Updated: September 16th, 2012

Recently I read an article on the Six Revisions blog that discussed 10 seemingly simple improvements to the twitter interface. They included such things as nick autocomplete, mentions, groups, and more.

You could only dream about such twitter improvements… that is until you use the Troys Twitter script. Just perform the following steps and you will have the features I describe in this article. Here we go:

  1. Install Firefox (you already have that, right?)
  2. Install the Firefox greasemonkey extension
  3. Install the Troys Twitter script

Greasemonkey is the most versatile extension available for Firefox, as it’s essentially a whole framework for scripts that can manipulate any aspect of any page. Head over to userscripts.org and take a look at the myriads of scripts written and submitted by other Greasemonkey users.

Once you are done with the above steps, head over to twitter.com (there’s no need to restart Firefox). You will then be able to enjoy the following enhancements, which I ordered here in terms of usefulness to me:

Autocomplete

Do you have a few friends with names so complicated, you can’t type them out by hand? Troys script autocompletes your friends’ names – just type @ and a few letters of their name. This is my favorite feature.

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Search Bar And Favorite Searches Saved

A search box is added to the sidebar. You can make a number of favorite searches, which then also remain sticky on the sidebar above the search box. When you click on a search term, the current page is updated without reloading the whole thing. Note that the favorite search terms are saved locally in your browser and won’t show up on your other computers.

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Auto Expander Of Shortened URLs

Automatically expands url shorteners, so instead of seeing a load of tinyurls and bit.lys, you see proper urls and their native page titles (neat!).

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Auto URL Shortener

Updated: The URL shortener auto shortens urls as you type them but only if they will overflow the 140 character limit, otherwise they stay as they are (it now works flawlessly).

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Auto Pagination

As you reach the bottom of the page, more earlier updates are automatically loaded after a few seconds. This means you don’t need to click or leave the page in order to see earlier updates. It could get a bit annoying, so I requested an ability to turn off certain script features. Update: you can now turn off every feature of the script individually.

Auto Media Embed Expander

Pictures and videos are automatically embedded.

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Retweet (RT) Button

Adds the missing RT button to each update.

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Autopopulate Bios on User Listings

Updated: This function will save you hundreds of clicks – when viewing someone's followers, rather than just seeing their names, the script adds their bios.

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Hyperlinked Hash Tags

Hash tags are now hyperlinked to the twitter search page. Seriously, twitter can’t do that by default?

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User’s Local Time

The script adds a user’s local time. See the example below using the profile of a lovely Kamikazekitty. This feature seems unpublished and I found it by accident.

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Nested Replies

This is a great feature – it gives context to @ replies. For example, @ev’s reply to kevin is boring and out of context until you see what they’re talking about, all without looking up @kevin’s updates.

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Mutual Friends Marked

Updated: This is a new feature. People who you follow and who also follow you back (mutual friendship) are marked with a little smiley face.

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Auto @fxxxmylife Expansion

Updated: Woot! Following the infamous @fxxxmylife is no longer annoying: all posts get auto-expanded. Brilliant. For those who don't know, FML is a site collecting short stories that all start with "Today," and end with "FML". Here are the top FMLs to get you started [hooked].

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That’s it for now in the current script version (6.5) but what a world of difference, isn’t it? Tweet this post if you like it and let your friends know about this great twitter web tool.

● ● ●

Artem Russakovskii is a San Francisco programmer, blogger, and future millionaire (that last part is in the works). Follow Artem on Twitter (@ArtemR) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

In the meantime, if you found this article useful, feel free to buy me a cup of coffee below.



Share
  • http://www.michelfortin.com Michel Fortin

    Excellent script! I especially love the conversation threader. Beautiful. Thanks a million.

    Story dugg.

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    Wow, twitter censored and deleted my tweet about this post, as well as the retweets. Since when is a service thriving on users censoring the ideas of those users, especially the ideas talking about twitter itself?

  • http://www.whoissteveyoung.com Steve Young

    Awesome features – long needed and finally here! Retweeted and dugg.

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    @Steve
    Thank you. Don't hold your breath for twitter not deleting your tweet, like they did to mine. I filed a support ticket to see what's going on and hope it's a bug but otherwise… an uprising is coming.

  • http://hotsaucedaily.com Brian

    Love the script. Thanks for the info and instructions. It's what Twitter should have built in.

  • http://wordpressmodder.org Adam W. Warner

    Artem, this script is amazingly useful, thank you for releasing it. However, I am really concerned about your comment above.

    Can you share with us the response you received after filing the Twitter trouble ticket? Was it a fluke or intentional?

  • http://ocaoimh.ie/ Donncha O Caoimh

    Got a bit of a shock when I saw my gravatar and tweet! Just about to install the script!

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    @Adam
    I didn't release it – I just reviewed it, I guess I should have made that more clear.
    As far as the twitter ticket, I am still not sure – they didn't respond to it for 2 weeks and then closed it with something like "we fixed the flukes". No final answer about that particular case. It could have been a coincidence I suppose.

  • g1smd

    Does this AutoExpander prefetch the page, and hence register as a pageview in the site logs/analytics? I hope not.

    Do other URL expanders (expanding previously shortened URLs) prefetch the page and thereby screw up the site analytics?

    Remember the AVG LinkScanner debacle? Similar problem here if you have a lot of followers on Twitter and they all use this prefetch.

    Your site stats could show that you got a lot more visitors than you actually genuinely received. I'd like to think I was wrong.

    Anyone done any testing with different services?

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    @g1smd
    They have to prefetch at least a bit of the page in order to resolve the <title> tag. I'm not sure how it affects tracking and analytics but it does sound like a valid concern. I'll have Troy answer this one if he can.

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    @donncha ;)

  • http://tr0y.com troynt

    @g1smd there is no prefetch on URL expansion. So no stats are messed up. Titles are resolved via http://longurl.org … Also, prefetching would be extremely slow.

  • junrxu

    need auto refresh!!!

  • MirceaB

    Nested Replies – is the feature that I was waiting for. This was the main problem that kept me away from using twetter.

    Now with your script I'll give it a second try.

    Thanks!

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    @junrxu
    I was thinking the same thing for a while. I'll let troynt know.

  • Mark Goodson

    Awesome tool… thansk

  • Diane

    Having a problem with followers page on Twitter. It will not go to next page and stays on the first page of my followers. Just repeats every time I hit next.

  • http://sethsimonds.com Seth Simonds

    I'm not a firefox user (chrome – I know, I know) but after reading this, you've nearly convinced me to switch.

    The retweet button and auto-complete would truly be amazing additions.

    I wonder how things would go if Twitter made a practice of incorporating popular features after they've been proven through use of the GM scripts?

    Might be an inexpensive way to get a bunch of beta tests out of the way.

    Thanks!

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    Seth, by all means, Chrome is a great app but it's missing support for extensions at the moment, which is what makes Firefox so popular.

    They did add support for GM-like scripts, if I'm not mistaken, so Chrome enhancements are not too far away.

    I'm sure twitter is using this usage data somehow – Troy's script is quite popular and twitter has already started incorporating some features that may make it obsolete in the end. To them though, it's free ideas, free testing, and free feedback. Win/win.

    Enjoy the script and say thanks to Troy!

  • dianatri

    wow. awesome. ur giving us features that twitter should have had all along . kudos!! :D

  • Enlightened411

    THANK YOU for all the little goodies! [groovy man]

    ATB! (^_^)/

  • dribbler

    thanks alot

  • jackson woo

    Yup, thats right, found you through twitter! Love the sequence, thanks for posting this!

  • Amulets

    Twitter is Fantastic. I absolutely love it and they are very different from other similar places, as they do give you more ways to communicate and enjoy it at the same time.

  • http://tommytrc.com tommytrc

    This script just rocks!!!! Well done and thank you fo the great review and intro guide!!

  • http://freetwitterbutton.com Abu

    Nice article… thanks!!

  • krzysztof

    Nice explanation. Really helpful. Keep up the good work.

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