Way back in 2008, David Carrington created Dabr – a really simple mobile website for accessing Twitter.
— Dabr (@dabr) September 16, 2013
In those days, Twitter had a kick-arse API and were happy for people to build exciting new services on it. I was eager to contribute and got stuck in to improving it.
Dabr was fast – much faster than the original mobile Twitter site. It had hashtag searching, reply-to-all, thumbnail previews of links, Twitpic integration, and a whole bunch of other interesting features. It was used by Chinese political dissidents to get around the Great Firewall, and some of the most popular Twitter users.
But, over the last few years, the project stagnated. Partly because Twitter didn’t really release anything new with its API, partly because Dabr was complete. It did everything it was supposed to, and ran quite happily. The last significant code update was in 2013. Sure, there were a few bugs hanging around, but no one really had the motivation to do much about it.
I thought it’d be a fun(!) Xmas project to resurrect Dabr, give the code-base a spring clean, a new lick of paint, squash some bugs, and improve the functionality. So I did.
This is a fairly comprehensive list of all the improvements.
- Image upload.
- Menus now use CSS fonts from Fontello. Looks nicer & faster to download.
- Much better pagination support.
- Twitter API via CodeBird.
- Better embedding thanks to EmbedKit.
- Layout changes & improvements.
- Cleaner HTML. Should be lighter to download.
- More options, including a new colour theme.
- Better accessibility (Thanks Andy!)
- HTTP Status messages display useful information.
- …lots more bug fixes 🙂
There are still some kinks to work out. Feel free to add to the issues list or submit some code.
- Hashtag linking is still dodgy – and doesn’t work in bios.
- Lists aren’t available. Does anyone use them?
- Image sending in Direct Messages doesn’t work.
- Conversation threading (made harder by lack of API).
- Counter doesn’t recognise URLs – gives misleading character count.
- Translation text files. Currently everything is inline.
- Better 404 handling.
- General slimming down of HTML and CSS.
If you want to experience the new Dabr, point your phone, tablet, or desktop browser at https://dabr.eu/.
Dabr is designed to be simple to deploy on your own website. Visit Dabr on GitHub to find out more.