Twitter Goes Anywhere With New API

Adam DuVander
Apr. 19 2010, 01:34AM EDT

Last month Twitter CEO Evan Williams announced Twitter Anywhere, but it wasn't exactly clear what it was. Now the microblogging platform, which looks pretty busy with all its announcements from its developer conference, is sharing more details about the API that is part display widget and part external login, all controlled via JavaScript.

There are three elements to Anywhere: follow buttons, tweet boxes and user logins. There are also some simple ways to bring the interactivity of twitter.com into your site, such as automatically linking usernames and activating hover boxes to get additional information about a user. Twitter has provided great example code. Read on for an overview of each portion.

Follow Buttons

If you want to encourage your visitors to follow you without sending them away from your site, simply embed a follow button on the page. This drops the barrier to a follow, letting the user decide at the moment of interest.

This is a small way to put Twitter on your site. Anywhere can go further.

Tweet Boxes

If you want visitors to interact with you on Twitter or tweet about your service, plop a tweet box on the page. You can even pre-populate the box with a message and change the "What's happening" to something else, like a question you want answered.

User Login

The farthest-reaching feature of Anywhere is the user login and signup called Connect With Twitter, which Twitter says "allows for deeper integrations than would be possible without user authorization."

Once the user has authorized your application, you'll have access to data via the JavaScript API, such as the user's profile information, friends, and timeline. Many are comparing this to Facebook connect. In truth, developers have been authenticating through Twitter for some time. Anywhere is now making it as easy as a few lines of JavaScript.

Twitter's announcement post lists a number of launch partners:

The full list of sites who have been working on @anywhere implementations pre-public launch include AdAge, Amazon, Bing, Citysearch, Digg, Disqus, eBay, Foursquare, Gawker, Google, Gowalla, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Hunch, Mashable, Meebo, MSNBC.com, The New York Times, Salesforce.com, WSJ.com, Yahoo!, and YouTube.

However, it's still difficult to find these implementations in the wild. Perhaps they will roll out over the next few days. In the meantime, what do you think of Anywhere? And what, if anything, will you build with it?

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

Comments

Comments(1)

darren

I noticed that Friendorfollow.com was using it. I am using it for a couple of projects. Its a real time saver not having to write backend oauth stuff just to allow someone to follow someone or post to twitter. I disagree about the docs, there really is only example code not an api reference. You will be able to use the entire twitter api through this interface at some point so would like some info on that from twitter.