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Learn How to Connect to the Twitter API and Develop a Real-Time App

TLDR

Question Answer
Authentication Twitter API clients must authenticate with OAuth 1.0 and OAuth 2.0
Accessing Twitter API Requires Twitter Develop Account
Data Sources Tweets, Likes, Trends, Users, Direct Messages, Places, Media
Data Return Format JSON
API Wrappers and Libraries Available multiple languages like Python, R, C#, Node.Js, Java, Ruby, Kotlin, GO, PHP
API Communication Methods GET, PUT, POST, DELETE
Is It Free Yes. Advanced features like high traffic rates and more data requests can be accessed through paid premium accounts.
Privacy Policy You must follow the Twitter API Automation Rules. Also, you must disclose the data retrieval, usage, and storage in your Application’s privacy policy.

Introduction

Ever wondered if there’s a way to programmatically retrieve the public Twitter data, analyze it, and use it to build a real-time application? Well, over the past few years, we can very easily stream and retrieve the public data through the Twitter API to a specific website, and use it for research and further real-time app development purposes.

In this article, we have covered a detailed guide on how to connect and retrieve the Twitter data through a data transmission programming interface/protocol called an API, so you can consolidate the twitter data in one place, use it for academic research concerns, and also share it with other developers. We have also included information on how you can develop a real-time app through the latest Twitter API v2. Sounds exciting, right?

Do I Need to Authenticate Myself if I want to Access Twitter API?

Yes, the authentication process is crucial but really easy to do. You just need to sign up for a Twitter developer account and answer a few basic questions to get the essential access.

The most general authentication is made through OAuth 1.0a User Context and OAuth 2.0 Bearer Token to make your first request. After that, you can directly start a project App.

How to Access Twitter API?

Follow the instructions:

Step 1: Sign up for a developer account, and answer a few mandatory questions to get the official essential access.

Step 2: Secure and save your API tokens and keys from your developer portal. Think of API token and keys as your ID and Password. You can also regenerate these keys and tokens on your own within your App through the App developer portal.

Step 3: Make your first request with a tool of your choice after authentication and securing your token and keys.

What Type of Data Resources can you Access with Twitter API?

You can access data resources encoded in JavaScript Object Notation, in short – the JSON along with many other languages like Ruby, Python, and many other formats. Here are the data resources types you can access through Twitter API:

  • Tweets
  • Spaces
  • Users
  • Lists
  • Direct messages
  • Places
  • Media
  • Trends

How to Get Data from Twitter API?

No matter what language format you prefer to write in. With Twitter API, you can access the data in multiple languages, so there’s no restriction regarding language formats.

Via Libraries/Wrappers

Language Library/Wrapper
Python Tweepy
Java Twittered
Ruby Tweetkit
Javascript / Node.js node-twitter-API-v2
Kotlin KTweet
GO gotwtr
C# / (.NET) CoreTwee
PHP Bird-Elephant

How to Build a Real-Time App with Twitter API? (Accessing Tweets Data)

Here’s the process:

Step 1: Sign in to your developer account.

Step 2: Go to the ‘get-started’ page and click on “Create an App”. Alternatively, you can go to the “Accelerate” dropdown menu in the top right corner of the developer portal and then Click on the “Apps”. Then on the loaded page, click on “Create an App”.

Step 3: Add your App details, like App Name, Description, Website URL, etc. Then at the bottom of the page, click “Create”.

Step 4: Go to the “Keys and Tokens” tab to access the consumer API and Access Token keys by clicking the “Create” button. You can also regenerate these API keys and tokens. Consumer API keys are mandatory security keys to set up your connection in Python or R. These packages in different programming languages will also require the Access Token Keys as an input to authenticate yourself to start receiving the data.

Step 5: In your tool’s command line, load the Twitter library. Here’s a sample snippet in R for your reference:

library(twitteR)

Step 6: Create four variables to add the four Token and Access keys to set up your Twitter API Credentials.

Step 7: Authenticate yourself via OAuth1.0 or OAuth 2.0 via linking your API keys and Access credentials.

Step 8: Write the required function to create the App of your choice. Here’s a reference that we have created to request access to Tweets data about ‘Books’ for up to 200 tweets in the English language at a time:

searchTwitter('#books', n=200, lang= "en")

Step 9: You have successfully obtained the Twitter data for the tweets you want to link on your App.

What Methods does a Twitter API Use for the Communication Between Two Applications?

Twitter API basically uses four HTTP methods to access the data:

Name Purpose
GET To Recoup the data
PUT To Update the data
POST To Create the Data
DELETE To Remove the Data

Here‘s an example GET request to access the data through Twitter API. Here “your_need” can be replaced with “Tweets”, “Trends” or the type of data you want to access. While, “your_topic” can be replaced with the topic of the data you want to receive can be “Covid19”, “Pandemic19”, or any other topic of your concerns:

curl -X GET -H "Authorization: Bearer $APP_ACCESS_TOKEN" "https://api.twitter.com/labs/1/your_need/stream/your_topic?partition=1"

Is Twitter API Free?

Yes. You can instantly access the Twitter API for free through Essential access.

However, you can purchase the Premium package based on the level and amount of data you want to access and the number of requests you want to generate per month.

Meanwhile, you can contact Twitter for the Enterprise plan.

What are Privacy Policies to Use Data for Development through Twitter API?

Twitter prohibits the use of Twitter Data and Twitter API data for any surveillance purposes. You must not violate Twitter policies in any case to use them, otherwise, it may lead to concerning circumstances. You are also warned to carefully use Twitter data for sensitive topics like health, religion, ethnicity, politics, etc.

Always be mindful of the privacy policies before actually streaming and using the real-time data. Make sure to provide information in your App’s privacy policy to list how you collected, recorded, and managed the data.

How can you Leverage Public Data through Twitter API?

Here’s how you can benefit yourself with the data through the Twitter API:

  1. Use the data in real-time apps
  2. Leverage tweets and trends data and display them on your landing pages to keep the audience aware of a certain topic
  3. Make Academic research from the data trends and public interests
  4. Link insights obtained from the data into your business
  5. Get insights into marketing tactics through the interests and Twitter trends observed from the real-time data

Twitter API Limitations

Generally, there are traffic rate limits for Essential access. Clients accessing the Twitter API via OAuth 1.0 and OAuth 2.0 using Essential access are limited to making only 30 requests per min.

While this requests limitation can be avoided with a Premium product package that allows you to make up to 60 requests per minute. Isn’t it great, right?

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