Hahlo 2 - the original just got better

Hahlo 2.0

Version 2 of Hahlo is now live! It has been in the works almost since the day that version 1 was released. The short timeframe that version 1 had ended up probably doing more harm than good, and while the basics worked well enough it had a few failings which unfortunately resulted in many people switching to other alternatives. Now with Hahlo 2.0 a lot more thought has gone into how things should work, and how they should fit together. On top of that there are also a huge pile of new features and enhancements which will hopefully bring those that had left back to Hahlo. Keep reading for full details about the additions and improvements that have been made in this all-new version.

The Interface

The basics of the interface should still be familiar to users of v1 despite that fact that pretty much everything has changed in some way. Lets start with the navigation. Gone is the unintuitive 'star' button which was used for updates, in its place is a nice, simple "Update" button. Give that a tap and up pops the familiar update box, the same as before.

Hahlo Toolbar

One of the biggest changes is the relocation of the menu/toolbar form the bottom of the screen to the top, and by default its hidden to keep screen real estate free. This was also done out of necessity since the mobile version of Safari doesn't support fixed positioning. Tap the 'Menu' button and the toolbar will appear, and you'll see a whole bunch of brightly coloured icons to navigate your way around. You'll also see the arrow, tap that to reveal more toolbar options. They have been split like this to make the buttons themselves larger and easier to use on the iPhone.

Hahlo Toolbar

On a number of the 'timelines' you will see a few little circular icons in the top right of each tweet. The star icon allows you to quickly, and easily save the tweet as a favourite. Just tap it and it will turn 'gold' once it has been saved. The message bubble with the 'M' in it is for Direct Messaging that particular user, give it a tap and the direct message box will appear with the recipients name already filled in. The third button is the highly requested reply button, tap that and the update box will appear with the @username already filled in and ready for your reply.

Hahlo Tweets

From any screen you can easily tap on a users profile picture and you will be taken to that users individual timeline. Coming soon you will also be able to follow and unfollow other twitterers directly from Hahlo.

What can I do with Hahlo?

First thing that you will probably notice when you log in to Hahlo is that there are a lot more options. You can now do just about everything that is available from the twitter website all from Hahlo, and there are still more features in the wings. Lets have a look at what you can do.

  • "My Timeline" - this is your timeline of tweets
  • "My Friends Timeline" - this displays the most recent 20 tweets from you and your friends, at the bottom there is a button to show 20 more tweets, tap it and the next 20 load directly onto the bottom of list. You can view upto the last 200 tweets in your friends timeline.
  • "Friends I'm Following" - a list of all the friends who updates you are following, with easy links to DM or reply to any of them. There is also a 'grid view' button in the top right that will take you to a screen displaying all your friends avatars, just tap their picture and you'll be taken to their timeline.
  • "Who is Following me" - a list, 20 at a time, of the people who are following your updates, along with links to send a reply and view their timelines. Again there is the 'grid view' option.
  • "Replies to my Tweets" - simply view a list of all the @ replies that have been sent to you
  • "Direct Messages" - this is a list of all the direct messages that you have received. At the top you'll notice three buttons, the 'outbox' button will take you to a list of all the messages that you have sent, and the last button will open the 'send message' box for you to direct message one of your friends.
  • "My Favourite Tweets" - a list of all the tweets that you have marked as favourites, great for saving funny, informative, or useful tweets.
  • "Public Timeline" - pretty self-explanatory, its the public twitter timeline

As already mentioned you can easily update your twitter status by tapping the 'update' button at the top of the screen no matter where in Hahlo you are. Replying to tweets has never been easier, just use the @ button that appears on many of the screens. The same goes for sending a direct message, just tap the 'M' button as mentioned above.

Optimised for your convenience

Since I wrote an article recently comparing the relative load sizes of some of Hahlo's competitors its only fair that I try my best to optimise Hahlo to the best of my ability. All images have been optimised to provide minimal file sizes, my css is now gzipped which reduces the load size greatly, and the javascript is now packed and gzipped further reducing load.
With regards to the CSS there is still more room for further optimisation in the future.

When you first login to Hahlo the inital page load is just 60kb, almost half that of v1, and a full load of the public timeline is just 100kb, but approx. 40% of this is user profile image which are beyond my control.

Its also worth noting that now that the full interface is AJAX many things such as icons and the UI images only ever need to be loaded once, after that pretty much all that you are loading is the content of the page in questions, this helps to reduce load times across the board.

Ask and you shall receive

In the past couple of months I have had many requests from users, and I have tried where possible to include their requests. Two of the most requested features were @ replies and clickable links. As already mentioned sending an @ reply is dead easy, and you will now notice that whenever an @username appears in a tweet it is linked directly to that users timeline. You will also notice that any link that is in a tweet will be linked up automatically, something that was request by numerous users.

Hahlo Replies

When I opened the beta version of 2.0 up for testing the first request I got was for an easy way to bookmark the friends timeline. Within about 20 minutes I had that sorted, along with a bunch of other 'pretty' links that you can use.

The Future

Yes there are still more features that I hope to add to Hahlo in the future. The first on that list will be adding the functionality to allow you to follow and unfollow fellow twitterers quickly and easily. If you have a request for something that you would like to see Hahlo do, I'd love to hear it, just leave a comment or contact me at dean@hahlo.com.