee Aun has worked full time on it for at least a year and he is very good at what he does. He has a modest request for sponsors but I hope somehow his work ends up paying him very well or compensates him in some other way.

  2024-05-30 17:49 Z