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Posts Tagged ‘blackbird pie’

Twitter Announces Web Intents – Embeddable, Functional Tweets For Bloggers And Websites

Adding tweets to blog posts and websites has always been a little bit of a pain in the derriere. Most of us copy and paste the tweets as images into Photoshop and ‘embed’ them that way, but it’s a bit of a chore. More importantly, any functionality within the tweet is not preserved in the image, which can be confusing for readers, and is far from an optimal way to display this content.

In May last year, Twitter half-announced a feature called Blackbird Pie, which allowed bloggers to embed tweets into their posts. However, it was never meant to be an official product but simply more of an experiment by Twitter media guy Robin Sloan. Good thing too, as it was pretty hideous.

Finally, we get an official product from Twitter’s web development team, and it’s called Web Intents.

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More On Blackbird Pie From Twitter's Robin Sloan

I feel bad for Blackbird Pie-creator Robin Sloan, who evidently got an earful after the feature tool was released yesterday.

So I just want to add a stronger caveat here. First of all: I think we’ll drop the royal “we” on Twitter Media from now on–it’s confusing. To be clear, this is just @robinsloan here, pitching a little hack of mine. Please regard it as such, even though it lives on this fancy domain. Seeing people call it a “feature” is making me cringe, because I know what kind of care goes into real Twitter features! This is not one of those.

Let me underscore the point: in the course of writing this blog, I coded up a simple script that I found helpful, so I decided to share it with you. It’s a prototype. It’s really rough. It doesn’t even work in a lot of places! But that’s what we mean by “experiment,” right? And, as part of the Twitter Media team, I couldn’t credibly ask producers and developers at media companies to experiment and prototype if I wasn’t doing the same thing myself.

And yes, I know it doesn’t work on Tumblr.

I wondered why it didn’t warrant a mention on the official Twitter blog. Now we know.

In my case, I feel that perhaps Humble Pie is more appropriate, certainly after the gaff I made last night. What can I say? It was very late, and I was very tired. In my weakened state, I failed to pay much attention to what was in the code, instead focusing on the size of the thing which, while still several orders of magnitude too large, does actually embed most of the important stuff, protecting you in case it gets deleted (on Twitter).

I mean, I still won’t use it – at this stage, I think image-grabbed tweets present better, and you just have to look at this awful page from The Guardian to see how local styling can make Twitter look really quite horrible – but all credit to Robin for putting this together, especially as it was all on his own back.

Twitter Launches The Blackbird Pie Tweet Embedder (And Man, Is It Ugly)

We were told it would be very simple. And it is. But nobody said it would be so ugly.

Earlier today, Twitter launched Blackbird Pie, a tool which allows you to convert tweets into embeddable code that can be placed onto any website. It’s a nice idea, certainly from Twitter’s perspective, as all those embedded tweets can easily be tracked and accounted for.

What we really wanted was just a couple of lines of code. You know, something elegant that you could quickly add to any website.

Instead, we get this monstrosity.


Man, that’s a lot of code. It’s nice that it styles itself to my site, but it might be easier if all that was controlled on the other end. As it is, embed more than a handful of tweets into your site and now that is your site.

Sure, they might provide more functionality, but a simple IMG tag is one line of code.

What Twitter has accomplished here is a way to protect embedded tweets, on the off-chance that the original poster (or Twitter themselves) deletes the source. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been established in a far more elegant manner.

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