Sunday, October 16, 2011

Twitter API JSON - Returning wrong ID of tweets

Twitter recently updated its API to enable the new Status ID generator - 'Snowflake'. With that, the new unique Tweet IDs are now 64bit unsigned integers, which, instead of being sequential like the old IDs, are based on time. The full ID is composed of a timestamp, a worker number, and a sequence number.

The implications of this change is that some programming languages like Javascript cannot support numbers with >53bits. To allow javascript and JSON parsers to read the IDs, a string version of any ID is now included when responding in the JSON format. What this means is Status, User, Direct Message and Saved Search IDs in the Twitter API will now be returned as an integer and a string in JSON responses. This will apply to the main Twitter API, the Streaming API and the Search API.

For example, https://twitter.com/status/user_timeline/hongjun.json?count=5 now returns you both "id" and "id_str". We should now be using "id_str" instead.

The following code in complete will display tweets using JSON method.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
    <title>Tweets</title>
    <style type="text/css">
    body { font-size: 12px; font-family: "Trebuchet MS", Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #666; }
    ul, li {margin: 0; padding: 0 0 0 10px; font-weight: inherit; }
    ul { list-style-type: circle; }
    li { padding-left: 5px; line-height: 140%; padding-bottom: 4px; }
    a:link { color: #00f; text-decoration: none; }
    a:visited { color: #00f; text-decoration: none; }
    a:hover { text-decoration: underline;}
    a:active { color: #00f; text-decoration: none; }
    </style>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.6.4/jquery.min.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<span id="spnJson"></span>

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
<!--
    function relative_time(time_value) {
        var values = time_value.split(" ");
        time_value = values[1] + " " + values[2] + ", " + values[5] + " " + values[3];
        var parsed_date = Date.parse(time_value);
        var relative_to = (arguments.length > 1) ? arguments[1] : new Date();

        var delta = parseInt((relative_to.getTime() - parsed_date) / 1000);
        delta = delta + (relative_to.getTimezoneOffset() * 60);

        if (delta < 60) {
            return 'less than a minute ago';
        } else if (delta < 120) {
            return 'about a minute ago';
        } else if (delta < (60 * 60)) {
            return (parseInt(delta / 60)).toString() + ' minutes ago';
        } else if (delta < (120 * 60)) {
            return 'about an hour ago';
        } else if (delta < (24 * 60 * 60)) {
            return 'about ' + (parseInt(delta / 3600)).toString() + ' hours ago';
        } else if (delta < (48 * 60 * 60)) {
            return '1 day ago';
        } else {
            return (parseInt(delta / 86400)).toString() + ' days ago';
        }
    }

    function getTweets(username, cnt) {
        jQuery.getJSON("http://twitter.com/status/user_timeline/" + username + ".json?count=" + cnt + "&callback=?", function(data) {
            var tweet_html = 'Follow <a target="_blank" href="http://www.twitter.com/' + username + '">@' + username + '</a> now<br />';
            tweet_html += "<ul>";
            jQuery.each(data, function(i, tweet) {
                if (tweet.text !== undefined) {
                    tweet_html += '<li>';
                    tweet_html += '<a target="_blank" href="http://www.twitter.com/' + username + '/status/' + tweet.id_str + '">';
                    tweet_html += tweet.text + '</a>';
                    tweet_html += '  ' + relative_time(tweet.created_at) + '</li>';
                }
            });

            document.getElementById('spnJson').innerHTML = tweet_html;
        });
    }

    getTweets('hongjun', 5);
//-->
</script>
</body>
</html>

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