TweetDeck‘s conversion from eternal beta to version 1.0 is complete, and with this transition comes a fresh, new look, the shedding of the Adobe AIR back end and the graduation to native desktop app. In some ways, it’s still the Twitter dashboard you know and love and in other ways, TweetDeck will never be the same.
A quick glance at TweetDeck’s last pre V1 version, V 0.38.2, next to Twitter’s TweetDeck 1.0 (Twitter purchased the platform in May) and you might not see much of a difference, but then all the changes come crisply into focus. The little orange and black logo is gone, replaced by a blue Twitter bird. Tweets flow in at almost the exact same rate, but they’ve been subtly reconfigured. Every tweet now starts with a boldface name. Whomever wrote the tweet gets credit on top. I’m not sure this improves the TweetDeck experience, but it does end the squinting at the little gray Twitter handle below each tweet.
Inside each tweet, all links are Twitter blue. In the old TweetDeck, they were underlined and white. Again, this is supposed to assist in tweet readability. By and large, I think it succeeds. Hashtags are in the same sky-blue color, as are all @mentions within a tweet.
Old TweetDeck launches with the tweet pane expanded by default. Twitter’s TweetDeck keeps it closed, but offers a larger, blue tweet button, which launches a tweet input pop-up window. Column navigation has shifted to the top of the window and is also considerably larger.
Twitter has also taken this opportunity to refocus users on its own services. So Twitter’s TweetDeck defaults to Twitter’s URL shortener and Twitter’s photo services. Old TweetDeck delivered photos to YFrog by default and still used bit.ly for URLs. You can still choose to use these services, but with them now hidden behind a settings menu choice it’s unlikely TweetDeck users will ever use them again.
All the controls that appeared at the bottom of each column are gone, and replaced with a settings button that only appears when you select a column. Notification pop-up and sound control are now at the top of each column (instead of being hidden under settings). Not all controls have survived the transition, though. Yes, you can move columns, clear tweets and remove tweets, but “filter” and “what’s popular” are gone. Similarly, some of the controls for individual users have disappeared. The “add to group or list” button is gone, for instance.
Tweets still show post time, but day and date are gone. The direct message column remains, but it’s been renamed “inbox”. I get the feeling Twitter may be looking to do away with that label. One feature that I’ll surely miss from the old TweetDeck is the ability to hover over an avatar and access reply, retweet, direct message and other actions. Now you have to click the avatar to get a large pop-up that actually hides direct message under another drop-down menu.
A new search box is visible near the top of the interface. This serves to replace the “add column” and “quick profile buttons.” Now search allows you to do both with your results.
The voluminous old TweetDeck settings window, which featured nine major areas and dozens of sub-choices has been boiled down and cleaned up so some windows have just a handful of large-font choices on a nice, white background.
Overall, the look and feel of Twitter’s TweetDeck is cleaner than old TweetDeck. Part of it is a more consistent and somewhat narrower color palette (black, white, blue and maybe two shades of gray), and that there is more space around tweets and avatars, which makes the latter look larger.
Twitter’s TweetDeck looks exactly like this in the web interface, as well. That’s because it’s built in HTML5 and maintains a consistent look and feel across virtually all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, and most browser platforms.
Do I like it? I think so. It’s easier to read and works smoothly. Tweeting from it, including retweets and quoted tweets is problem free. I can still manage multiple accounts, post to Facebook, and track virtually any breaking news story in multiple columns — all just as I could with old TweetDeck.
There will be some who will bemoan the push to user Twitter’s own tools, but they’ll soon forget they ever used Yfrog. Others may wonder if the exit from the Adobe AIR platform is a bad sign for Adobe, but that company is quickly moving to HTML5 adoption, as well. For me, I’m simply glad Twitter has once and for all proven its total commitment to TweetDeck, my once and future go-to-dashboard for Twitter management.