Current delivers the best way to use Facebook on the Mac

By

Facebook apps for the Mac have come and gone over the years, but none have managed to capture much attention. A new contender has the goods to stick around.

After working at Apple as an engineer on WebKit and iAd, Scott Kyle decided to get into indie app development. His first stab at it is Current, a new Facebook app for OS X that lives primarily in the menubar. With quality design, notifications, a classic chat interface, and some other tricks up its sleeve, Current makes Facebook feel at home on the Mac.

Current is designed around managing your Facebook messages and notifications, not news feed browsing (although it can be easily used for the latter). The menubar interface consists of a list of your friends to chat with, your messages inbox, and recent notifications.

I’ve been using the app for the last couple of weeks, and it has earned a permanent spot in my menubar. I find Current most useful for seeing incoming notifications via Notification Center and managing individual message threads. Kyle built a custom JavaScript interface for chat windows that harkens back to Adium and other classic AIM clients.

“I was constantly bothered by the limitations of using Facebook in a web browser, and I knew I could improve upon that”

“I decided to build it [Current] because I was constantly bothered by the limitations of using Facebook in a web browser, and I knew I could improve upon that,” explained Kyle to Cult of Mac. “It was quite a challenge because I needed to acquire a deep understanding of how the Facebook website worked, and how I could extend it to do things like opening chat conversations in their own windows. I had to create lots additional functionality on top of a regular web browser to support projecting content into many different kinds of windows.”

Some of those custom windows include native pop-up windows for photo browsing and video playback. After trying Current, it’s clear that the app is meant to make Facebook a true desktop experience. Clicking notifications takes you to either a dedicated window, or an in-app web view of Facebook.com. Kyle contemplated hiding ads in the News Feed, but understandably didn’t want to “risk Facebook’s wrath.”

At only $1.99 in the Mac App Store, Current is an easy impulse buy. If you’re a Facebook user who spends a lot of time on the Mac, check it out.

Update: Corrected that web chat interface is built on JavaScript, not Java.

.

Deals of the Day

  • Jake Jacobs

    Is it Retina ready?

    • It works great on retina screens. I created the app on a MacBook Pro Retina. :)

  • RyanTV

    I’m not really a fan of the multi-window design. I prefer MenuTab

  • Allyn

    DOesnt work on Yosemite – at least for me — keeps crashing when I try to launch it.

    • I’m really sorry you’re experiencing this crash. I’ve had three users so far experiencing the same crash, and they all have iMacs with Core 2 Duo processors (iMac7,1). I’m working on getting that fixed for the next update. If you have a different Mac, I’d really appreciate hearing from you. You can send an email to support@currentformac.com or tweet me, and I’ll get back to you within a day or so.

      • Windlasher

        I’m using it on Yosemite ok. Seems to have a few memory glitches such as, scrolling is a bit glichy…

  • MBP 7.1, Yosemite. Works smoothly without any crashes. And somehow I experience the app working faster than facebook in the browser. Good work Scott!