Two Twitter Twools

Awesome Twitter tools illustration by Matt Miles

Yesterday, I released something I’ve been working on for a long time. It’s a Twitter-related project; it’s called Like it? Tweet it! and stems from a certain annoyance I’ve had for a long time: the general state of “Tweet this” buttons across the internet. Sure, you can advocate that they’re easy because they’re one-clicks, but, once you click on them, most of them result in half-hearted auto-tweets at a time where the opposite is needed. The select people who want to share your stuff are those who like it most—don’t you think they can write something about it themselves?

(Screenshot of Tweet It widget) So my idea was to create an easy-to-install tweet box that would float in the corner of the site when activated, making it easy to write about the site (‘cause you’re looking at it!). Additionally, it would already be populated with a link, thus eliminating the need to have to worry about creating a shortlink and all that. Just write it!

At first, the script directed you to Twitter’s front page to post the tweet, though. However, amid this development, Twitter’s new @anywhere API platform launched: A platform that makes it easy to embed dynamic Twitter.com functionality directly on your site. This was the perfect opportunity: I jumped on this new API and the script, completing the theme of ease of use, now supported tweeting directly from the page. And what was released today is the result. Check out Like it? Tweet it!

The archive

But, as with a lot of good stories, there’s a twist to this one: This isn’t the only Twitter-related thing I’ve been working on.

(Tweet Archive screenshot)

For quite a long time I’ve been thinking about how I could read some of the older tweets I had written a long while back. For example, what was I doing or thinking a year ago?

There’s a couple of hosted tweet backup solutions, but I wanted something I had control over and could modify as I wanted. Then, last month, I came across a personal blog post from Doug Bowman, Twitter’s Creative Director, in which he wrote of a solution he had created for himself based on WordPress and a couple of other tools. The result of this was a browsable and searchable archive of tweets in the shape of a site that simultaneously doubled as a local database backup of all one’s tweets.

However, since it was based on WordPress, created and designed for blogging and not tweet archiving, it had a couple of flaws that I considered deal breakers in my case. But it set the inspiration for a home-grown-from-scratch PHP solution, and thus I spent many days creating my own personal searchable tweet archive. Its additional features include simple graphs, nailing down search queries to months and media embedded in the tweet being automatically thumbnailed and shown next to the tweet.

Very soon, I’m going to make this public as well for everyone to download and install on their own servers. And, just like Like it? Tweet it!, site admins will be the target group. That means that a lot of customization will naturally be available so you can show your kick-ass styling skills while people can browse your funny/clever 140-character utterings in your tweet archive.

One last thing: Right now, it’s just called Tweet Archive, but it could need a better name: If any of you guys have any cool ideas, please send ‘em my way. Finally, as mentioned, it’s not available yet, but you can get a feel for it by checking out my personal tweet archive right now.

Suggestions? Ideas? Questions? This is the time to shoot ‘em off.

42 comments

Søren Hugger Møller wrote at April 26th, 2010, 12:22 PM

Tweet Archive sounds super interesting! Looking forward to try it and see how it can be customised :).

David Collantes wrote at April 26th, 2010, 8:25 PM

This is amazing! Looking forward to having my own installation.

David Collantes wrote at April 26th, 2010, 8:28 PM

As for the name, how are Tweerchive, Chirpchive, Chirplog, Twitup…?

Mark Jensen wrote at April 26th, 2010, 8:40 PM

Please note that you can not fetch more than 3600 tweets via the API, so for someone like me (8000+ tweets), I can't get everything.

Which sucks a lot, since I'd love a complete archive like this (it goes back more than 3 years…)

Andy Graulund wrote at April 26th, 2010, 9:06 PM

Yeah, I'm aware of this superimposed limit which is in fact on 3,200 tweets. It's unfortunate, but there's really nothing I (or anyone else other than Twitter) can do about it.

Mark Jensen wrote at April 26th, 2010, 9:07 PM

And that's exactly my point; if only they'd remove the limit… Until then, I can't wait to try out your archive tool.

Joey Baker wrote at April 27th, 2010, 4:10 AM

Very, very cool. I've got a bunch of thoughts:

• I www.byjoeybaker.com/stream/" rel="nofollow"> rolled by own hack/modification of Doug Bowman's WordPress solution, and have been largely happy with it, but was disappointed by the inability to display permalinks to the original tweet. I'm sure the problem can be solved with a custom WP importer or a script to modify the import file, but I've not gotten around to doing that yet – and that wouldn't solve new tweets.

Long way of saying – you're solution looks grand. My only wish for it would be a live search option (mine is implemented via Dave's Live Search Plugin).

• A way around the 3200 limit: backupify did not seem to be affected by the limit in my use. The output format is significantly less clean than tweetbackup, but it's still an RSS feed that you can parse.

• Name possibilites: I was calling my "stream" but then, i was intending to import additional profiles (Tumblr, Delicious)

Søren Hugger Møller wrote at April 27th, 2010, 12:17 PM

A shame about the 3200 limit. Didn't think of that at all and with my 10k+ tweets that's gonna be an issue. But also an interesting thought from Joey about Backupify. I use it myself, and it does seem to go back much more than 3200. Dosen't seem to go all the way back, hmm

Levi Figueira wrote at April 27th, 2010, 10:16 PM

Tweet Archive is *exactly* something I've been trying to set myself to do and failing to get around doing it… *bad me*

Plus I love the UI! :) Can't wait to try it out…

PS: It'd be *really* awesome if we could get Twitter to allow special (once, or once a month or year) to all our tweets, from the first ones. The API currently doesn't allow downloading over 2000, and for people like me (over 20k) it'd be awesome to be able to download the whole archive and store it somewhere else. I do understand that Twitter doesn't keep all of them indexed for performance reasons, but they have 'em all, so a special query to get them once would be awesome… Do you think that we could do that? :)

Cheers mate.

Gabriel Dorta wrote at April 28th, 2010, 12:40 AM

two days enjoying your work, approach. thanks for making all these thoughts public. inspiring stuff.

i wrote at May 1st, 2010, 2:43 PM

would be cool to test archive tweets on localhost :)

can you send me it on the mail ? anonym.set@gmail.com :)

Amu wrote at May 2nd, 2010, 5:24 PM

This is just epic! I've always wanted to archive my tweets.

David Radcliffe wrote at May 3rd, 2010, 11:35 AM

Sounds awesome! I can't wait to try it out.

Vikram wrote at May 4th, 2010, 6:07 AM

It's simply great!! Outstanding work!! I found one issue though. Somehow the popup is not working when I enable it. Nothing happens! Rest all work like a charm.

Andy Graulund wrote at May 4th, 2010, 7:38 PM

You're right, there was a weird bug there. It's now been fixed, thanks for reporting!

Vikram wrote at May 5th, 2010, 4:44 AM

That's great news. Could you please share the fix. If you have already updated the code on your site then I'll figure that out! Thanks!

Andy Graulund wrote at May 6th, 2010, 8:50 AM

You don't need to update anything as the script files are hosted on my server and thus updated for everyone at the same time.

If anything at all, you might need to do a cache-clearing reload via Ctrl + F5 / Shift + Reload button.

test wrote at May 5th, 2010, 2:34 PM

Where can i download twitter archiver ? :(

Andy Graulund wrote at May 6th, 2010, 8:51 AM

On this site!

It's not out yet though, so I'm afraid you'll have to wait a little while yet. But keep your eyes peeled!

carlos wrote at May 9th, 2010, 8:10 AM

Great work Andy! I think that the two tools are amazing, congratulations!

Ed wrote at May 9th, 2010, 7:18 PM

Can you tell me if the popup is working…I've tried to implement this into my site…I'm using the wordpress plugin….inside of my setting page all customization works except for the popup…Any help would be great!

Awesome work by the way!

Andy Graulund wrote at May 12th, 2010, 5:16 PM

It's working here!

In what way is it breaking? Can you demonstrate this in a HTML file somewhere on your server? That'd be helpful.

e wrote at May 13th, 2010, 2:50 AM

Andy - It seems to be working fine now…maybe I was having a conflict with another plugin…not sure…but thanks…I have it up and running on my site and it's brillant!

Andy Graulund wrote at May 19th, 2010, 9:20 PM

That actually doesn't sound bad! I might just steal/use your obvious idea.

Josh Betz wrote at May 16th, 2010, 11:57 PM

Do you know when this is going to be released?

Andy Graulund wrote at May 19th, 2010, 9:18 PM

My own internal ETA for the project has been pushed back several times, so that's why it isn't out yet. But I really feel like I'm working on the very last bits of the project now, so hopefully there's not a very long time left.

Castor wrote at May 20th, 2010, 12:33 PM

Is it possible that we can send some text dynamically to the twitter box? I mean, I will have like 20 Tweet this links on the page, and depending on the number of the link that is being clicked, a corresponding text should be added to the tweet.

Luma Rosa wrote at May 20th, 2010, 1:58 PM

Liking to know of your commitment and help us that much. Tweet file, rules!

hiii wrote at May 21st, 2010, 4:57 PM

pls release BETA so we can help with with bugs :)

alba wrote at June 1st, 2010, 7:20 PM

It's a really awesome project. I can't wait to try my hands at it whenever you release it to the public. Hopefully it's sooner than later :D

rands wrote at July 7th, 2010, 3:18 AM

Really looking forward to giving Tweet Archive a whirl. Been looking for something like this for some tim.e

Andy Graulund wrote at July 8th, 2010, 11:44 PM

No need to look forward any longer! It's been out for a month now.

omponk wrote at July 7th, 2010, 5:55 PM

Like it? Tweet it! → Thanks anyway

The Frosty wrote at August 12th, 2010, 5:30 AM

Liking the archive tool, but curious on how your calculating the percentage widths on the archive sidebar?

I'm looking at the code but not understanding it very well. Looks something like the month divided my the maximum something times a hundred..

Care to clarify?

Andy Graulund wrote at August 15th, 2010, 9:51 PM

Hi Frosty,

That is simply calculating how big the number of tweets in the appropriate month is, compared to the number of tweets in the month with the most tweets.

Example below for 25 tweets in the "current" month (the variable) and 200 tweets in the month with the most tweets (a constant):

(25 / 200) * 100 = 12,5%

Nyssa wrote at August 13th, 2010, 7:08 AM

Hey Andy,

Just stopped by to say I love both of these. I installed Tweet Nest and will be using Like It? Tweet It! on my new blog. Both just show us how awesome we already know you are!

Both were very easy to install, which makes a nice change ;P

corecomments wrote at September 4th, 2010, 1:26 PM

both are nice and great projects don't know about the first i don't get that much traffic that people would stop by to write about site that too using twitter ouath
but second i mean twitter archive looks impressive would use it definitely Doug's archive was good and simple but this one is with inline media
thanks Andy

adam wrote at September 14th, 2010, 2:14 PM

I tried to install your tweet archiving tool, but when I go to the inc\config.php page all I get is a blank page!

I verified that my php version is 5.2+.

ANy thoughts?

Andy Graulund wrote at September 16th, 2010, 3:44 PM

Hi Adam,

You need to change the contents of config.php by opening it in a plain text editor (such as Notepad), and reupload it once edited — visiting it in your browser won't do anything.

pandora wrote at November 10th, 2010, 9:13 AM

Then, of course, you have to create the link element for the script to bind to it

Commission Siphon wrote at May 3rd, 2011, 3:00 PM

This type of business usually falls to the rest of the group but I was able to go click cash and become theniche reaper.

Shoot me a mention on Twitter if you want to comment on this post. Cheers!

pongsocket

Pongsocket is the visual blog and creative outlet by 24-year old Andy Graulund from Copenhagen, Denmark.

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