twhirl 0.8.2 released


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Are you already waiting for a new release of twhirl? Well here it is! We took our time to make Friendfeed a lot more usable and add a few very nice features, including rooms support for Friendfeed, auto-throtteling for reduced Twitter API limits, hiding old Twitter messages from previous sessions, system status notifications and much more. And, finally, summize.com search!

It’s been just over a month ago that we released a new version of twhirl. It included many bug fixes and some UI changes to allow better navigation. That’s where we picked up and went on improving twhirl. Especially if you are using our Friendfeed integration, you’ll see a new rendering for entries that is much cleaner and allows you to fully stay within twhirl to read all available information. Changes for Twitter are more “under the hood”, but very effective, as twhirl can now automatically adapt to reduced API limit restrictions. You can also make it hide “old” messages now that you’ve already received in a previous session, so no more “new messages” from months ago!

The new Friendfeed support

When we looked at how Friendfeed feeds were displayed in twhirl in previous versions, we saw a lot of room for improvements. So we settled down, made up our minds, and came up with a fully renewed rendering of feed entries. twhirl now displays the user’s avatar, his name, and the date when the item was originally posted at the top, and includes all other information below. Comments are now scrollable inline if they extend a certain height, just click on the comment area to make the scroll bar appear. The icons for comments and likes now work as buttons to add your own comment or show that you like an entry. Easy, nice, clean.

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We have also tried very hard to avoid killing the comment text you are writing when the list refreshes with new data. This should work really stable now, so you won’t loose your text anymore. One side-effect of this is that updates are now disabled while you are entering text (the comment input has the focus, to say it technically), and you can only have one comment box at a time.

And we also added Rooms support for Friendfeed. If an entry has been posted to a room, you’ll see it linked in the meta information for the post, below the username. And the new rooms panel allows you to access all your rooms easily. Simply select them from the pre-poulated drop down list, or enter a room name directly. And to share something in a room, simply go to the rooms panel, put the room’s name into the input field, and send your post.

Auto-refreshing the public timeline is now optional. It seems that many users don’t use it that much, and as it costs memory and performance, it’s now disabled by default. If you’d like to have it on, simply select it in options.

Auto-throtteling Twitter API usage

Being a developer using the Twitter API can be hard these days. We are closely following the status of the service, and it is our goal to help them keep the service up and running, as well as providing our users the best possible experience. That’s not always easy, or even possible, for sure.

We have seen Twitter lowering their API limit, which is usually at 70 requests in 60 minutes, quite often in the past, and we tried to inform you about this as good as we could. But wouldn’t it be nice if twhirl could automatically adapt its API usage strategy to a reduced limit? Well, now it can! If you have the option “follow reduced API limits” enabled (it is by default), twhirl will not use more than 80% of the currently allowed requests for automatic refreshing. As twhirl is polling the rate limit status in certain intervals, there might be a period when it actually uses too many requests, but this should not last longer than 60 minutes.

Status information, to the desktop

About 2.000 users follow the twhirl account on twitter, and we posted important information about the system status there as fast as possible. But even though a lot of people immediately retweet our posts, this does not reach all twhirl users by far. That’s why we created the twhirl status feed, and we poll it regularly from twhirl to see if any new message is available. It’s displayed below your windows, and when you click it away, it will never show up again. You’ll have to wait for the next message to see that little yellow window again.

If you click on the message text, you’ll be redirected to a web browser and can see the complete feed. It’s powered by the cool folks at tumblr!

No more old new messages

One of the most requested features was to remove those old replies or direct messages pop up as “new” everytime you start twhirl. That’s a thing of the past now! twhirl now remembers what it has already received in a previous session, and will not show these tweets or messages again the next time you start it. Of course, there’s also an option to disable this, in case you don’t like it!

Search using summize.com

You asked for it, here it is: you can now use summize.com to search twitter. Just go to the search panel, select summize from the drop down list, and enter your query. twhirl will even remember your selection.

… and much more!

As always, we have fixed a lot of bugs, added small enhancements here and there, and just made twhirl better for you. For example, the rendering of list items has been enhanced, no more rounded corners, more whitespace. And there’s a beautiful new color scheme called “Orange Gray”. You can see it in the screen shots in this post, and you should try it out!

Wait… what about XMPP?

Yes, good point. While we already have a working XMPP implementation for twhirl, unfortunately you’ll have to wait for it a little longer. Twitter has disabled their IM services at the moment, and are doing a reimplementation currently. We will work closely with them to ensure that twhirl is playing nice with their service without causing them trouble. And when we are happy with how things work, you’ll get your hands on it, too. Promised!

Where to get twhirl?

As every official release, the new version is distributed through the automatic updater included in twhirl. If you are new to twhirl, or just want to do it manually, go to the twhirl homepage to install twhirl 0.8.2.


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