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:
- Find a nice Twitter API interface for Python which can preferably be integrated with Google App Engine.
- Write code to get tweets from your Twitter timeline.
2(a) Learn how to use Twitter OAuth.
- Detect tweets with links. When they do, extract the unshortened link.
- By now, you have a set of links, and can choose to display them as you wish.
- 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.
- 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.
- Basic interface: Gmail HTML sorts. Previews and stuff can come later.
- 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.
I don’t really agree with the ‘kill’ bit… that’s the way the Net evolves. We need to evolve with it. I also don’t see why Twitter shortening URLs is a problem for the Net at large, apart from indirectly… Twitter is a walled garden anyway.
I however like the suggestion of major search engines offering their own URL shortening services.