drops the hashbang for individual tweet URLs and makes it 5 times faster to view timelines drops the hashbang for individual tweet URLs and makes it 5 times faster to view timelines ...

Twitter has just posted up a missive on its engineering blog that goes over a bunch of changes it has made to speed up the site. Among those are eliminating the much reviled ‘hashbangs’ — the #! symbols you used to see in single-tweet urls.

Removing the hashbang from the URL means only the browser has to download the full page and render it on a client basis along with any Javascript. This ends up causing a slight delay any time you visit a URL, one that could be eliminated by having the server render the page and give it to you directly.

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This was especially irritating on Tweet permalink pages, when you’re coming in from outside the site to look at a single tweet, then having to wait for the page to load and render. Twitter says that removing the need for the client to handle the rendering has improved the speed of any content formerly at hashbanged urls. Currently, Twitter’s main streams still use hashbangs in their URLs.

Twitter has also improved its ‘time to first tweet’. This is the time it takes to see the first tweet in any section’s timeline. It has dropped this time to 1/5 what it previously was, causing Twitter pages to all feel ‘snappier’ when loading. This was also done by handing off rendering duties to the server and waiting for all of the content to process before initiating JavaScrip, the beefiest part of the process.

For more information about how Twitter has been speeding up the process of navigating, you can check out the full engineering post here.

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