Twitter’s API is REST-based and will return results as either XML or JSON, as well as both RSS and ATOM feed formats. Public timelines can be accessed by any client, but all other Twitter methods require authentication.

About this script

The program is well documented and should be straightforward. Open up a text editor, copy & paste the code below. Save the file as: “tweet_search.py” and exit the editor.

Getting Started

Let’s take a look at the program below that we call tweet_search.py

How does it work?

The script starts with importing the modules we are going to need Line 3-6 import json import sys import urllib2 import osLet’s break down the script to see what it does.

We create a usage variable to explain how to use the script. Line 8-14 usage = “”” Usage: ./tweet_search.py ‘keyword’ e.g ./tweet_search.py pythonforbeginners Use “+” to replace whitespace” e.g ./tweet_search.py “python+for+beginners” “””

On Line 16 we check that the user puts in an argument, else print the usage variable, then quit. if len(sys.argv)!=2: print (usage) sys.exit(0)

Line 21-24 sets the Twitter screen name to the second argument. screen = sys.argv[1]

Line 27 open the twitter search URL and the result will be shown in json format. url = urllib2.urlopen(“http://search.twitter.com/search.json?q=”+screen)

Line 30 converts the data and loads it into json data = json.load(url)

On Line 33 we print out the number of tweets print len(data), “tweets”

The last thing we do in this script is to get the status and print out the contents (Line 42) for status in data[‘results’]: print “(%s) %s” % (status[“created_at”], status[“text”])

Go through the script line by line to see what it does. Make sure to look at it, and try to understand it.


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