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TUAW previews Hahlo 3: the Legendary Edition

John Gruber's (and my) favorite Twitter web app for the iPhone is about to get better -- if you've been on the Hahlo for iPhone homepage lately, you'll have seen that Dean Robinson is working on version 3 of Hahlo (titled, hilariously for us gamers, the Legendary Edition).

TUAW got to take a look (along with all of the other beta users) at the new software, and here's a short preview running through what the new Hahlo will look like, as well as updates to the system, including a brand new Settings page, inline replies, hashtags and searching, and lots of other cool tweaks and updates.

Our preview starts right after the jump.
The login screen hasn't changed at all, but on logging in, you see the first major addition to the new Hahlo: a profile screen! Additionally, on your friends list, you can go to see this same profile for anyone on the service, with clear information about how many friends and followers they have, their latest tweet, and so on.

And if you miss the old home screen of you and your friends' tweets, no worries -- later, you'll see on the settings page that there's an option to set your home page to whatever you want.

Clicking the Menu button at the top of the screen will show you the most obvious change in Hahlo 3 -- the menu line has been replaced by an overlaid square that presents all your options at the same time. Recent and Replies will show you and your friends tweets or their replies to them, Archive will show your old tweets, Everyone takes you to the public timeline, and Inbox and Outbox will show you direct messages. Favorites is self explanatory, obviously. Following and followers will take you to the new screens that will let you view and update your followers, and Profile, Settings and Logout are all pretty obvious as well.

There is a brand new search bar that will let you (wait for it) search through people or tweets, courtesy of summize.com.

The search is surprisingly powerful and quick -- in fact, we should note that due to some tweaks on Dean's part, the site loads quicker than ever. The Search bar runs across all of Twitter, not just you or your friends' tweets.

Summize is also used to track hashtags -- any hashtag (such as #sxsw) will be linked to a timeline for that tag in this same fashion. Very powerful, and very well integrated into the normal Hahlo system.

Here's the normal friends timeline screen, featuring the familiar Hahlo circles. Replies are now included inline, and the entire replies timeline can also be included in the timeline if you so choose. Clicking on the "more" after the "In reply to" quote will take you to a timeline of just that reply thread.

As you can see, avatars seem smaller in the new Hahlo than I remember (though a visit to the old Hahlo proves me wrong). There is an option, however, on the settings screen to enable bigger avatars.

Let's take a look at the Settings screen.


This is where you can choose your homepage, from a number of different choices (Dean also says there will be an all-new homepage for Hahlo 3 eventually. The Inline Replies option is there, and you can also put direct message inline. Custom Colors will draw your colors directly from your Twitter profile into Hahlo, making names and text appear in those colors.

Show Full Names is obvious, and there's the Bigger Avatars setting.

Let's take a look at the Friends and Followers screens. As you can see, they've been revamped -- not only can you send messages along (and visit each person's profiles by clicking the arrows on the right), but as you can see, you can now follow twitterers from directly within Hahlo -- perfect for meeting someone in person and then grabbing their twitter name from them right then and there.

(Apologies for the cursor -- if you couldn't tell by that Settings screen menu, I'm using iPhoney for this preview).

The Followers screen has also been updated in the same fashion. And there's a neat piece of eye candy in there as well. By clicking on the little squares button on the top right, you can go to an icon mode to view all your friends or followers' icons in a mosaic.

Not really practical, but it is cool (and it does show you, obviously, which of your friends need to get a profile picture in there). Clicking on someone's picture will send you directly to their timeline where you can read and reply to their tweets as well.

All in all, a great update for one of the best web apps on the iPhone. Dean has told us that he plans to have the beta out on the live site in about a week or so, and in the meantime, if you'd like to try the beta out for yourself, you can email him at "beta" which, minus the spam, is at "hahlo dot com."

There is one thing that's not so exciting about the new Hahlo, though it's not Dean's fault. As Gruber noted in his writeup, Hahlo doesn't allow paging of tweets (due to Twitter's API), and Hahlo 3 still doesn't, as you can see on the left.

That's Twitter's fault, not Dean's. Otherwise, Hahlo 3 is an awesome update, and Hahlo remains the premier Twitter web app on the iPhone.

John Gruber's (and my) favorite Twitter web app for the iPhone is about to get better -- if you've been on the Hahlo for iPhone homepage...