I’ve been using two awesome tools recently to connect my applications to Twitter events. If you want to hook up your application to incoming Tweets without having to get access to the firehose then you should consider using this setup.
WebHooks are a way for web applications to trigger events in other web applications. More on that later…
Step 1: Sign up for Notifo
Notifo (http://www.notifo.com/) is a Push Messaging system that allows web apps to deliver notifications to end users without email or SMS. It’s very fast and it gives the end user a great deal of power to configure how and when they wish to get notifications. The Notifo team is Chad Etzel (@jazzychad) and Paul Stamatiou (@Stammy). These are two great guys with degrees from Georgia Tech (like me!) who are living in San Francisco now and putting 150% effort into building and growing their product.
Go to notifo.com, click the big signup button and fill out the form to get your credentials. Once you have those, go to the App Store and download the Notifo client and if you are a Mac user too then get the Growl Notification app as well.
Step 2: Sign Up for Push.ly
Push.ly is a service that reads the Twitter fire hose and pushes events into Notifo for you. This saves you a huge amount of effort.
Signing up for Push.ly which only requires OAuth from Twitter to get you started.
Once you do that you’ll see a form like this one.
Don’t worry about the Mobile Twitter Client selection yet. Once you’ve filled in the Notifo handle you created in the first step scroll down to see this:
If you just leave this empty you will have set up for yourself a great way to be notified about Twitter events for your own account. You can turn off the polling feature in your mobile Twitter client and save battery power too! But we’re going to go a step further and set up something more fun. Put the handles of some Twitter feeds that you’d like to be notified about into these boxes and then press the big “Do It!” button at the bottom.
Step 3: The Notifo WebHook
Now go back to notifo.com and click on Settings and then Notifications. You will see an input field for the URL of a webhook that will also get notifications in addition to your other Notifo clients.
The documentation on how these work is here. It spells out the message format your application will receive when events happen.
That’s all you have to do and now your application will get webhooks for Twitter events! It’s much easier this way than writing your own massively threaded and complicated application to consume the Twitter firehose.
Since Notifo services can have webhooks and Notifo users can send messages to other users and to services it’s possible to construct “bots” that can read and reply to Notifo messages.
You can also use my OpenVBX plugin to get notifications about caller behavior as well.
Good luck and happy hacking!
- Notifo: a notifications inbox (dougbelshaw.com)
- How To: Create Bots with Notifo User Messaging (notifo.com)
- Wufoo (YC W06) integrates Notifo (YC W10) for form notifications (wufoo.com)
- Creating Bots with Notifo (YC W10) User Messaging (api.notifo.com)