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

Written by Kevin Liew on 19 Mar 2013
215,306 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. :)

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185 comments
Anthosiast 9 years ago
Hello, that worked great for me however, where should I add for Geolocation? Thanks.
Reply
erik 8 years ago
How can I exclude (ban) one or more twitter account?
Reply
erik 8 years ago
How can I ban same hashtag from one (or two) twitter account?
Reply
sandip 8 years ago
it's working fine, but the issue is, i m not getting the field in the result set
"media_url_https" from array
Reply
Ole 8 years ago
Hey Kevin,
another user already asked the thing I'm looking for, too. The question is to how just show hashtag tweets containing images.

You replied: "You can put script 65-70 into line 60. Then, it will display image only." ... but that won't work. Could you maybe show how that piece of code will look when changed?

Thank you! Your help is much appreciated!
Reply
kevn Admin 8 years ago
Hi Ole, if you observed the data receive via AJAX, you should see each tweet {index}>entities>media contains images. You can use if else statement to check that and output accordingly.
Reply
rom4in 8 years ago
Hello
it seems your code does not work with the latest version of codebird.
Do you get an issue if you download latest on codebird (3.0.0-dev)?
Reply
Dan 8 years ago
Hi,

When using the "search" option to search for tweets containing a specific hashtag, no results are shown for a specific hashtag. Every other hash I have tried works fine, but not this one. If I create a new tweet with the hash, it shows in my feed.

Any ideas? I thought it might be to do with the API Rate Limits but can't be sure.

Thanks

Thanks
Reply
Sam 8 years ago
Can a refresh feature be added to this?if so,how?
Reply
jose 8 years ago
hi. what about if i want to show the number of the tweet was marked as fav or a direct link to retweet ir? is that possible?
Reply
Moo 8 years ago
Hello,

it's possible to set - show tweets with media/picture?

Thaaanks!
Reply
Alberto 8 years ago
Hi;

Like Moo, I have the same request...

It's possible to show ONLY tweets with media/picture?

Thanks!
Reply
Awais 8 years ago
Hi Kevin ,

i only get alert that " no data returned " . please guide .

thanks
Reply
awais 8 years ago
Thankyou kevn It helps me alot today . have happy helpings bro :-)
Reply