Twitter Search Gets Conversation Context

Adam DuVander
Dec. 02 2011, 10:53AM EST

Twitter added some features to its Search API to bring it up to snuff with the flagship Twitter API. At the same time, it brings the context of a tweet to the place where users likely need it most. Twitter first announced entity additions to the search API response in October, but it went live Thursday, with one extra nugget: in_reply_to_status_id.

If a tweet within search results is a reply to another tweet, the API now returns that value (as both a string and an integer) by default. Lone wolf tweets can now be given some context in the applications built off of Twitter Search.

Andy Baio, project director at the company behind the ThinkUp application, calls the update life-changing. "For developers using the Twitter API, being able to easily see the lifetime history of a Twitter conversation is huge," Baio said. "On my most recent project, I spent way too much time building kludgy workarounds for missing reply IDs. I'm excited to throw out all that code."

ThinkUp is the open source application that stores your contributions to several social networks. It most recently added Google Plus API support.

In addition to the reply IDs, Twitter also added user mentions to its entities returned with search results. When you add include_entities=true to a search API request, you now receive hash tags, URLs, photos and user names. Entities save developers from having to write the code to extract them on their own.

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.

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