Tom Insam

Programmable twitter clients

Dave Winer wants a programmable twitter client.

Unix had a shell language. DOS had a batch language. Lotus 1-2-3 had its macro language. Emacs is a programming tool as much as it is a text editor. We have gotten out of the habit of making programmable end-user products, but they are still just as important today as they were a couple of decades ago.


What if there were a relatively simple and low-power programming language built into a Twitter client that allowed power users to build their own little apps on top of Twitter.

I have a few thoughts about this. Firstly, I think the reason lots of apps don't bother packaging a programming language any more is that programming languages are better now. The DOS batch language is horrible compared to Python. Or even Perl.

Secondly, Twitter has an API. It's a really really easy to use API. There are clients for it in lots of languages. A unfollow-for-24-hours app would not be difficult to just write.

But more importantly, I have a programmable twitter client. Shelf already asks Twitterrific about the currently displayed tweet so it could display other data about the user. I could do this because just about every application on my preferred platform is already programmable.