Twitter Bots

So, this last weekend was BarCamp Brighton 2. I’ve already posted about that elsewhere, but what I haven’t blogged about yet is my talk.

Recently I’ve been playing around with Twitter Bots. I had a need to be able to let just the people I work with when someone had brought food into the office, so I created yahoofood. I wanted near real-time updates of when The Ten Word Review was updated, so I created the ttwr bot. I also want to allow people to review things on The Ten Word Review using their mobile phones, so I’m going to be needing to create a bot for that.

Then it dawned on me that these functionalities would be things what would possibly be of use to other people. I registered and started to refactor things a bit. The result is the code that’s available to download (don’t worry, it’ll be being updated as and when I write more) and the presentation that I gave on sunday morning.

Since the talk I’ve realised that I don’t really say anywhere how to call the bots. The basic pattern goes a little something like this:

$aBotVars['last_data_time'] = strtotime($aBotVars['last_data_time']);
$lastDataTime = $aBotVars['last_data_time'];

$bot = new $botClass(
        'username' => 'someUsername',
        'password' => 'somePassword',
        'last_data_time' => unixTimestampForLastDataRetrieved
$newLastDataTime = $bot->getLastDataTime();

And that’s all you need to do. Simple.

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Neil Crosby now blogs at The Code Train and also runs, The Ten Word Review and Everything is Rubbish.