Boston Python Workshop 3/Saturday/Twitter

Use the Twitter API to write the basic parts of a Twitter client. See what your friends are tweeting, get trending topics, search tweets, and more.


See the Friday setup instructions.


  • Have fun playing with data from Twitter.
  • See how easy it is to programmatically gather data from social websites that have APIs.
  • Get experience with command line option parsing and passing data to a Python script.
  • Get experience reading other people's code.

Suggested exercises

  • Customize how tweets are displayed. Look at the Status and User classes in the Twitter code for inspiration; options include the URL for the tweet, how many followers the sender has, the location of the sender, and if it was a retweet.
  • Write a new function to display tweets from all the trending topics. Add a new command line option for this function.
  • The code to display tweets gets re-used several times. De-duplicate the code by moving it into a function and calling that function instead. Example prototype:
      def printTweet(tweet):
          tweet is an instance of twitter.Status.
  • [Long] A lot of the Twitter API requires that you be authenticated. Examples of actions that require authentication include: posting new tweets, getting a user's followers, getting private tweets from your friends, and following new people. Set up oAuth so you can make authenticated requests. describe how Twitter uses oAuth. has examples of using oAuth authentication to make authenticated Twitter API requests.

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