Netbot - the App.net Saviour?

On the latest episode of The Talk Show, host John Gruber commented with regard to App.net and the release of Netbot:

“It’s been a great little science experiment since Netbot came out about the importance of apps versus web clients”

Gruber, and his guest Brent Simmons, said a lot of sensible things in this discussion, but the implication here is that App.net was treading water prior to the release of Netbot because there were no native clients.

Many App.net users will be well aware that Netbot was not the first native iOS client to be unleashed. There were numerous native clients for iOS available prior to this (I personally used AppApp, Felix, Rhino and Rivr) so the native client requisite for success was already satisfied. The real reason why App.net usage took off after the release of Netbot was more likely due to a large volume of subscribers (existing and potential) who were too timid to truly embrace the platform until a big-name client was launched.

I’m glad that the release of Netbot for iOS gave a much needed boost to the App.net population and I hope we see a similar boost when Netbot for Mac is released. I’d also like to see some acknowledgement given to the original native clients who put in the hard yards in the early days. After all it was they who helped cultivate the existing population that made it viable for a bigger developer like Tapbots to invest in the platform.