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Python Twitter Tools
The Minimalist Twitter API for Python is a Python API for Twitter,
everyone's favorite Web 2.0 Facebook-style status updater for people
on the go.
Also included is a twitter command-line tool for getting your friends'
tweets and setting your own tweet from the safety and security of your
favorite shell and an IRC bot that can announce Twitter updates to an
IRC channel.
For more information, after installing the `twitter` package:
* import the `twitter` package and run help() on it
* run `twitter -h` for command-line tool help
twitter - The Command-Line Tool
The command-line tool lets you do some awesome things:
* view your tweets, recent replies, and tweets in lists
* view the public timeline
* follow and unfollow (leave) friends
* various output formats for tweet information
The bottom line: type `twitter`, receive tweets.
twitterbot - The IRC Bot
The IRC bot is associated with a twitter account (either your own account or an
account you create for the bot). The bot announces all tweets from friends
it is following. It can be made to follow or leave friends through IRC /msg
`twitter-log` is a simple command-line tool that dumps all public
tweets from a given user in a simple text format. It is useful to get
a complete offsite backup of all your tweets. Run `twitter-log` and
read the instructions.
twitter-archiver and twitter-follow
twitter-archiver will log all the tweets posted by any user since they
started posting. twitter-follow will print a list of all of all the
followers of a user (or all the users that user follows).
Programming with the Twitter api classes
The Twitter and TwitterStream classes are the key to building your own
Twitter-enabled applications.
The Twitter class
The minimalist yet fully featured Twitter API class.
Get RESTful data by accessing members of this class. The result
is decoded python objects (lists and dicts).
The Twitter API is documented at:
from twitter import *
# see "Authentication" section below for tokens and keys
t = Twitter(
# Get the public timeline
# Get a particular friend's timeline
# Also supported (but totally weird)
# Update your status
status="Using @sixohsix's sweet Python Twitter Tools.")
# Send a direct message
text="I think yer swell!")
# Get the members of tamtar's list "Things That Are Rad"
# Note how the magic `_` method can be used to insert data
# into the middle of a call. You can also use replacement:
t.user.list.members(user="tamtar", list="things-that-are-rad")
# An *optional* `_timeout` parameter can also be used for API
# calls which take much more time than normal or twitter stops
# responding for some reasone
t.users.lookup(screen_name=','.join(A_LIST_OF_100_SCREEN_NAMES), _timeout=1)
Searching Twitter::
from twitter import *
twitter_search = Twitter(domain="")
# Find the latest search trends
# Search for the latest News on #gaza"#gaza")
Using the data returned
Twitter API calls return decoded JSON. This is converted into
a bunch of Python lists, dicts, ints, and strings. For example::
x = twitter.statuses.public_timeline()
# The first 'tweet' in the timeline
# The screen name of the user who wrote the first 'tweet'
Getting raw XML data
If you prefer to get your Twitter data in XML format, pass
format="xml" to the Twitter object when you instantiate it::
twitter = Twitter(format="xml")
The output will not be parsed in any way. It will be a raw string
of XML.
The TwitterStream class
The TwitterStream object is an interface to the Twitter Stream API
( This can be used pretty much the same as the
Twitter class except the result of calling a method will be an
iterator that yields objects decoded from the stream. For
twitter_stream = TwitterStream(auth=UserPassAuth('joe', 'joespassword'))
iterator = twitter_stream.statuses.sample()
for tweet in iterator: something with this tweet...
The iterator will yield tweets forever and ever (until the stream
breaks at which point it raises a TwitterHTTPError.)
The `block` parameter controls if the stream is blocking. Default
is blocking (True). When set to False, the iterator will
occasionally yield None when there is no available message.
Twitter Response Objects
Response from a twitter request. Behaves like a list or a string
(depending on requested format) but it has a few other interesting
`headers` gives you access to the response headers as an
httplib.HTTPHeaders instance. You can do
`response.headers.getheader('h')` to retrieve a header.
You can authenticate with Twitter in three ways: NoAuth, OAuth, or
UserPassAuth. Get help() on these classes to learn how to use them.
OAuth is probably the most useful.
Working with OAuth
Visit the Twitter developer page and create a new application:
This will get you a CONSUMER_KEY and CONSUMER_SECRET.
When users run your application they have to authenticate your app
with their Twitter account. A few HTTP calls to twitter are required
to do this. Please see the twitter.oauth_dance module to see how this
is done. If you are making a command-line app, you can use the
oauth_dance() function directly.
Performing the "oauth dance" gets you an ouath token and oauth secret
that authenticate the user with Twitter. You should save these for
later so that the user doesn't have to do the oauth dance again.
read_token_file and write_token_file are utility methods to read and
write OAuth token and secret key values. The values are stored as
strings in the file. Not terribly exciting.
Finally, you can use the OAuth authenticator to connect to Twitter. In
code it all goes like this::
from twitter import *
MY_TWITTER_CREDS = os.path.expanduser('~/.my_app_credentials')
if not os.path.exists(MY_TWITTER_CREDS):
oauth_dance("My App Name", CONSUMER_KEY, CONSUMER_SECRET,
oauth_token, oauth_secret = read_token_file(MY_TWITTER_CREDS)
twitter = Twitter(auth=OAuth(
oauth_token, oauth_secret, CONSUMER_KEY, CONSUMER_SECRET))
# Now work with Twitter
twitter.statuses.update('Hello, world!')
Python Twitter Tools are released under an MIT License.
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