This article will demonstrate one way of posting photos to Twitter from an iPhone that allows us much more control than the usual ways, with a robust and reliable back-end provided by Yahoo’s legendary infrastructure. The key to the whole exercise is Darkslide, an iPhone Flickr client created by the man behind the brilliant FlickrExport.
Every day, I take a photo with my iPhone (The camera isn’t the best on a phone by a long shot, but it’s the camera I always have with me) and post that picture to Twitter. I started out doing this with what seemed like an ideal solution, twitpic, as it’s pretty much available in any iPhone client and as such has a few nice little features, like a picture icon appearing in twitpic posts in Tweetie, my Twitter client of choice.
However, and you’d guessed there would be a however as this article is about Darkslide, Twitpic has suffered from reliability issues and has, in some cases returned different pictures to the ones you upload. In fact, one picture tweeted by Stephen Fry has been known to take the service down. What would be better in this case would be a more robust image hosting service with a history, like Flickr. That’s where Darkslide comes in.
Darkslide is an iPhone application (available in both free-with-ads and paid ad-free versions) that plugs straight into the Flickr API. It’s got loads of decent features, like your contacts’ streams, photos near you, earches, etc., and does the job really well. So, before we go any further, log into your Flickr account in Safari on your iPhone, install Darkslide and set it up. If you plan to use a separate Flickr account for Darkslide, set it up and login on the iPhone before launching it. When you first launch Darkslide, it’ll ask you to approve it in Flickr. This is a simple step as long as you already logged into Flickr on your iPhone. Once this is done, it’s time to choose which Twitter client you want to use by going to More and selecting Settings. Twitterific, Tweetie and Twitterfon are supported as is the Twitter website using Safari. Once this is done, we can finally post a photo to Twitter.
First, take a photo using the camera. This can be done in Darkslide itself in the Upload section or using the iPhone’s Camera app. I prefer using Camera as Darkslide doesn’t let you look at the picture as well as the standard Photos app does. If you use one of those photo enhancement apps, I don’t, then you can do that at this point, before Darkslide gets its hands on it in. Launch Darkslide and select Upload at the bottom. This will give you the choice between taking a photo and using one we’ve already taken. Choose the picture using the Camera Roll as usual.
Edit the title and description here, and set the location to your current location if you’re near where you took the photo. If you’re not at the exact spot, it’s still a good idea to use the current location of you’re fairly close as when edit the map in Flickr later, it’s easier if you start off near the photo location instead of having to locate the area from scratch.
Once you’ve filled in everything you want, remembering you can always edit it later in Flickr itself, you upload the photo by clicking the share icon in the top right. This then uploads the picture, giving you a progress bar across the bottom.
Once the picture is uploaded, it gives you the option of opening it in Flickr or posting it to Twitter. If you want to make a few more changes here before posting it, click on Open Flickr and change what’s needed; you can always post to Twitter from the Darkslide My Photos library as I explain later.
Once you click on Post to Twitter, it launches your Twitter app of choice with a bit.ly link to your Flickr page. I presume that, once Flickr have their URL shortening system up and running, it’ll use that, but that’s a question you can ask @darkslideapp on Twitter, if you feel so inclined. Anyway, write some words here and click Send.
That’s it, you’ve now posted a Flickr photo instead of a Twitpic. You get all the advantages of Flickr, like the view count, the maps, your comments etc., and none of the flakiness of Twitpic.
If you want to post a photo that’s already in your Flickr stream, go to My Photos in Darkslide and touch the picture. These are the two view options: Rows and Thumbnails, selectable in the Settings, of course.
Selecting a picture brings up this screen.
Clicking the Share icon in the top right gives you the choice to Post to Twitter, and selecting that will open your Twitter client, as described above, ready to post your photo.
My one complaint about Darkslide, and it’s pretty trivial as you’ll see, is that it doesn’t open Flickr in the amazing Flickr Mobile by default, even though you’re 100% guaranteed to be on an iPhone. You need to go to Flickr and scroll to the bottom of the site and tell Flickr to always redirect by clicking on the link.
These are what the two different Flickr sites look like. Regular and Mobile:
This is what a contact’s page looks like in Darkslide:
All in all, Darkslide is pretty near perfect on the iPhone. Give it a go and tell me what you think. If all else fails, you can look at my crappy daily iPhone pictures, my less crappy pictures or follow me on Twitter.