[Webapp Idea] Twitter Link Browser

I use Twitter quite some. A lot of the people I follow share quite a lot of links. When I browse twitter on my mobile in the morning, I can’t check out all the links. I usually ‘Favorite’ the links that seem interesting and then browse them later. I’d actually prefer a better interface to this, which enables me to tag these links privately so that I can look for them later as well.

I found one such webapp whose name I now forget. The problem with it was it had a sucky interface and didn’t let me preview all the links properly. Then there’s also Tweetree which offers previews of shared links. I also like the Google Reader/Gmail sort of interface which keeps track of new links and already read links. And also, when multiple people share the same link, I’d like to see it all collapsed as one with “X, Y and Z shared this” next to it. Or something.

So this is one thing I’d like to build using Google App Engine.

The steps to do so would be as follows:

  1. Find a nice Twitter API interface for Python which can preferably be integrated with Google App Engine.
  2. Write code to get tweets from your Twitter timeline.
    2(a) Learn how to use Twitter OAuth.
  3. Detect tweets with links. When they do, extract the unshortened link.
  4. By now, you have a set of links, and can choose to display them as you wish.
  5. Use the App Engine datastore to store previously viewed links. Possible attributes to be stored along with link can include users who shared this link, timestamps of tweets which shared these links, viewed-or-not (when dropping into database after extraction, this attribute should have the value ‘No’), title of linked page. Also store time of last login.
  6. Workflow: On login, extract links from timeline and drop into database until the timestamp of the tweet you’re reading is lesser than the time of last login. Then display those links with ‘viewed-or-not’ value as ‘No’ as ‘Unread items’ and the rest as ‘read’ items. On clicking each link, mark them as read. Also provide checkboxes to mass-markAsRead.
  7.  Basic interface: Gmail HTML sorts. Previews and stuff can come later.
Components to build a basic version:
  • OAuth
  • Tweet-getter
  • Link-extract-and-drop-in-database. This in turn includes Link extractor, unshortener, title-getter, database interface.
  • Database queries to view links and mark them as read/unread.
  • User interface.
Anything missing so far? Loose ends? Anything can be done better? Are you working on this? Any advice on getting started or any of the individual components?

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.

Posted on November 9, 2011, in ideas, softwares and tools and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Hey.

    Great idea! Simple and much needed. I would love to work on this. Let me know if you want to collaborate and do something in this regard. Thanks.

    • I’m done with the painful bits of OAuth and things. Right now it just extracts tweets with links from your timeline and displays them. Check it out here: http://priya-venkateshan.appspot.com/twlinkies.html I’m still working on this so it might be broken at times.

      Do you know much of all these AJAX and Javascripting and related UX kungfu? I could use that plenty. Other than that, adding features and things shouldn’t be much of a problem. Let me know!

  2. Interesting. It would be nice if the links could be classified based on source. Something like labeling in gmail. So that everything from hacker news, tech crunch, engadget etc would go to a label called tech and so on.

    • Yeah, sort-by-domain, search-by-title….. all sorts of wonderful ideas. Just wondering how to implement them. I’m done with authentication and retreval from the twitter API… now I need to focus on putting it into a datastore. And also think of UI-related stuff. any ideas?

      • Rip-off previous version of google-reader to start with. Thats an intuitive interface. With a compose button to tweet and a retweet button per post to share (extra credits for retweet with comment :)).

      • if you want your twitter links in your reader, there’s siftlinks. it makes everything into a nifty rss feed which you can subscribe to. ‘share’ would be on the list of things nice to have, but not mission-critical. the important thing for me now is to make it a gmail/greader sort of interface. at first i thought “why would anyone want to share through the app? that’s what twitter is for!’, but then realized people’ll be viewing links through my app and wll want to share after viewing. 🙂

        now to concentate on the google appengine datastore… everything else will follow 🙂

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