Tutorials

Create a Twitter Feed with Attached Images from Media Entities

Written by Kevin Liew on 15 Aug 2011
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Introduction

Twitter has added a new feature a while ago that I believe a lot of twitter users have been waiting for - Image Attachment. Also, not too long ago, I wrote a tutorial called Create a Dead Simple Twitter Feed with jQuery, one of the readers (Jamie Graham) asked about twitter media entities, well honestly, when I was building the script for the tutorial, I did not paid attention on the JSON data returned, I just grab what I need. I sat down and did a little bit of research, and I believe it'd be something fun to do so I made a second part of the twitter feed with jQuery.

This time, it will be a little bit more interesting, I modified my previous script and added some cool plugins, everything was done less than an hour, and it looks pretty good! I used my favourite modal window - FancyBox and masonry plugin in this tutorial. This is how it looks like:

UPDATE: I forgot to mention one thing! Twitter has rate limits. You can only call this API 150 times per hour per IP. The best way to solve this is using cache. So, instead of calling the API in $.ajax call, you get it from your server. A PHP is scheduled (a href="http://adminschoice.com/crontab-quick-reference">CRON Job to retrieve updated twitter feed in certain time and create the cache file once it's loaded. Don't worry, nettuts just released a tutorial about it :) How to Create An Advanced Twitter Widget

UPDATE: We have written an updated version of Twitter API tutorial based on Twitter Newest API 1.1. - Easiest Way to Retrieve Twitter Timeline and Hashtags


Create a Twitter Feed with Attached Images from Media Entities

HTML

The following is the HTML generate by Javascript, there are two different layout, one with image and one without. You can tweak the layout in twitter.js

 
<div id="jstwitter">
    <div class="tweet">
        Tweet Text here
        <div class="time">
			relative date here
        </div>
    </div>
 
    <div class="tweet">
        <a href="http://url" class="fancy"><img src="image path" alt="" width="150"></a> 
        Tweet Text here
        <div class="time">
			relative date here
        </div>
    </div>
    
    ......
    ......
    ......
    
</div>

CSS

Just a simple and clean CSS style to accomodate jQuery Masonry. It will be a 150px fixed width blocks.

 
#jstwitter {
	width: 80%;
	font-family: arial;
	font-size: 15px;
	color: #333333;
	padding: 10px;
	margin:0 auto;
}
 
#jstwitter .tweet {
	width: 150px;
	margin:5px;
	padding: 5px;
	float:left;
	background:#f1f1f1;
	border:3px solid #ddd;
}
 
#jstwitter .tweet a {
	text-decoration: none;
	color: #13c9d0;
}
 
#jstwitter .tweet a:hover {
	text-decoration: underline;
}
 
#jstwitter .tweet .time {
	font-size: 10px;
	font-style: italic;
	color: #666666;
}

Twitter JSON Data

Something you need to know about the JSON data returned by Twitter API:

  • Media contains array of objects, if you have more than one images attached in the tweet, the first image will be media[0], media[1] and so on. You probably need to use for loop to loop through it. In this tutorial we will grab the first image only.
  • This tutorial uses media_url, you also can use the https version called media_url_https.
  • 4 different image sizes: large, medium, small and thumbnail.
  • To retrieve different image size, for example, thumbnail, you need to use either media_url or media_url_https and append a colon plus the size

    eg: http://p.twimg.com/AQ9JtQsCEAA7dEN.jpg:thumbnail
    eg: http://p.twimg.com/AQ9JtQsCEAA7dEN.jpg:large

    You can test it on your browser.
 
"text": "#Photos on Twitter: taking flight http://t.co/qbJx26r",
"entities": {
  "media": [
    {
      "id": 76360760611180544,
      "id_str": "76360760611180544",
      "media_url": "http://p.twimg.com/AQ9JtQsCEAA7dEN.jpg",
      "media_url_https": "https://p.twimg.com/AQ9JtQsCEAA7dEN.jpg",
      "url": "http://t.co/qbJx26r",
      "display_url": "pic.twitter.com/qbJx26r",
      "expanded_url": "http://twitter.com/twitter/status/76360760606986241/photo/1",
      "sizes": {
        "large": {
          "w": 700,
          "resize": "fit",
          "h": 466
        },
        "medium": {
          "w": 600,
          "resize": "fit",
          "h": 399
        },
        "small": {
          "w": 340,
          "resize": "fit",
          "h": 226
        },
        "thumb": {
          "w": 150,
          "resize": "crop",
          "h": 150
        }
      },
      "type": "photo",
      "indices": [
        34,
        53
      ]
    }
  ],
  "urls": [
  ],
  "user_mentions": [
  ],
  "hashtags": [
  ]
 
}

Javascript

You will need to refer to my previous tutorial, Create a Dead Simple Twitter Feed with jQuery to understand hows everything work together.

We will integrate jQuery Masonry and Fancy box in this tutorial. Both of them will be activated once data are fully loaded.

 
JQTWEET = {
	
	// Set twitter username, number of tweets & id/class to append tweets
	user: 'quenesstestacc',
	numTweets: 20,
	appendTo: '#jstwitter',
 
	// core function of jqtweet
	loadTweets: function() {
		$.ajax({
			url: 'http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.json/',
			type: 'GET',
			dataType: 'jsonp',
			data: {
				screen_name: JQTWEET.user,
				include_rts: true,
				count: JQTWEET.numTweets,
				include_entities: true
			},
			success: function(data, textStatus, xhr) {
 
				 var html = '<div class="tweet">IMG_TAG TWEET_TEXT<div class="time">AGO</div>';
				 var img;
				 // append tweets into page
				 for (var i = 0; i < data.length; i++) {
				
					//this is where we grab the image, only generate the HTML code if media entities were found in the JSON data
				try {
					if (data[i].entities.media) {
						img = '<a href="' + data[i].entities.media[0].media_url + ':large" class="fancy">';
						img += '<img src="' + data[i].entities.media[0].media_url + ':thumb" alt="" width="150" />';
						img += '</a>';
					} else {
						img = '';
					}
				} catch (e) {
					//e
				} 
					
					$(JQTWEET.appendTo).append(
						html.replace('IMG_TAG', img)
							.replace('TWEET_TEXT', JQTWEET.ify.clean(data[i].text, img) )
							.replace(/USER/g, data[i].user.screen_name)
							.replace('AGO', JQTWEET.timeAgo(data[i].created_at) )
							.replace(/ID/g, data[i].id_str)							
					);
										
				 }
				
				//trigger jQuery Masonry once all data are loaded				
				var $container = $('#jstwitter');
				$container.imagesLoaded(function(){
				  $container.masonry({
				    itemSelector : '.tweet',
				    columnWidth : 0,
				    isAnimated: true
				  });
				});		
				
				//the last step, activate fancybox 
				$("a.fancy").fancybox({
					'overlayShow'	: false,
					'transitionIn'	: 'elastic',
					'transitionOut'	: 'elastic',
					'overlayShow'	: true
				});							 					
				
			}	
 
		});
		
	}, 
	
		
	/**
      * 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) { 
		......
		......
		......
		
	}, // timeAgo()
    
	
    /**
      * The Twitalinkahashifyer!
      * http://www.dustindiaz.com/basement/ify.html
      * Eg:
      * ify.clean('your tweet text');
      */
    ify:  {
    
      //the purpose of hasIMG parameter is to remove all the unnessary links if there is images,
      //otherwise, parse link as usual
      link: function(tweet, hasIMG) {
        return tweet.replace(/\b(((https*\:\/\/)|www\.)[^\"\']+?)(([!?,.\)]+)?(\s|$))/g, function(link, m1, m2, m3, m4) {
          var http = m2.match(/w/) ? 'http://' : '';
          if (hasIMG) return '';
          else return '<a class="twtr-hyperlink" target="_blank" href="' + http + m1 + '">' + ((m1.length > 25) ? m1.substr(0, 24) + '...' : m1) + '</a>' + m4;
        });
      },
	
		......
		......
		......
	
	  //added hasIMG parameter
      clean: function(tweet , hasIMG) {
	      return this.hash(this.at(this.list(this.link(tweet, hasIMG))));
 
      }
    } // ify
 
	
};
 
 
 
 
// start jqtweet!
JQTWEET.loadTweets();

Conclusion

That's all. This is how it's done - display tweet with images. With jQuery and all the plugins out there, it really saves heaps of times to create something really simple but fancy in short time. Well, you need to know what you want to achieve first and understand how to use those plugins. We used Twitalinkahashifyer, relative time, fancybox and Masonry in this tutorial.

I hope you pick up something in this tutorial, hopefully able to help you in your upcoming project. Queness will continue to look for interesting and practical jQuery tutorials! Please help me to spread this tutorial to express your gratitude! :)

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42 comments
MeltingDog 7 years ago
Thanks for this!
I was wondering if there was a proper way to take the <a> tags off the images?

If I remove:

img = '<a href="' + data[i].entities.media[0].media_url + ':large" class="fancy">';

I get an error.

Thanks!
Reply
Kevin Liew Admin 7 years ago
Just remove line 30.
Reply
Andrew 7 years ago
Thank you for this tutorial, it was working before but now it stopped. My guess is that something changed with twitter API. Is it possible to get an UPDATE for this? I spend myself doing the research but author should know the best ;)
Reply
Kevin Liew Admin 7 years ago
It's fixed, please refer to comment above. I have updated the tutorial also.
Reply
Alex 7 years ago
Thanks this is great!

But after it displays the first 3 tweets I get this message in the console:
Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'media_url' of undefined

Reply
Kevin Liew Admin 7 years ago
Im not sure what's happening, but I think Twitter has changed its API because you're not the only one. Andrew (below) is having the same problem.

I actually had a look, and played with it, I can't seem to able to sort it out now.
Reply
Alex 7 years ago
I changed line 28 to:

if (data[i].entities.media && data[i].entities.media.length > 0) {

and it seems to be ok
Reply
Kevin Liew Admin 7 years ago
Alright, yep. I found a fix also.

I put try { } catch (e) { } around it. That fixes it as well.
Reply
Kevin Liew Admin 7 years ago
They must have slightly changed the JSON data. Oh well, I should have put a test to ensure there is data anyway. :)
Reply
Kieran 7 years ago
Thanks for a great article, works really well.

I was wondering if you knew how to make the links from the tweettext open in an iframe somewhere on the same page so people don't leave the page?

Many Thanks
Reply
Kevin Liew Admin 7 years ago
Line 102: else return '<a class="twtr-hyperlink" target="_blank"

You can change the target to the name of the iframe.
Reply
Ben 7 years ago
thanks for your great tutorial!

I've been looking on how to display the latest images of a certain user on my website.. I guess this is the only way? Or is there a specific API-method I could use to only retrieve the "latest images" of a user? (like the ones you see on a twitter page on the left-hand side)
Reply
Andrew Jones 7 years ago
This is great, but for some reason it repeats some images on tweets that actually have no images associated with them?
Reply
Anders 6 years ago
Thanks.... Is it possible to display Image and hyperlink ?
Reply
Anders 6 years ago
Thanks. Is it possible to display image and link?
Reply
Adam 6 years ago
Great tutorial. I was wondering if there is a way to grab a hashtag as well as a user?
Reply
tatters 6 years ago
Has anyone found a solution to display tweets and photos based on a #hashtag(s)? Would be an awesome update if possible. Thanks
Reply
Patrick 6 years ago
Trying to get this to work in Opera (both the demo page and my page are not displaying anything but works fine in other browsers) with no luck any idea, is it an issue with jquery?
Reply
Arlex 6 years ago
Amazing stuff! Due to my noobness I'm gonna dare and ask: Is there a way to display only video- and picture-flagged tweets into a tweeter feed? If so, is there an extension or app to do that? I really don't know where or how to look for something like that.

Thanks in advance.
Reply
chirag 6 years ago
Hi there,

I have integrate your twitter feed plugin in my client's website and was working really nice but today its not working at all.

You can check here.

http://www.myextensionz.com/ ( on right of facebook feeds )
http://www.myextensionz.com/ ( on left of facebook feeds)

Please check and give me asap.

Thanks

Chirag
Reply