Adding Tweetledee to my site

What about some Tweets?

Twitter does not need an introduction…

I have my own account through which I tweet anything I like to share with the World. It could be a quick thought, a cool picture or some really fascinating article, I always try to keep it interesting, at least for myself :smile:

I recently became more active on Twitter and since I have this blog, I figured it would be cool to include my Twitter stream on my own website in a fun way.

Even-though Twitter offers ways to include your tweets using Twitter’s own widgets, I still wanted to have more control over how my tweets appeared on my site.

I wanted to display my latest tweets plus the tweets from other people which I favorited for future reference.

To control how the tweets would show up on my site, I knew I needed an application which would transform my Tweets into the super convenient JSON format so I could manipulate them using JavaScript and CSS.

How I found Tweetledee

The talented team of GDG Lviv had created this excellent template for their GDG DevFest 2014 event and I noticed that they had integrated Tweets into their “cover” home page. Since they were so nice to open-source the whole site on Github, I saw they had implemented Tweetledee!

So I did a quick search and found the Tweetledee Github page. I learned that Tweetledee is a PHP library made by Chris Simpkins (@csimpkins) together with various contributors, always a good sign of project quality.

It looked easy to set up and offered exactly what I needed, plus on top of that Chris did an excellent job at writing exactly what needs to be done to have things going in a fabulous “Three Minute Install” Guide, so I decided to give it a go.

The set up was extremely easy

So I planned to use the Tweetledee application on a subdomain on my hosting account, so it would be nice and snug in it’s own environment.

After I downloaded the latest version of Tweetledee, I had to set my newly created Twitter App consumer keys in the designated PHP file and I was good to go.

I then transfered all Tweetledee files using my favourite FTP client FileZilla to my web space and Bob’s your uncle.

Why a sub domain?

The sub domain helps for setting up specific security .htaccess rules to allow cross-side scripting headers rules which are quite important since you don’t want just anyone to be able to take advantage of your Tweetledee set-up and steal your precious bandwidth, right?

The .htaccess commands:

SetEnvIf Origin "^http(s)?://(.+\.)?(johanbove\.info)$" origin_is=$0 
Header always set Access-Control-Allow-Origin %{origin_is}e env=origin_is

By defining “allow-origin” headers in the .htaccess file in my sub domain I can control who gets to call up my Tweets from my Tweetledee installation.

Plus additionally my hosting, Antagonist.nl, offers old-skool site statistics with Webalizer per sub domain, so this allows me to keep an eye on how much traffic to my little Tweetledee setup is dealing with and where request are coming from.

Caching

I liked the fact that Tweetledee caches tweets for a specific time to not over-use the limits Twitter sets on its API usage.

Next I followed the clear instructions on the Tweetledee site to create a Twitter “widget” application through which Tweetledee will access my Tweets using Twitter’s API.

JavaScript

When Tweetledee worked fine, I then continued the integration into my site by writing up a simple JavaScript program which implements jQuery’s jQuery.getJSON(), to load the tweets using JSON formatted requests and parse out the contents in HTML which I could then style with some CSS.

See the code below:

Other ways of parsing tweets

Tweetledee also offers parsing your tweets through RSS feeds.

Here are some examples:

Extending my Tweets page

Later I might include the lists, once I actually gotten into using them better, plus I will probably improve the layout of how the tweets look on my site. Perhaps even add in some fancy CSS3 transitions trickery.

Thanks!

Anyhow, Chris gave me a big head-start getting the results I wanted. So a big thank you goes out to him.

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