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Twitter.com currently has more than one version. There's a new unified desktop/mobile version, and more than one "older" version for "unsupported" browsers.

If I disable Javascript for twitter.com, it notices this, and gives me the choice of using a "legacy" version.

The legacy version is not the previous, pre-unified version (which for now, can be obtained by spoofing certain User Agent versions).

The legacy version is fairly narrow, small text, small icons, and has only a single column. In other words, it looks like a design for old mobiles. It looks really old - I think it's not really optimized for touch, although it's technically possible to use.

The "legacy" version is not good. E.g. viewing the text of quoted tweets requires a click. (Or two in my case - because it asks to reconfirm that you want the legacy version). But certain aspects of the latest version are so infuriating, that I'm not inclined to keep using it.

Re-enabling Javascript on the legacy version shows that it still has some progressive enhancement. E.g. XHR to handle the "like" button immediately, without refreshing the page (or needing to middle click to perform the action in a new tab.). But of course the next time you reload Twitter, you would then get the non-legacy version.

I'm wondering if there's a nice technically clear way to force the legacy version, and keep the progressive enhancement. Other sites let you do stuff like this. E.g. Facebook's (surprisingly functional!) legacy mobile version - you can just visit https://m.facebook.com/ But legacy twitter doesn't use a distinct set of URLs.

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I think you can use a user agent spoofing extension. The legacy version looks strangely un-optimized for touch - i.e. small icons close together - even when I look in Firefox Responsive Design mode (defaults to iPhone). So I think there is not a high risk of getting optimizations for the wrong browser/device type, that will cause any big problem.

There's an old extension for Firefox:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/custom-user-agent-revived/

It's a bit clunky, but this one let me use an old enough UA, and it had old enough presets so I didn't have to look them up elsewhere. Out of those presets, I used the following UA to force legacy twitter:

Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.4.2; en-us; SCH-I535 Build/KOT49H) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30

Twitter puts up a helpful banner warning that this browser is ancient, and should probably be upgraded to Chrome for Android :-).

EDIT: sigh, the legacy version of twitter appears to be broken in non-obvious ways. Looking at a tweet with 82 (recent) replies, legacy twitter shows no replies (but the correct number of likes and retweets).

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