I am returning to twisted after an extended absence, and was wondering what the status is with twisted's web framework? Is this an active area of development?
The twisted.web framework is absolutely an active area of development, with the most activity recently being on the http 1.1 web client stuff, which was recently merged into trunk (yay!). That means it'll be in Twisted 9.
You're probably talking about the web/web2 dichotomy? Take a look at this page: http://twistedmatrix.com/trac/wiki/WebDevelopmentWithTwisted
In short, web2 is being phased out and web is *the* web project of twisted (as it should be ;-).