If you pay any attention at all to Apple-related websites,1 you know this past week was the tenth anniversary of the opening of the App Store. And in the dozens of blog posts marking the occasion, you no doubt saw many references to Steve Jobs’s much-derided “sweet solution” of web apps only for iPhone developers in that initial App Storeless year. But some good things came out of that year.

The first I remember fondly was a hangman game that I played with my older son every night before he went to bed. Sadly, I deleted the bookmark for it long ago, and I never mentioned it here on the blog, so I can’t find even an outdated link to it. Too bad. It was a simple game, but it worked exactly as you’d expect, and it fit nicely on that original iPhone screen.

The other app I used so much in the pre-App Store days was Hahlo, a web-based Twitter client that was so much better designed for the iPhone screen than the Twitter website was.

Hahlo screenshot

The Hahlo website still exists, but it redirects to this nicely written farewell page from Hahlo’s developer, Dean Robinson. On it you’ll find several screenshots of Hahlo in action, one of which you see above.

I learned of Hahlo from Andy Ihnatko. I don’t remember if he wrote about it on his blog or mentioned it on MacBreak Weekly, but he thought highly of it, and so did I. I used it as my main mobile Twitter client until Tweetie came along.

No one wants to go back to the days before the App Store, but it is worth remembering that clever developers gave us useful things even when they were stuck in the molasses of the sweet solution.

  1. Especially the increasingly inaccurately named MacStories