In a blog post today, Twitter announced the rollout of a new version of the Twitter.com website that revamps the Web interface to bring it more in line with the design and functionality of the mobile client application. The redesign is focused on unifying Twitter’s code base across platforms and simplifying the deployment of new features.
— Twitter (@Twitter) July 15, 2019
Built on a new back end that allows for modular delivery of features and code, the new site unifies the mobile and desktop experience for Web users—while carrying over the customizations that are available to mobile app users.
Tabs and a side navigation bar now provide easy access to bookmarks, lists, and the user’s profile. The side navigation also allows for users to switch accounts more easily. And direct messages are now shown in the same way as in the mobile client—with all direct messages accessible from the same screen, navigable by conversation, rather than in a sub-window off the main page.
“Our goal was to create one codebase—one website—capable of delivering the best experience possible to each person,” Twitter software engineers Charlie Croom and Gregory Baker explained in a Twitter Engineering blog post. “We also felt it was the right moment to do something different: to set both our developers and our users up for Twitter’s future.”
From a back-end perspective, the new website only sends down the code components in use at any time to the Web client—so a phone user would not see the sidebar visible on the desktop site until they tried to access its functionality, reducing the code’s footprint on the device.
As a result of the modular approach, Croom and Baker said, “we can now cater each component (or piece of the site) to each specific user.” That includes tailoring the Web experience to reduce the amount of data required to deal with metered or slow Internet connections as well as deployment of code for user interface elements such as keyboard shortcuts.
“Keyboard shortcuts will rarely be helpful for a touch-screen mobile user,” Croom and Baker noted, “but for a tablet user with a keyboard, they could be just as handy as on a full-size desktop. So we enable these shortcuts whenever we detect a keyboard.”
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