Kasvopus: an alternative and fast developing Facebook client for Symbian

Posted on 03/23/2011

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Kasvo – face, opus – book, and put it together…

It is as simple as that. What this young beta application from developer Tommi Laukannen represents is the possibility of an excellent, lightweight and feature rich Facebook client to replace the immensely flawed Social app on the Symbian^3 devices. I would need an entire post to dissect the failings of the app so I’ll be brief. It is s-l-o-w to load anything, feed, walls, friends list, photos. Often times it is rather unresponsive, and as well as being limited in functions what is available is at times quite painful to use. For twitter there is the ever excellent Gravity client, which also dabbles with Facebook as well, expensive but well worth your hard earned cash. But for Facebook i have yet to find anything that I am satisfied with. There’s apps like snaptu and socially but i find these kludgy. Facebook is of course a very capable platform with the only thing missing being photo uploads, something the Social does really well i must say.

Enter Kasvopus, still in beta, now up to version 0.94 and updated twice already with new features. In it’s current state it is still very basic but covers enough of the important Facebook features to give a well rounded experience.

First the design. It looks like Facebook, not the most important thing I guess but it’s nice to arrive at a familiar looking destination. The top bar has the name place holder, a share status speech bubble and a simple X to exit the app. Below is the news feed laid in a not too dissimilar fashion to Facebook mobile. The Kasvopus name place is important in that when you tap on it, a drop down menu with additional links is revealed. It’s all very simple and wonderfully intuitive.

At this point Kasvopus supports viewing of and posting on friends wall, comments, likes, opening of links, viewing of events, photos and a basic read-only notifications system. Some of the features like the events and notifications are very basic. Events visible are only those that have been replied either on the PC or other avenues supporting this features. Likewise, notifications are read-only, and displayed on start up. Refreshing the feed at any stage does not bring up any new notifications. Copy and paste is also not supported at the moment.

Interacting with the feed of someone’s wall (of your own) is a pleasure, scrolling is smooth though photos do take some time to load. Tapping on an entry allows you to like and/or post a comment. You can also view other comments but but not who liked the post. You also cannot like other comments. If there’s a link in the post, an ‘open in browser’ button is present above the like and comment buttons. Handily, a back button is present in the bottom left corner to return to the previous screen. To go straight back to your news feed a ‘home’ icon is present in the bar next to the ‘share status’ speech bubble. To refresh the feed at any point tap on Kasvopus and hit the home button icon in the drop down menu. I do feel this button should be present outside of the drop down menu as it is a oft utilized functions. Other icon found in the menu are for your friends list, wall, photos and events. To view friends photos you have to go to an individuals wall where you can also of course right on and view their other posts. A persons wall is viewed either by viewing a post in your feed or through the friends list.

There’s a lot that can be improved in Kasvopus and the developer has made it clear that it’s beta, there are bugs, and features are being added as he evaluates each version. What’s great is that he canvasses the opinion of his user base and as such the pace of development is awesome. In the threw weeks since I started using the client, it has moved forward enough that I no longer need to use Nokia’s Social client. The hunt for a perfect Facebook client is almost over.

Download Kasvopus. Be warned that you also need to install Qt 4.7.2 and QtWebkit 4.7.2 before attempting to install Kasvopus.

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