Utilising the Twitter API
October 26, 2009 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Where to start: extracting images from a Twitter search and presenting them on a webpage?

I have almost no programming knowledge, but I have a small project in mind, and have no idea where to start. (And also about a week to do it in, since it's a time-sensitive project.)

Here's what I want to do:
- Get the results of a Twitter search along the lines of "something something twitpic filter:links" (ie, get all the results of a search for "something something" that include a link to a Twitpic image).
- Get a thumbnail of each Twitpic image
- Present these thumbnails on a webpage

Twitter's API can do what I want, as can Twitpic's, I'm just not sure where I should start. Presumably, I need to get the tweets, perform some kind of regex voodoo to extract the Twitpic links, and borrow Twitpic's API to get thumbnails for them.

This sounds like it should be fairly easy, but I'm a guy that doesn't have fluency in any programming language, so I can't even picture what my first step would be. I'm probably approaching this a little backwards, too -- trying to consider how Twitter's API is rate-limited, and it would need some form of caching, etc, etc. (Though I can't program, I do have some basic fundamental knowledge of the concepts and idea involved, like rate-limiting and cacheing, and such.)

So where do you think I should start? Learning the basics of X programming language seems like a sensible step 1, but I don't have much interest in actually learning to program in X, just in learning to do this in X. Whatever X may be.

It doesn't really matter if I can't do this in a week, but if it took much more than a week to do, I'm not sure it would be worth the time.

What do you think?
posted by nostrich to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
If it's worth $30 to you, go to elance.com, find someone overseas with Twitter API experience, and hire someone to spend 2 to 3 hours at $10-$15/hr to lay out the basics of a solution. With that jump start, you can probably take it home yourself in a few days, if you know the basic concepts.
posted by c, as in "kitchen" at 4:09 PM on October 26, 2009

Or you could just go to twicsy.com
posted by fixedgear at 4:19 PM on October 26, 2009

I saw a jQuery demo yesterday at Stack Overflow DevDays that did some amazingly easy access to Twitter via very little amounts of HTML and javascript. I can't find the presenter's (Richard D. Worth) slides or demos at the Dev Days DC web site. However, I did find lots of jQuery Twitter demos. This one is done in pure HTML, CSS, and jQuery, and is explained here.. Maybe experimenting with formatTwitString to parse each tweet's text to find the twitpic URLs and then grab the images.

You could try pinging Richard for the jQuery/twitter code he presented yesterday in DC, it might give you an easier start than the example I've provided. I'm not a web designer, jQuery, or twitter expert by any means, but his example made it look easy. Googling for "jquery twitter" might give you other ideas to start from, if the result will be shown in a web page.
posted by dr. fresh at 6:17 PM on October 27, 2009

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