Tweetie & Letterpress Creator Will Let Anyone Use ‘Pull To Refresh’ Unless They Are A D*ck

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Loren Brichter is a legend amongst iOS developers. The 28 year old developer is the creator of Tweetie, which eventually became the official Twitter app. He’s the guy behind fan favorite word game Letterpress. He’s the creator of ‘Pull To Refresh’, cell swipe and slide-out panels that have become synonymous features in mobile app development. Yet few people who aren’t app and design junkies even know who he is.

That’s a shame, which is why it’s delightful to see the Wall Street Journal profile Brichter, a surprisingly young visionary who has done an incredible number of things for app design in just a few short years.

There’s a lot of details here I didn’t know, like the fact that Brichter helped with the design of Sparrow:

When Dominique Leca wanted feedback on his Sparrow mail mobile app in 2010, he sought out Mr. Brichter. Mr. Brichter responded to Mr. Leca with copious notes about the Sparrow app, including suggesting an adjustment to Sparrow’s text placement and advising Mr. Leca to “delay the fade-out animation by a second or so.” Mr. Leca says he followed much of the advice and asked Mr. Brichter to be an adviser; Sparrow later received much acclaim and was acquired by Google Inc. last year.

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit from the Journal piece, though, is the fact that Loren Brichter personally prevents Twitter from going after developers who use his ‘pull to refresh’ feature in their apps in offensive patent lawsuits:

Mr. Brichter filed to patent the “pull-to refresh” feature before joining Twitter, and the patent, expected to be issued soon, is now owned by Twitter. But he says there are ways to build this feature using open-source software, and he has long given anyone permission to use it “as long as they aren’t a d—.” Twitter lets the inventors of its patents veto using them in offensive lawsuits.

If you’ve ever used an app designed by Loren Brichter, or an app that owes its design to his heritage, you should check this out, it’s a fantastic read. And it’ll even tell you what Brichter’s favorite apps are (weather app Dark Sky and calendar app Fanatstical… I approve!)

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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