Twitter Me Xerces!

Following from the spirit of yesterdays post, little victories…

Yesterday I managed to download the front page of my website using libcurl. As good as that was as a learning experience, it wasn’t interesting or useful in the slightest. Today however, I decided to see if I could fetch my status updates from Twitter and display them in a program. So I had a look at the API documentation and it looks quite easy to use, with the exception of OAuth which I’m yet to get my head around. Thankfully, for now, basic authentication is still supported.

The Twitter API uses the REST (REpresentational State Transfer) paradigm which means there’s no concept of a state on the server; i.e. each transaction is considered separately. It also means that it uses HTTP, which is pretty simple to understand. Basically in a REST protocol the URI’s are objects in the system, and the HTTP verbs are how you interact with them. So a GET on a http://server/article?name=REST object would download an article named REST. Simple eh? Check this article if you’re interested.

Anyway, onto the meat ‘n’ taters. Data in a REST transaction is typically stored as XML or JSON. I considered downloading LibYAML and taking the JSON route but a) I already had Xerces, b) I understand XML more than JSON, and c) I couldn’t be bothered to learn yet another new thing.

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