Twitter rebuilds website for ‘write once, run everywhere’ philosophy


Twitter today began rolling out a new version of Twitter.com, rebuilt “from the ground up.” The company says the project, which impacts the front end and the back end, has been years in the making.

Twitter’s biggest redesign in nearly seven years is meant to be a clean slate that will help the team more quickly bring new features and functionality to the site. On the front end, that means a faster and more personalized experience. On the back end, that means serving the right experience based on the user and device.

Front end

The front end redesign brings Twitter’s Explore feature from its apps to the website. That translates to more content like live video and local moments personalized to your location, context with profile information within conversations, and Top Trends in any view.

Bookmarks, Lists, and Profile now have their own spots on the side navigation. Whether you have one profile or multiple, the site handles switching between accounts faster, also from the side navigation. You no longer have to login and logout.

Direct Messages have been expanded so you don’t have to switch between screens. You can now see your conversations and send messages from the same view.

Twitter for web -- dark mode

And finally, in addition to dark mode themes Dim and Lights Out, Twitter.com now has new themes and color options.

Back end

Twitter has rebuilt the back end to support a site that is “personalized, efficient, faster, and more conversational.” The Twitter web team says it needed to rebuild the back end from scratch because many of the problems stemmed from old architectural decisions.

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The backend rewrite had two goals:

  1. Make it easier and faster to develop new features for people worldwide.
  2. Provide each person and each device with the right experience.

The team unified the mobile and desktop architectures by leveraging responsive design beyond just screen size. Building separate desktop and mobile sites means lighter mobile code, sparing data plans. But it also means coding features multiple times and preventing mobile users from accessing full functionality. Twitter’s goal was thus one website that can deliver the best experience possible to each person — a “write once, run everywhere” philosophy.

Twitter.com now only downloads and runs code when it’s needed (on mobile, for example, it won’t download the home page’s sidebar, nor the settings pages until required). The full functionality of the site is still present. Furthermore, every new feature Twitter develops for the desktop web becomes available on all other clients: the Windows app, Twitter Lite, and the KaiOS app.

Twitter can now also cater each site component to each specific user. For example, data saver functionality can be offered to more than just mobile phones and keyboard shortcuts can work anytime a keyboard is detected.

“Today’s launch is just the beginning,” the team insists. Again, Twitter claims the revamp will let it ship new Twitter.com features and updates “faster than ever.” Maybe that finally means an edit button?





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