Posts Tagged ‘API’
The oil industry is losing friends fast, and this latest Twitter stunt won’t win them back: The American Petroleum Institute (API) has been accused of creating more than a dozen fake Twitter accounts to promote a new pipeline.
Announced yesterday, Twitter has added a high-profile member to its API team. They’ve hired Akash Garg, the co-founder of Hi5 and more recently CTO at Bebo, who will now work on keeping the Twitter you know and love up and running.
Ahh, drama in the Twitterverse. While we’re used to it being between larger-than-life celebs, this time around it was a very public brawl between Twitter and a third-party app developer that caused a mini-scandal. Twitter had suspended two of the most popular Twitter apps – made by the fast growing Twitter app company, UberMedia – last week, and reversed the suspension on Sunday.
In what some believe is a move to edge out smaller developers, Twitter announced yesterday that it will stop whitelisting developer requests for unrestricted access to their API. This could be a temporary measure, or it could be a move that signals that Twitter is hoping developers begin to pay for access to a larger chunk of the Twitter stream – or don’t access it at all.
I had planned (and hoped) to do a video tutorial for Seesmic Desktop, but I just haven’t had the time. However, I know enough people are waiting for me to do something, and I get enough questions on a day-to-day basis about Seesmic, that I felt it wasn’t fair to keep these folk waiting any longer. So, to compromise, and along the lines of my tutorial about TweetDeck, here we go.
I first reviewed Seesmic Desktop in April of this year. Back then, I felt the software had a lot of potential, but was far too buggy on the Windows platform. In late May, version 0.2.1 of the software was released, and with it several significant improvements. So much so, in fact, that I switched from TweetDeck, my de facto Twitter client of choice, completely to Seesmic Desktop, and haven’t looked back.
If you’re unfamiliar with Seesmic Desktop, or wish to know more about the pros and cons of the software, please read my most recent article before continuing with this tutorial.
It’s also important you have the latest version of the software, which at the time of writing is 0.2.1. (Note: this is a direct download. If this is your first install of Seesmic Desktop, you will need to install Adobe AIR first. Adobe AIR works on Windows, OSX and Linux.)
Let’s Get The Semantics Out Of The Way
- I define ‘fun’ as ‘enjoying your time on Twitter’, and
- With ‘profit’, I am referring explicitly to the spiritual gain you will make from the rewarding relationships Seesmic Desktop will help you build with your followers. This is not to be confused with financial gain; that said, because Seesmic greatly improves the Twitter experience, certainly in terms of engagement, this is a realistic possibility.
Regular readers will be aware that I do all of my Twittering (and everything else) via a Samsung NC10 netbook. The NC10 is a fantastic computer that is powerful enough for all of my needs, and it’s important to note that it has a 10-inch screen with a resolution of 1024×600 pixels. This means that while I get significant benefit from the way I configure Seesmic Desktop (and, indeed, the way I configured TweetDeck), readers with larger screens (i.e., on a standard-sized laptop or desktop computer) will be able to tweak Seesmic for even greater rewards.
A few times on this blog (and elsewhere) I’ve made the observation how just because Twitter is – or perhaps more accurately, has been – riding a wave of success and positive PR, it doesn’t mean it will always be that way. Things can change. Fast.
This year, we’ve already had a very unfavourable reaction to Twitter’s decision to remove the facility for users to see all replies; their response to this was equally absurd, to a point where I started to wonder if they have been just winging it all along.
At the moment, the network is struggling with several small bugs, each of which is relatively minor but collectively they’re representative of something more significant.
1. Everybody Is Posting ‘Via Web’
I use Seesmic Desktop. Lots of other folks use TweetDeck, Tweetie, Dabr, Twitroid and all manner of external clients to access the network, but not no more, at least, if Twitter is to be believed, as everybody is currently posting via the web.
(Image source: Techradar.)
Alex is definitely saying all the right things. On scalability:
“Hopefully we’ve already been through the catastrophe phase. Where we’re at now is very, very different; fundamental pieces of our technology have changed. We’ve built out a really robust system; it doesn’t just handle tweets, it handles every operation around the site. Whenever you’re sending a direct message, whenever you’re adding someone, whenever you’re blocking someone it goes through this system we’ve built.
We’ve pitted it against the other big enterprise grade message queue systems out there and we’ve pretty much smoked them all in terms of benchmarks.”
On the development of the tweet:
“In a perfect world we’d like every tweet to have its own key value store for whatever metadata [developers] want. In terms of implementation it’s still too far off to say when we’re going to deliver that; the majority of our team is still focused on handling the scale of the social graph.”
On the future of Twitter’s API:
“It doesn’t make sense to have apps ask us again and again ‘do you have anything new? Do you have anything new?’… Whether that’s data or changes to the social graph, it makes more sense that we push that information to them so they’re always up to date.”
On this, Twitter plans to introduce a ‘push API’ service and also to release the limit of API calls that external applications can make, which is currently set at 100 per hour per user.
TweetDeck is a popular Twitter client of which I am a big fan. The bulk of my interaction with the Twitter stream comes via TweetDeck (on the road I use Dabr) for one simple reason: it makes Twitter a lot better.
TweetDeck at the time of writing has a market share on Twitter of somewhere between 13 and 16 per cent, depending on who you believe. That’s a pretty decent slice (Twitter.com itself only accounts for around 30 per cent).
One of the few drawbacks with TweetDeck is the API limitations. This is imposed on all external clients by Twitter (i.e., Tweetie, Dabr etc), and it limits users to 100 requests from the Twitter API every sixty minutes, beginning at the time you make your first request. When you interact with TweetDeck in various ways you use API. Different events have a different impact on the amount of API you use. When you use up all of your API (and if you run multiple Twitter clients concurrently they’re all calling on that API), TweetDeck won’t update again until that hour is up and the API resets back to 100 again. (Twitter.com has no API limit, which is one of its few major advantages over external clients.)
You can monitor your API usage and the amount remaining within TweetDeck – it’s displayed in the top-right of the screen at all times. But unless you’re very careful with how you use it, it’s very easy to run that API down frustratingly quickly, and then you’ve effectively ‘locked out’ of TweetDeck until the API resets.
There are lots of tutorials on TweetDeck around the internet, but few, if any, touch upon saving API. By following the advice in this tutorial, you can cut your API drainage by as much as half, and you’ll likely never run out again.
Basic TweetDeck Configuration
When you first install TweetDeck it defaults to a few simple columns – All Friends, Replies and Direct Messages. This is quite limiting. This is how I set up my TweetDeck:
(click to enlarge)