Interview with heismauri: The Developer behind DTwitter and DTikTok

Interview with heismauri: The Developer behind DTwitter and DTikTok

Welcome to this exciting interview! Today, we have the honor of introducing you to heismauri, a prominent developer who has greatly impacted the Apple device user community. heismauri has earned a well-deserved reputation for their contribution to the world of Apple shortcuts, especially for creating the popular DTwitter and DTikTok shortcuts, which have garnered a large following and are published on RoutineHub, the leading platform for sharing shortcuts and automations.

But heismauri is more than a talented developer. In addition to their achievements in Apple shortcuts, they are an active and respected member of the RoutineHub community. Their passion for technology and ability to create innovative solutions have made them a prominent figure in the iOS device automation world.

In this interview, we delve into the creative mind behind these popular shortcuts, uncover the secrets behind their success, and learn more about the inspiration and development process that drive heismauri. Whether you're an Apple shortcuts enthusiast or want to learn more about the creativity and community surrounding them, this interview is for you! Let me introduce you to heismauri without further ado and immerse ourselves in the fascinating world of Apple shortcuts.

We are delighted you have accepted to participate in this interview. It's a great honor to have this conversation with you today. These are some of the highlights of our conversation.

To start, please introduce yourself and tell us about your experience in Apple shortcuts development.

When I was a teenager, I discovered the Workflow app, which was what "Shortcuts" was called before it was acquired by Apple, and it excited me a lot. I saw YouTubers talking about it, but it was a paid app, so I asked my dad for his credit card to buy it. I started exploring the possibilities of Workflow and joined a community on Reddit where people shared their creations. My first shortcut was basic, but I got hooked. At that time, I was still in high school, so it was my first experience with development.

I got more involved in the community and realized the potential of shortcuts. I was an active Twitter user and often wanted to download GIFs but couldn't find a suitable tool. I discovered that MediaMutt shortcut by @supermamon  and another shortcut for creating GIFs from videos existed, which I used as a basis to bring a new project to life. I learned a lot about Cloudflare and Workflow in the process. This required extensive research because I was new to programming and had no formal education.

I continued experimenting and created the first version of DTwitter, which was slow and prone to errors. Over time, with the help of the community, I improved significantly. I learned about programming concepts, version control, and testing. The development of DTwitter became a significant part of my life. It motivated me to pursue a development career despite my English education background. I now work as a developer at a Chilean company, thanks to the support and success of my project.

My most popular shortcuts include DTwitter and DTikTok. I believe in keeping everything free, and while I appreciate donations for maintenance and domain expenses, I'm not looking to get rich. My attachment to the project drives me to continue working on it with much love.

Well, there's DTwitter and DTikTok, which also became very popular. It's great to see on forums that someone shares my shortcut and puts the link to RoutineHub and where to download it. Seeing people share what you've created is a super rewarding feeling.

In fact, I see the Blog, and then I see a bunch of people on the internet, even bloggers, writing posts where they practically teach you how to use DTwitter or DTikTok. I can't imagine being in your shoes, knowing that you created all that and caused all that excitement.

I'm really happy because it's very gratifying for me. It really is very gratifying.

I understand that, initially, DTwitter was for your exclusive use. Is there anything else that inspired you?

I wanted to download GIFs, but it was always complicated. I had to convert them into videos, and that was a hassle. But I knew I could make it easier.

So, I thought, "What if I combine these two things and make them into one?" It worked well for me, and I saw that many people also wanted it.

At first, as I mentioned earlier, I used it just for myself, but then I decided to share it. I named it "DTwitter," as in "DownloadTwitter," and that's how it was born. Later, I made two more: "DTikTok" and "Dimgur," but they're not as well-known as DTwitter was back then.

What challenges do you face? In creating your shortcuts and how do you overcome them, what's the most difficult challenge to overcome?

My challenge was learning to say "no" and clearly envision what I wanted to achieve. Although I'm open to suggestions, I only implement changes if they fit well and keep the original structure of the shortcut the same.
I remember once someone got upset because they wanted to send many Twitter links and download them all at once. But that didn't fit with what the shortcut should do. I explained that they could only send links one by one.

Lately, I have little time to work on the shortcut due to my focus on my job. However, in the future, I plan to research the community's needs and see what new features interest them. For now, my main thing is to maintain what I've already created.
I get many requests, for example, from people who want me to make specific functions, but as you said, it's a bit outlandish,

Sometimes, requests are so specific that they are only useful for a particular person. When this happens, I usually create a customized version for that person. However, I warn them that this version will be exclusive to them and won't receive updates or maintenance.

How long did it take you to create DTwitter? What was the process like?

Before, when I had more free time, I used to dedicate at least 2 or 3 hours a day to the project, especially when I was starting. However, now I only need a little time because the project largely maintains itself, and I can identify errors and make updates more efficiently. Still, I need to invest more time when significant changes occur on platforms like Twitter or when I add services like a domain or Cloudflare. However, it's hard to define precisely how much.

Setting up all the infrastructure required for the project took time because I had to learn how to use various tools and services from scratch.

It's good that you bring up that topic because I would also like to ask you for advice for others. What skills and knowledge do you think are needed to develop Apple shortcuts?

Indeed, patience is an essential skill in this process because you encounter situations where you have to learn from scratch. Sometimes, when you have an idea, two things can happen: your idea may be feasible but very difficult to implement, or unfortunately, it can't be done due to the current limitations of Shortcuts.

Regarding the question, research is a crucial skill for a developer. It's always important to ask questions and seek answers from different sources. As a developer, you must have constant motivation to find solutions and continuously improve what you've created. Sometimes, you may feel that your project isn't as impressive as others, but it's important to remember that each person has their own style and approach to what they do.

The essential thing is that your project works and it doesn't matter if the initial version seems rudimentary. Over time, and with feedback from the community, you can enhance and refine your project.

You mentioned changes, like how they are affecting you with these Twitter changes now X, and how do you think you could handle them?

Honestly, a few versions ago, I considered giving up the project if it failed again. However, over time, I've become so attached to it that it's hard for me to set it aside. Lately, I've sacrificed social events and activities with friends to stay at home and solve the project's challenges, looking for a way to connect to Twitter more efficiently and meet the community's needs.

What will all these changes affect? Is DTwitter no longer going to work or what's going to happen?

Well, all the current changes are already published in production. However, this often happens with Twitter: they constantly change their rules or shut down certain functions. One of the most significant changes that affected us was when Twitter turned its API into a paid service. Before, I used a free endpoint that worked perfectly until Twitter decided to make it pay.

At that moment, I needed to find a way to continue connecting to Twitter for free, rather than paying for the service. Although some people offered to donate money to cover those expenses, I decided it wasn't right. I wanted to invest less money in something that could still be done for free. For now, I've found other ways to connect to Twitter through external sources, which has allowed us to bypass the new restrictions that Twitter constantly implements.

Yes, now I'd like to ask you about the RoutineHub Community. What do you think has been the role of the RoutineHub community in developing and creating your shortcuts?

Their most important role has been making DTwitter popular. The truth is that this is something that can be overlooked. Had he not had a place on RoutineHub to share it, no community would have known of DTwitter's existence.

RoutineHub has been essential for distribution and connecting with people who want to download the shortcut. Thanks to this platform, I've told others, "Hey, this exists, and I'm releasing new versions that you can find here."

Okay, and have you had opportunities to collaborate with other developers in the RoutineHub community on similar projects?

I've helped other developers, but I haven't had the opportunity to collaborate with someone in the community. However, I would like to collaborate with someone on a project in the future; it would be pretty fun.

Within the community, there have been members who have provided valuable support. For example, @FifiTheBulldog took the DTwitter script and the shortcut and showed me how to simplify the process. His optimization was very helpful and contributed significantly to a more stable and robust version despite Twitter's numerous changes to its platform.

I also want to mention @nyuszika7h, who has also been of great help in improving the DTwitter script, and @supermamon, who provided the foundation for developing DTwitter. I'm very grateful to them, and they are included in the credits of my shortcut.

Okay, what would you like to see improved or implemented in the RoutineHub community?

I'm satisfied with how it currently works. However, some features that used to be present in the past could be added, including a section highlighting the most popular shortcuts, like weekly trends or featured ones. This could help showcase what's trending in the community and provide users with a clearer way to discover relevant content.

On the RoutineHub homepage, we currently see sections that show the latest updates and what's new, but I think we could go further. Sections like "What's Trending" or "Editor's Picks" could be added, or even combine these ideas into a single section. It could also be useful to have a blog-like section that focuses exclusively on shortcuts, allowing even those that aren't extremely popular but have great value and appeal to be highlighted.

In summary, it could be improved by emphasizing shortcuts that deserve attention, not just popular ones, enriching the community experience.

To encourage the community to develop or for more people to discover shortcuts, or do you think both?

The truth is that featuring shortcuts on the homepage would be a great addition. If users see that their shortcut is trending for the week, this could be very rewarding and encourage more people to contribute to the community. From personal experience, when there was a featured section in the past, it was incredible to see my work there. I'm sure other developers would feel the same.

Consider highlighting "Shortcuts of the Month" or "Can't-Miss Shortcuts." This would give visibility to works that, although not popular, are relevant and appealing. It would also be an excellent way to support new developers joining the community who have done notable work despite having a small audience.

It's essential not only to enhance the website but also to highlight the Discord community. In the RoutineHub index, we currently see sections for "New Shortcuts" and "Updated Shortcuts," but there's a missing section that highlights those shortcuts that are genuinely interesting and valuable. This could increase traffic to the shortcuts and improve the overall community experience.

And, for example, moving away from the topic of the community a bit, what resources, tools, or sources of information would you recommend to those who want to learn more about Apple shortcuts development?

The truth is, if you don't have many resources, a good option is to look for tutorials on YouTube. There's a guide I found once in the form of a playlist that explains everything about how to use shortcuts and how they work. I think it could be very useful to start from there and learn from what others are doing.

You can see how other developers create their shortcuts and then adapt those ideas to your own projects. You can also look for existing shortcuts and try to improve them instead of starting from scratch. It's unnecessary to reinvent the wheel; sometimes, you just need to make it work better.

Yes, for example, taking the idea from another shortcut as a base and improving it. Sometimes, there are two separate ideas, but maybe combining both ideas would be better.

So, that's how DTwitter was born. At that moment, I realized that there was a Twitter downloader and a GIF creator separately, and I thought it would be great to combine them into one shortcut. Sometimes, there are separate shortcuts that could be much more efficient if they were merged into one instead of having two different options.

Exactly, do you think it's better to try and practice?

I think the best approach is practice and not being afraid to ask. The community is very open and willing to help. There's always someone ready to answer questions. So, take advantage of the community.

In other communities, they're not always as friendly, but in ours, everyone is friendly and willing to help solve problems, even if the answer is that something can't be done. You'll learn through trial and error, but when you get stuck, you can turn to the community.

What advice would you give to new users who want to make the most of the shortcuts you've created?

I would tell them not to be afraid to voice their opinions if they don't like something or if something isn't working correctly. Sometimes, things fail, but no one reports it, and I don't have a crystal ball to know when something is failing. So, I would encourage users of my shortcut to be active and report any issues so I can fix them quickly.

Lastly, what advice would you give to new developers in the RoutineHub community?

I would tell them not to be afraid to publish their creations. Their shortcuts might be in an early stage and do only one simple thing, but they shouldn't hesitate to share them. Don't get stuck without sharing what you've created just because it seems simple. Share your creations, and then you can improve them based on community feedback.

And that's it for the interview. Thank you very much for your time! I'm sure your words will be a source of inspiration for many new developers.

If you want to know more about this developer and his shortcut updates, follow him on Twitter (X) or Github.