Merry Christmas, Hahlo 4.1 is my gift to you

Wednesday, 23rd December 2009Short URL

I figured now was as good a time as any to push out the 4.1 update, even if I didn’t manage to get everything into it that I had originally hoped. The end of the year snuck up on me – I should have been paying more attention to that. I’ll add in the ‘missing’ features sometime in the new year. But, I hear you ask, what IS in Hahlo 4.1. Well…

Lists in Hahlo 4.1

Lists

You can check out the lists you’ve created, the lists you’re following and the lists that others tweeple have added you too. It’s totally awesome. You can also check out what lists other people follow/belong to from their profiles (more on that shortly). You can add people to your lists, and remove them should the need arise. The only thing(s) I haven’t added yet are the ability to create brand-spanking new lists or delete old lists from within Hahlo, for the moment you’ll have to do that on twitter.com.

Retweets in Hahlo 4.1

Retweets

Personally I love the new retweet system but I’ll save my long winded explanation/rant for another time and place. In 4.1 I’ve added support for the various retweet timelines that twitter has made available, these include “Retweeted to me” ie. things the people you follow have retweeted, “Retweeted by me” should be self explanatory, and my personal favourite “Retweets of me”. I like this because it gives me an indication about which crap I tweet that actually interests people. Twitter has a few small tweaks planned for the retweet api which should allow me make these timelines even better in the future.

But what about the act of retweeting itself, well that’s dead simple. Just tap on a tweet, and then tap the “RT” button that appears, you’ll be asked to confirm the retweet and then you’re done. Easy. Awesome.

New user profiles in Hahlo 4.1

User profiles/timelines

With some of the changes that have happened to the API since 4.0 was released I can now combine the profile and archive/user timeline into a single page, meaning its easier for you to get to a users details AND their tweets at the same time. All you need to do is tap on the ‘Show Profile’ link in the top right on a user timeline and the profile will slide out.

You can also get this profile on the friend and follower lists, as well as on the lists of subscribers/members for any list. Within this slide out profile you’ll also get a couple of options (as shown in the screenshot above) to follow/unfollow the specified user, or to add them to one of your lists, or to block them. I’ll probably add a “report as spam” function in there somewhere in the next update.

Geotag you tweets in Hahlo 4.1

Geotag your tweets

First up I should mention that for geotagging to work you will need to have enabled it in you settings on twitter.com – as far as I can see this isn’t an option that you can set/change via the api just yet.

Once you’ve done that you can also choose to set it so that Hahlo will automatically append you current location to your tweets by heading to the Hahlo settings page and turning on “always add geolocation” (this is off by default). If you choose not to turn this option on you can still add location on a tweet-by-tweet basis just by tapping the ‘add location’ link that is in the bottom right corner of the update box (you can also tap ‘remove location’ to do exactly that).

You might also notice that occasionally the location that is return is a bit wonky, unfortunately the Google Maps api (which I’m leveraging to get the ‘human readable’ location) doesn’t alwasy return the best results for the latitude/longitude combo that I pass to it. Because its actually the coordinates that are passed to twitter, and not this text version, things should be ok, but please let me know if any really weird shit happens… it probably will…

The tweet tray

Tweet actions – “The tweet tray”

One of the biggest UI changes in 4.1 is the ‘tweet tray’. This replace the two slide-in-from-the-side menus that were added in 4.0. The reason for this is that the old style didn’t allow for enough future expansion. Strangely this ‘tray’ style is something that I had in an early version of 4.0 before switching the the left and right slide in style. I think this new style works better.

To get to the tray all you need to do, just like before, is to tap anywhere on a tweet and it will appear below said tweet. Easy. Depending on which timeline you are viewing you’ll see a bunch of options. Using the above screenshot as reference I’ll quickly run though the ones you’ll see and what they do. Ok?

  • Speech bubble icon – takes you to the combined profile/timeline for the author of the tweet that you’ve selected.
  • @ icon – opens the ‘tweet’ box ready to send an @ reply (or mention) to the selected user
  • RT icon – to retweet the selected tweet, you’ll be asked to confirm that you want to retweet it to your followers (just like on twitter.com)
  • Star icon – add this tweet as a favorite
  • DM icon – open the ‘message’ box ready to send a direct message to the author of the selected tweet
  • Location icon – this one is only visible if the selected tweet has location info attached (and you’ve got it turned on). Tapping this takes you to a page which will shown you on a map where the tweet was sent from (see below).

Find users in Hahlo 4.1

Find users

A new search feature added in 4.1 is the ability to search for other twitter users. Whether you’re searching for someone to follow, someone you know, someone you’re already following or someone you’d like to block the new “find user” feature should be helpful. Might be a nicer way to find a specific follower, as opposed to trawling through pages of usernames in your follower lists.

Tweets with location data in Hahlo 4.1

Tweets with location data

Whenever you spot a tweet with a location attached you can checkout exactly where that tweet was sent from by tapping the location icon in the tweet tray (see above). You’ll get to see a nice google map of exactly where John Doe was when they tweet that they were walking their dog. Yeah… a little stalker-ish, but remember they chose (or at least should have) to add that data to their tweet.

Coming in 2010 to cinema near you…

Like I said there were a few things that didn’t quite make it in time for 4.1, but I’ll look at those in the new year. Heres a peak at whats in store.

  • Add/delete lists
  • Tweetmeme info for links in tweets
  • Tweetmeme popular links/topics etc
  • Location based trends (once api is available)
  • …and more (twitter keep adding new features so you never know what might be next)

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Who’s a pretty birdy

Thursday, 12th November 2009Short URL

Just like Hahlo 4.1 he’s not quite finished, but I thought I’d show him off anyway. I’ve managed to go two and half years without creating a bird mascot/icon for Hahlo, and I had one planned for the release of v4, but just couldn’t get it to a point where I was happy with it. Sure this doesn’t add any new functionality to Hahlo, but that isn’t the point.

While I’m also talking about 4.1 I should give you a quick list of what to expect.

  • Support for the new Retweet API, including each of the three retweet timelines (Retweeted to me, Retweeted by me and Retweets of me)
  • Support for the new ‘home’ timeline, same as current friends timeline but includes Retweets.
  • Support for the geolocation/geotagging api, which may or may not be live when 4.1 goes out.
  • Support for Lists – view your lists, the lists you are following the lists that are following you, add people to lists, create new lists, and more.
  • Tweetmeme support, better twitter trends (if new api is active in time) and much more…

If you’ve got a suggestion, or found a bug that needs to be squashed, now is the time to let me know so I can try and take care of it in 4.1

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Early 4.1 mockups with lists!

Sunday, 1st November 2009Short URL

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you should now be aware that Twitter has introduced lists, and most people seem to have access to them now. But, I hear you ask, when are they going to be available in Hahlo. Well, in 4.1 they will be, but there are a few other things that need to happen before then.

The plan (at the moment)

Right now the plan is for the 4.1 update to include support for lists, the new retweet api and a few other things (mainly thing I didn’t get a chance to add/complete for 4.0). However, the list api (or at least some of it) seems to be functional, but there is no documentation as yet so I haven’t started playing with it, the retweet api is documented but not active. Is it just me or do those situations seem a little backward?

So I can’t really play with the APIs to much so I’ve been mocking up how I think/want the lists pages to work when I get to them (keep reading for a few quick mockups I whipped up yesterday). In the process I’m also think about making a few changes to other sections of Hahlo, which I’ll go into a little more detail about later.

So, Lists.

Until I know exactly what info I can get out of the API all and any mockups are simply that, just mockups. So feel free to provide feedback if you’ve got any ideas on how you’d like to see lists work within Hahlo, I open to good suggestions.

These mockups show how a list might look when viewed within Hahlo, nothing overly exciting since a list is basically just a custom timeline.

Hahlo 4.1 Mockup - List Timeline

Hahlo 4.1 Mockup - List Timeline + List Info Hahlo 4.1 Mockup - User's lists

ReTweets

I will be replacing the current RT-prefixed retweet method when I switch to the ReTweet API when it becomes available. I see no point in maintaining two different methods for doing the same thing. Once I’m happy with my lists mockups I’ll probably start thinking about how retweets are going to integrate, so keep an eye out on here for some mockups.

Other changes

So far I’ve got two main changes that I’m seriously considering. Changes to the user profiles/archives and changes to the slide-in menu you get when you tap on a tweet.

First, the user profiles. At the moment each user basically has two pages, an archive (user timeline) and a profile. This was originally done because the full profile data wasn’t available in the user timeline api, but now it is, so I’m probably going to merge the archive and profile into one page (much like it already is on twitter.com anyway). Profile info will be hidden by default, and can be viewed by tapping the ‘view profile’ link in the top right. The following mockups show what I’m thinking. I’ll also be using this method of showing extra info on the list timelines as well.

Hahlo 4.1 Mockup - User Archive/Timline Hahlo 4.1 Mockup - User Archive/Timline + Profile

Secondly, the tweet ‘actions’ menus. These are the little slide in menus that you see when you tap of a tweet or avatar in your timeline. My current thinking is that I’ll merge the two into one menu that appears below a tweet on-tap, instead of one on the left and one on the right, this will allow for bigger, easier to tap buttons, and more buttons (without breaking the layout) should the need arise. When I’ve got a mockup I’m reasonably happy with I’ll post it up here for feedback.

When?

Well, I need the APIs and I need time. Until I’ve at least got the APIs you won’t be getting an ETA. So hold tight, just remember that with Hahlo you’ll all get the update automatically as soon as its ready, nothing extra to download, nothing extra to pay.

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Lists, ReTweets and GeoLocation

Sunday, 4th October 2009Short URL

Just prior to Hahlo4 launching Twitter announced that they would be adding a new ReTweet API, as well as the ability to geo tag tweets. And this week they’ve announced that they’ll be adding “lists”, a concept which other twitter apps have implemented, usually calling the feature ‘groups’. I had started adding something similar to Hahlo4 early on as an alternative to saved searches (which weren’t available via the API at the time).

You can read more about the coming ‘Lists’ feature over at the twitter blog. This is how they explained the concept:

The idea is to allow people to curate lists of Twitter accounts. For example, you could create a list of the funniest Twitter accounts of all time, athletes, local businesses, friends, or any compilation that makes sense.

So I guess you’re all wondering when do we get to play with these things using Hahlo4? Well.

Lists

As yet no details about how the Lists API will work have been released, so its hard to say exactly wheat I will/won’t be able to incorporate. However, if the recent enhancements to the Twitter API are anything to go by, theres a pretty good chance I should be able to provide the same functionality that they add to Twitter.com.

Personally I’m expecting that it will probably function in a similar way to the saved searches API. Until we’ve got official word as to how the Lists API will work we won’t know for sure, but I’m looking forward to it.

ReTweets

I’m not the biggest fan of retweets in general, always been a believer that if I was interested in what person X was saying then I would follow them myself. After all Twitter’s tag line is/was “what are you doing?” not “what is someone else doing?”. However some people just love them, and as a result it was probably the most requested ‘new’ feature that people wanted in Hahlo4.

Seems that witter themselves have realised that a lot of people love retweeting and they’re adding it to twitter.com and to the API. Details about the API and how it works have been released (and changed several times) but as yet they aren’t active. But once they are I’ll start adding them into Hahlo4.

GeoLocation

Right now Twitter search uses the location from your twitter profile as the location for your tweets, but Twitter is adding the ability to geo tag you’re tweets with your actual location. So, for example, you’ve got your location set as “Chicago, Illinois” but you’re actually tweeting from somewhere in the middle of Texas, well you’ll be able to tag that location onto you’re tweets.

It sounds like this will be an option that is off by default (I imagine there will be quite a lot of people who don’t want to share their specific location for all their tweets). Again, this addition to the API isn’t live yet but once it is I’ll start playing around with it.

What I need/want from you guys

If you’ve got any thoughts, preferences, suggestions as to how you might like to see these new features work within Hahlo4 then please lave a comment on this post.

More info on these new APIs can be found here:

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