cut.tc: Cutting the Chai’s Own Twitter Client and URL Shortener

cut.tc logoSize does matter, more so on Twitter. The 140-character limit to answer to the question, “What’s happening?” has given us popular URL shortening services such as bit.ly, tr.im, goo.gl and also Twitter’s own t.co (tinyurl.com was around a much before the world went atwitter). Now add to that list Cutting the Chai’s cut.tc.

A six-character long domain that also has some connect with its parent is hard to find, but I did find the one that I wanted (though I’d have liked a c.tc but that’s beyond my limited means). The “cut” in cut.tc stands for “cutting” and the “tc” following the dot represents “the chai” (technically the .tc domain extension is for the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the West Indies).

Two weeks ago, I announced cut.tc on Twitter.

Cutting the Chai’s own private URL-shortening service cut.tc is now active. Sample this http://cut.tc/ctc #vanitySat Aug 14 10:56:13 via Cutting the Chai

And over the last weekend raked my brains (and Google) to put together a browser-based Twitter client. Finally, here are Cutting the Chai’s latest offerings:

cut.tc: A browser-based Twitter client. It has a Twitter-like interface (so that people suddenly do not feel out of place). The client is actually Twitter on steroids with a host of features that are not available on Twitter’s web interface.

cut.tc: Cutting the Chai’s own URL shortenening service. Long URLS can be trimmed to shorter cut.tc versions while tweeting using the cut.tc Twitter client.

More about cut.tc the short URL

Since I am endowed with only limited coding abilities, I usually rely on the Open Source community and build upon what is available and tweaking it to meet my needs.

For cut.tc short URL service, I used YOURLS‘ set of php scripts developed by @GamerZ and @Ozh.

I have decided, for now, not to launch cut.tc as a standalone URL shortening service but is a part of the cut.tc Twitter client. This essentially means that while everyone can shorten their links to cut.tc URLs but they’ll not be able to do that outside of the client, nor will they be able to customise it (this is a feature that I’ve reserved for myself).

In case you desperately need a custom cut.tc URL, just drop me a line.

While the good guys at YOURLS suggested that I use base32, I opted for base64 encoding (the case-sensitive kind), lest cut.tc grows beyond my wildest expectations.

Why cut.tc? Because it’s new and since fewer people are likely to use it you’ll get shorter short URLs (yes, even shorter than the ones generated by t.co).

More about cut.tc the Twitter client

The cut.tc Twitter client is based on the Open Source project rabr maintained by @disinfeqt from Hangzhou, China. rabr is in turn derived from twitese, that was set up as a workaround to China’s blockade of Twitter.

This also meant that some of the content within the code was in Chinese and I had to, with a lot of help from Google Translate, replace them with their English equivalents.

There were a few bugs too, that needed a little fixing (some are still lurking around). The biggest drawback of the cut.tc Twitter client is that it isn’t Internet Explorer friendly and works best of Firefox or Chrome. Since I see cut.tc as more of a fun project, I don’t intend to even try to make it multi-browser compatible.

cut.tc screenshot

While the interface may look and feel a lot like that of Twitter’s it does a lot more. I’ll only spell out some, the rest I leave it for you to discover:

– URL shortening by cut.tc
– Tabbed interface for Updates, replies and direct messages
– Tweet shrinking
– Translation
– Expanded short URLs
– Inline display of images linked from in tweets
– Symbols and smileys
– Keyboard shortcuts speed up things

That’s not all. There’s even a cut.tc bookmarklet (see the link below)

You can drag and keep it your browser’s bookmark bar and share your stuff on Twitter from there (but it doesn’t shrink links, yet).

You may also be able to use cut.tc on networks that have blocked Twitter and on computers on which you do not have enough rights to install stuff (just a hunch) But then you have to login without OAuth. Some people also prefer a website-like interface over desktop clients or browser addons, cut.tc is also for them.

No, there isn’t a mobile phone version yet.

cut.tc is still a work in progress (I was tempted to add the word “beta”) and I am more of a jack of all trades, so don’t expect the world. This is meant to be fun, log in.

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