GO FOR IT – Part 3, Twitter
Get social and integrate the hottest networking services into your web-design projects, with a special look at Google+, Facebook and Twitter
This feature originally appeared in Web Designer issue 190, authored by Matt Gifford and Pete Simmons
Download the full code examples associated with this feature.
Twitter’s extensive API gives developers the ability to create intricate custom applications to interact with the services and all users, and a wide range of open-source libraries are freely available for pretty much any scripting language to get you up and running.
When dealing with user data and status updates from your own custom application, you must deal with authentication and security, which includes navigating the often mindblowing task of handling authentication through the OAuth protocol and dealing with access keys, tokens and user permissions.
For any users or developers who wish to provide a slightly more interactive application into their web applications or sites without having to run in circles dealing with these often confusing authentication issues, Twitter released Web Intents. This is a well-packaged set of functions which assists in integrating Twitter functionality without the need for keys and tokens, and can be set up once again with a few lines of code pasted into your site.
These functions are also mobile friendly so regardless of which device your visitor uses to enter your site, they can still use your Twitter features. The functions available include tweeting or replying to a tweet, retweeting or making a tweet a favourite, as well as ‘following’.
The simplicity of use and ease of development with these snippets removes any possible issues with integration for any developer. You can find out more by reading the full documentation for Web Intents here: https://dev.twitter.com/docs/intents.
Twitter has revolutionised the web since its launch in 2006. Certainly over the last few years its popularity has grown immensely as more and more people are using it for a wide variety of reasons – from promotional posts, help requests or support and marketing through to simply using it as a community-based environment to stay in touch with acquaintances.
The limited 140 characters means that information has to be concise and make the most of every space. Thanks to its well-structured architecture it is incredibly easy to follow members, retweet, reply to or bookmark an interesting tweet using the ability to mark as a ‘favourite’.
For users, Twitter is a great way to simply find and follow and connect with individuals or organisations of interest and keep track of any important posts or content they share with the world.
For web and creative professionals, Twitter can be a particularly important tool. It helps us stay in touch with our relevant online community members, lets us keep up to date with the latest news, demos, releases and technology trends, and provides us with
the ability to promote our services, work and anything else that we wish people to know about us and what we are up to. As such, gathering and keeping followers is the key to ensuring that we are speaking to the masses as opposed to a vacuum.