Easiest Way to Retrieve Twitter Timeline and Hashtags (Twitter OAuth API 1.1)

Written by Kevin Liew on 19 Mar 2013
215,300 Views • Tutorials

Introduction

Twitter terminated its old API, and all of my Twitter tutorials have stopped working! So, here is a follow up to show you how easy is it to retrieve user timeline and hashtag with Twitter REST API 1.1. Of course, I don't just stop there. I integrated my previously written script and modified it to work with Grid-A-Licious plugin to create something that's similar with Pinterest.

Before we start, we need to have all the ingredients ready.

  1. You need to create an application. https://dev.twitter.com/apps.
  2. Once you've done that, you need to get your consumer key, consumer secret, access token and access token secret.
  3. For security reason, Twitter OAuth is done through server side, in this tutorial, we're using PHP. To keep things simple, we are using Twitter Library called CodeBird-PHP.
  4. To make all the tweets we retrieve pretty, we will be using Grid-A-Licious

Once you have all that, we are good to good. This tutorial is a modified version of my previous old Twitter API - Create a Twitter Feed With Hash Tag And Cache Support. However, we won't implement cache control here just to make it easier to understand.

HTML

Alright, first stop. Since all HTML Markup will be generated by jQuery, we only need a div with an id called #jstwitter

<div id="jstwitter"></div>
<div class="item">
{IMG}
    <div class="tweet-wrapper">
        <span class="text">{TEXT}</span>
        <span class="time">
            <a href="{URL}" target="_blank">{AGO}</a>
        </span>
        by 
        <span class="user">{USER}</span>
    </div>
</div>

CSS

I keep CSS really simple, because in the end, I don't think you will be using mine, you probably will style it up according to your website design. So, I spice thing up a little bit. I'm going to create Pinterest style with Grid-A-Licious.

#jstwitter {
    position: relative;
}
#jstwitter .item {
    -webkit-border-radius:5px;
    -moz-border-radius:5px;
    border-radius:5px;
    -webkit-box-shadow:0 0 3px 1px rgba(100,100,100,0.2);
    -moz-box-shadow:0 0 3px 1px rgba(100,100,100,0.2);
    box-shadow:0 0 3px 1px rgba(100,100,100,0.2);
    overflow:hidden;
    background: #fff;
}
#jstwitter .tweet-wrapper {
    padding:10px;
    -webkit-box-sizing:border-box;
    -moz-box-sizing:border-box;
    box-sizing:border-box;
    line-height:16px;
}
#jstwitter .item a {
    text-decoration: none;
    color: #03a8e5;
}
#jstwitter .item img {
    width:100%;
}
#jstwitter .item a:hover {
    text-decoration: underline;
}
#jstwitter .item .text {
    display:block;
}
#jstwitter .item .time, #jstwitter .tweet .user {
    font-style: italic;
    color: #666666;    
}

PHP

I keep it really simple. We're not going to write our own PHP OAuth authentication, we will be using a Twitter Library called CodeBird-PHP. CodeBird makes it ridiculously easy to get authenticated. You may want to read more about it - CodeBird Documentation. As long as you get all the keys, tokens and secrets right, you should have any problems at all.

I have write inline comment in the following PHP script. If you want to add cache control to beat the rate limits in Twitter API. Here is the place you need to modify it.

<?
//We use already made Twitter OAuth library
//https://github.com/mynetx/codebird-php
require_once ('codebird.php');

//Twitter OAuth Settings
$CONSUMER_KEY = '...';
$CONSUMER_SECRET = '...';
$ACCESS_TOKEN = '...';
$ACCESS_TOKEN_SECRET = '...';

//Get authenticated
Codebird::setConsumerKey($CONSUMER_KEY, $CONSUMER_SECRET);
$cb = Codebird::getInstance();
$cb->setToken($ACCESS_TOKEN, $ACCESS_TOKEN_SECRET);

//retrieve posts
$q = $_POST['q'];
$count = $_POST['count'];
$api = $_POST['api'];

//https://dev.twitter.com/docs/api/1.1/get/statuses/user_timeline
//https://dev.twitter.com/docs/api/1.1/get/search/tweets
$params = array(
'screen_name' => $q,
'q' => $q,
'count' => $count
);

//Make the REST call
$data = (array) $cb->$api($params);

//Output result in JSON, getting it ready for jQuery to process
echo json_encode($data);
?>

Javascript / jQuery

Lastly, the Javascript. We called the PHP we just created. Depend on the parameters, I have made it so you can either search for hashtag, or load a user timeline. It send the parameters to the PHP file above, and PHP script get us authenticated, and PHP returns Twitter data in JSON format. The following scripts read the data and parse them in to HTML markup.

For more information about the Twitter Object, you can read it here.

$(function() {		
			
JQTWEET = {
     
    // Set twitter hash/user, number of tweets & id/class to append tweets
    // You need to clear tweet-date.txt before toggle between hash and user
    // for multiple hashtags, you can separate the hashtag with OR, eg:
    // hash: '%23jquery OR %23css'			    
    search: '%23heroes2013', //leave this blank if you want to show user's tweet
    user: 'quenesstestacc', //username
    numTweets: 21, //number of tweets
    appendTo: '#jstwitter',
    useGridalicious: true,
    template: '<div class="item">{IMG}<div class="tweet-wrapper"><span class="text">{TEXT}</span>\
               <span class="time"><a href="{URL}" target="_blank">{AGO}</a></span>\
               by <span class="user">{USER}</span></div></div>',
     
    // core function of jqtweet
    // https://dev.twitter.com/docs/using-search
    loadTweets: function() {

        var request;
         
        // different JSON request {hash|user}
        if (JQTWEET.search) {
          request = {
              q: JQTWEET.search,
              count: JQTWEET.numTweets,
              api: 'search_tweets'
          }
        } else {
          request = {
              q: JQTWEET.user,
              count: JQTWEET.numTweets,
              api: 'statuses_userTimeline'
          }
        }

        $.ajax({
            url: 'grabtweets.php',
            type: 'POST',
            dataType: 'json',
            data: request,
            success: function(data, textStatus, xhr) {
	            
	            if (data.httpstatus == 200) {
	            	if (JQTWEET.search) data = data.statuses;

                var text, name, img;	         
                	                
                try {
                  // append tweets into page
                  for (var i = 0; i < JQTWEET.numTweets; i++) {		
                  
                    img = '';
                    url = 'http://twitter.com/' + data[i].user.screen_name + '/status/' + data[i].id_str;
                    try {
                      if (data[i].entities['media']) {
                        img = '<a href="' + url + '" target="_blank"><img data-src="' + data[i].entities['media'][0].media_url + '" /></a>';
                      }
                    } catch (e) {  
                      //no media
                    }
                  
                    $(JQTWEET.appendTo).append( JQTWEET.template.replace('{TEXT}', JQTWEET.ify.clean(data[i].text) )
                        .replace('{USER}', data[i].user.screen_name)
                        .replace('{IMG}', img)                                
                        .replace('{AGO}', JQTWEET.timeAgo(data[i].created_at) )
                        .replace('{URL}', url )			                            
                        );
                  }
                
                } catch (e) {
                  //item is less than item count
                }
                
	             if (JQTWEET.useGridalicious) {                
	                //run grid-a-licious
			$(JQTWEET.appendTo).gridalicious({
				gutter: 13, 
				width: 200, 
				animate: true
			});	                   
		     }                  
                    
               } else alert('no data returned');
             
            }   
 
        });
 
    }, 
     
         
    /**
      * relative time calculator FROM TWITTER
      * @param {string} twitter date string returned from Twitter API
      * @return {string} relative time like "2 minutes ago"
      */
    timeAgo: function(dateString) {
        var rightNow = new Date();
        var then = new Date(dateString);
         
        if ($.browser.msie) {
            // IE can't parse these crazy Ruby dates
            then = Date.parse(dateString.replace(/( \+)/, ' UTC$1'));
        }
 
        var diff = rightNow - then;
 
        var second = 1000,
        minute = second * 60,
        hour = minute * 60,
        day = hour * 24,
        week = day * 7;
 
        if (isNaN(diff) || diff < 0) {
            return ""; // return blank string if unknown
        }
 
        if (diff < second * 2) {
            // within 2 seconds
            return "right now";
        }
 
        if (diff < minute) {
            return Math.floor(diff / second) + " seconds ago";
        }
 
        if (diff < minute * 2) {
            return "about 1 minute ago";
        }
 
        if (diff < hour) {
            return Math.floor(diff / minute) + " minutes ago";
        }
 
        if (diff < hour * 2) {
            return "about 1 hour ago";
        }
 
        if (diff < day) {
            return  Math.floor(diff / hour) + " hours ago";
        }
 
        if (diff > day && diff < day * 2) {
            return "yesterday";
        }
 
        if (diff < day * 365) {
            return Math.floor(diff / day) + " days ago";
        }
 
        else {
            return "over a year ago";
        }
    }, // timeAgo()
     
     
    /**
      * The Twitalinkahashifyer!
      * http://www.dustindiaz.com/basement/ify.html
      * Eg:
      * ify.clean('your tweet text');
      */
    ify:  {
      link: function(tweet) {
        return tweet.replace(/\b(((https*\:\/\/)|www\.)[^\"\']+?)(([!?,.\)]+)?(\s|$))/g, function(link, m1, m2, m3, m4) {
          var http = m2.match(/w/) ? 'http://' : '';
          return '<a class="twtr-hyperlink" target="_blank" href="' + http + m1 + '">' + ((m1.length > 25) ? m1.substr(0, 24) + '...' : m1) + '</a>' + m4;
        });
      },
 
      at: function(tweet) {
        return tweet.replace(/\B[@@]([a-zA-Z0-9_]{1,20})/g, function(m, username) {
          return '<a target="_blank" class="twtr-atreply" href="http://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=' + username + '">@' + username + '</a>';
        });
      },
 
      list: function(tweet) {
        return tweet.replace(/\B[@@]([a-zA-Z0-9_]{1,20}\/\w+)/g, function(m, userlist) {
          return '<a target="_blank" class="twtr-atreply" href="http://twitter.com/' + userlist + '">@' + userlist + '</a>';
        });
      },
 
      hash: function(tweet) {
        return tweet.replace(/(^|\s+)#(\w+)/gi, function(m, before, hash) {
          return before + '<a target="_blank" class="twtr-hashtag" href="http://twitter.com/search?q=%23' + hash + '">#' + hash + '</a>';
        });
      },
 
      clean: function(tweet) {
        return this.hash(this.at(this.list(this.link(tweet))));
      }
    } // ify
 
     
};		

});

And finally, you run the script like this:

$(function () {
    // start jqtweet!
    JQTWEET.loadTweets();
});

Conclusion

That's it my friend. If you have knowledge in both backend and frontend, web development can be easier. We can reuse a lot of scripts, for example, we use CodeBird, Gridalicious, my previous Twitter scripts. What we did right here, we use it, modify it, and bang, we have a working beautiful twitter feed interface.

I hope you will find this tutorial useful, if you have any question, don't hesitate to drop us a comment. :)

Demo Download
Join the discussion

Comments will be moderated and rel="nofollow" will be added to all links. You can wrap your coding with [code][/code] to make use of built-in syntax highlighter.

185 comments
sumit Dadhich 9 years ago
hello Kevin,
this code is don't work and and massage show is:
Easiest Way to Retrieve Twitter Timeline and Hashtags (Twitter OAuth API 1.1)
Twitter terminated its old API, and most of my tutorials stopped working! So, here is the follow up to show you how easy is it to retrieve user timeline and also hashtag. Of course, I don't just stop there. I integrated my previously written script and modified it to work with Grid-A-Licious plugin to create something that's similar with Pinterest. Read Tutorial

Please reply how to use this code .now this code run in localhost server.
Reply
Pedro Oliveira 9 years ago
So I've been trying to get this to work have not had any luck.

I don't get any errors js or php errors. When I look at my grabtweets.php XHR response in chrome tools, I get my index.html and not an array.

Do you know what could possibly be the problem? I'm all out of ideas. I'm running php 5.3 on my server.
Reply
Pedro Oliveira 9 years ago
Alright.. I'm all out of ideas. So if I go to the "Network" tab in chrome tools, I click on grabtweet.php and I check the response and I see the json data.. Now it's just not displaying on my page.

If I console.log(JQTWEET) i see the object and the right parameters that I have applied, but under the 'loadTweets" function i get a length of 0

Any clue why that is?
Reply
Dwayne 9 years ago
Hi Kevin, thanks for pulling this together. I realize this question is likely obtuse, but I'm not much of a coder (and that's being generous).

I'd like to put my twitter feed in an unordered list. From experimentation, it seems I have to have the append in either a span or a div, which messes with the formatting. The list is wrapped in a div, so i could call it from there, if there is a way to hardcode in the ul and then have the array cycle through the li elements.

Just to make sure I'm being clear about the piece of this I need help with, is there a spot that I can prepend the array output to insert my ul element, before I start cycling through the timeline and outputting the line items? If so, where?

If it'd help to past in some code, let me know.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
Reply
Samy 9 years ago
Great development!
Any idea how to add the face (avatar image) of the sender?
Thanks
Samy
Reply
Michael 9 years ago
If you this code to continue working for IE users with jQuery 1.9 and 1.10 you need to change the following.

From:
if ($.browser.msie) {
// IE can't parse these crazy Ruby dates
then = Date.parse(dateString.replace(/( \+)/, ' UTC$1'));
}

To:
if ( navigator.userAgent.match(/msie/i) ) {
// IE can't parse these crazy Ruby dates
then = Date.parse(dateString.replace(/( \+)/, ' UTC$1'));
}

This is because $.browser is deprecated.

/Michael
Reply
Ashley Mosuro 9 years ago
Kevin,

It seems your code is not working with the latest versions of JQuery.

Tried using it with 2.0.3 and I get the 'no data returned' error, but when using 1.7.1 it works fine.

Could you shed any light on this? Or perhaps advise a fix?
Reply
Mark Haller 9 years ago
Hi Ashley

Same problem here - been debugging a while this morning.

The problem is $.browser was deprecated then removed fully from jQuery.

the line if ($.browser.msie) { in the JS causes the problem.

Thankfully, I'm integrating this into an existing app that uses Foundation and Modernizr - so modernizr will give me what I need to replace that line.

Hope that helps!
Reply
Gustavo 9 years ago
Parabéns!!! #top
Reply
andre 9 years ago
is it possible to cache this with your other turorial?
i get an error no data returned.
previous comments did not work for me.
Reply
Hollyc 9 years ago
I'd really appreciate some help - I keep getting an error in the console '405 (not allowed)'. I'm hosting on Githut - might this be the problem?
Reply
syscoid 9 years ago
hi Kevin,
this script running well, if we add the paging example:
search: '%23heroes2013', //leave this blank if you want to show user's tweet
user: 'quenesstestacc', //username
numTweets: 400, //number of tweets

I will make paging in HTML,in script:
$(function () {
// start jqtweet!
JQTWEET.loadTweets();
});

whether it can be made paging?

Reply
syscoid 9 years ago
some problem with php & apache on OS X maverick
<script type="text/javascript">
$(function () {
// start jqtweet!
JQTWEET.loadTweets();
});
</script>

why this scripts not working on localhost OS X maverick, but if on os mountain Lion no problem..
can given me solution for that..

thanks
Reply
piersoft 9 years ago
Please, in grabtweets, start with <?php and not only <?
Reply