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Sams Teach Yourself the Twitter API in 24 Hours

By Christopher Peri, Bess Ho

Published by Sams

Published Date: Jun 20, 2011

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This is the Safari online edition of the printed book.

The hands-on, step-by-step guide to building Twitter apps and integrating Twitter into existing sites, services, and applications



  • Shows what can be done with the Twitter API - including non-traditional examples
  • By the creator of the popular Twitterfilter app
  • Covers API basics, REST, calls, replies, components, displays, classes, errors, credentials, search, downtime, etiquette, and more
  • Quick, easy examples deliver results fast, and handy reference sections help programmers for years to come


Finally there's a practical guide to developing new Twitter applications and integrating Twitter into existing sites and applications. One step at a time, this book teaches all facets of Twitter programming, from the absolute basics to rich, non-traditional application development utilizing multiple API calls. Top Twitter developer Christopher Peri demonstrates what the Twitter API can do, introduces each leading type of Twitter application, and discusses the issues developers face in using the Twitter API. Peri shows how to set up the Twitter API environment; make API calls and parse responses; work with components; create displays; build application frameworks; handle error messages and downtime; pass credentials to Twitter; create clients; send messages; use Twitter search; and more. Along the way, Peri provides innovative solutions to Twitter programming problems, helping developers overcome API limitations they'd otherwise struggle with. Peri concludes by previewing the future of Twitter and its API; demonstrating innovative example applications and mashup services; and explaining the crucial "etiquette" of Twitter development. Throughout, each lesson builds on everything that's come before, helping readers learn core techniques from the ground up. Concise, easy-to-reuse code samples help developers get started fast, and detailed Twitter API reference sections support them for years to come.

Table of Contents

Preface    xiii


HOUR 1: What Is Twitter? 1

What Twitter Offers You     1

A Brief History of Twitter–or Why 140 Characters?    2

Summary    7

Q&A     8

HOUR 2: Twitter Out of the Box 11

What Twitter Offers You     11

Registering Your Application     15

The Twitter Client     16

Summary     18

Q&A     18

HOUR 3: Key Issues to Consider When Developing Twitter Applications 21

Types of Twitter Users     21

Types of Twitter Applications     25

Platform    30

Summary     31

Q&A     31

HOUR 4: Creating a Development Environment 33

Background of LAMP Stacks     33

Setting Up a Local Web Server     34

Securing Your Web Server     38

Development Tools    41

Summary     45

Q&A     46

HOUR 5: Making Your First API Call 49

Making a Simple Twitter API Call    49

Making a Call in PHP    53

Summary     57

Q&A     58

HOUR 6: Building a Simple Twitter Reader 59

Building Our First Twitter Client     59

Twitter HTTP Response Codes    65

Summary     69

Q&A     71

HOUR 7: Creating a Twitter API Framework 73

Twitter API Parameters     73

Creating an API Function for Twitter Function Calls     75

Summary     80

Q&A     80

HOUR 8: Twitter OAuth 81

What Is a Class and Why Do We Want to Use It?     81

What Is OAuth?     82

How to Register Your Application     82

Creating the OAuth Twitter Class     83

PHP Library for Working with Twitter’s OAuth API     84

Setting Up the twitterOAuth Class     85

How to Add New Functions to Your Twitter Class Object     90

How Our Class Deals with Twitter Connection Errors     92

Summary     93

Q&A     93

HOUR 9: Building a Simple Twitter Client, Part I 95

Expanding the Index File to Support Tabs     95

Adding Support for Home Timeline     97

Adding Support for Mentions    99

Adding Support for Direct Messages     101

Summary     102

Q&A     102

HOUR 10: Building a Simple Twitter Client, Part II 105

Updating and Adding New Files to Support Input Text Field     105

Sending a Message to Twitter     108

API Call for Direct Messages     109

Sanitizing Messages     110

Summary     110

Q&A     111

HOUR 11: Expanding Our Client for More API Calls 113

Types of API Method Calls     113

Adding Tabs to Our UI     114

New Timeline API Calls: Retweeted     117

New Status API Calls: Retweeted     119

Summary     123

Q&A     123

HOUR 12: Direct Messages 125

Sending a Direct Message     125

Adding Direct Message API Support     127

Adding More Direct Message API Support     131

The Destroy API Method     132

Summary     133

Q&A     133

HOUR 13: Lists 135

What Is a List?    135

Implementing the List API into Our Application     137

Three Types of List Methods     142

Summary     144

Q&A     144

HOUR 14: Favorites and User Methods 147

Favorites API Methods     147

User API Methods    153

Summary     158

Q&A     159

HOUR 15: Search 161

History of Twitter Search API     161

Twitter’s Stance on Search     161

The Lone Search API    162

A Quick Guide to More Information on Search from the Twitter Docs     170

Summary     173

Q&A     174

HOUR 16: Trends and GEO 177

What Is a Trending Topic?     177

Supporting Trends in Our Application     177

Understanding the GEO Tag    187

Summary     190

Q&A     190

HOUR 17: Friendships, Notification, Block, and Account Methods 193

Friendships Methods     193

Notification Methods     197

Block Methods     198

Account Methods     199

Summary     202

Q&A     202

HOUR 18: Twitter Documentation 205

The Twitter Dev Website     205

Devtwittercom/doc     211

Twitter Resource Page Overview     212

Summary     216

Q&A     216

HOUR 19: Streaming API 219

The Three Types of Streaming APIs     219

Streaming Methods     222

Summary     226

Q&A     226

HOUR 20: FailWhale and the Future of the API     229

What Is Spotting the FailWhale?     229

Review of the Application We Just Built    231

Where Is the Twitter API Going?     236

Summary    237

Q&A     238

HOUR 21: Getting Started in Twitter Android Application    241

Introducing Android     241

Creating the Hello Android Project     243

Summary    251

Q&A     252

HOUR 22: Building Android Applications with Twitter     255

Using Twitter OAuth in Android     255

Importing Packages     261

Summary    276

Q&A     276

HOUR 23: Getting Started with Twitter Using iOS    279

Introducing iOS    279

Creating a Hello World Application     280

Summary    289

Q&A     290

HOUR 24: Building an iPhone and iPod Touch Application with Twitter     293

Introducing Twitter xAuth     293

Benefits of Using Twitter xAuth    294

Selecting Twitter Objective-C Libraries     294

Loading xAuth Token    302

Posting Tweet    304

Adding MGTwitterEngine Delegate Methods     305

Creating Objects in Interface Builder    308

Summary    315

Q&A    316

INDEX    319



Sams Teach Yourself the Twitter API in 24 Hours

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