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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
09:38 PM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern

Suggestions For Twitter Anywhere

At the Twitter Chirp developer gathering last month, Twitter launched their new, "@Anywhere functionality." I'd like to share my first experience using the service and some suggestions for improvement.

At the Twitter Chirp developer gathering last month, Twitter launched their new, "@Anywhere functionality." I'd like to share my first experience using the service and some suggestions for improvement.Our Twitter Anywhere integration was pretty straightforward. We decided the initial implementation would include the follow button and a tweet box to allow our customers to post directly to Twitter from our application. Overall it was relatively easy to get the integration working although there were a few issues:

  • The registration form for creating a new "application" doesn't work in IE if there is an error. It always seems like a lot of Twitter's functionality doesn't work as expected in IE.
  • Initially Twitter set all new apps to read-only mode. I guess this crashed the apps - they have fixed this now and all new apps are set to read/write mode.
  • The documentation for @Anywhere is good, not great. They should "talk" to a newbie developer instead of a more seasoned developer. This might help reduce support issues as well. In my opinion, the documentation isn't setup for a non-developer blogger.
Currently I've noticed two major issues that need to be addressed:
  • There are API rate limits on the @Anywhere service which have caused a few of my customers to inquire as to why the follow buttons don't work. It appears after loading about 150 follow buttons (either display or refresh), all of the buttons change to "xyz user not found" and then eventually just disappear all together. Perhaps Twitter could create a more friendly error message.
  • Make the load time faster -- the Twitter Anywhere functionality takes so long to load that many of my customers submit customer service inquiries wondering if the service is broken.

Some changes I'd like to see regarding the follow buttons:

  • Remove the page jumping - when the Twitter functionality loads, it causes the page to jump creating a poor user experience.
  • Make the follow button text customizable - currently it reads, "follow xyz user on Twitter" - I would prefer the ability to change the text.
  • Make the follow buttons a consistent width as this would make designing an integration much easier. I understand this isn't easy as Twitter usernames vary in length, but there has to be a way to make the width more consistent. Naturally this isn't an issue if there is only one follow button on a page.

Are you planning to use Twitter Anywhere on your blog or website? Leave your planned integrations in the comments.

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