June 2nd, 2008
I admit it. I’m as guilty as anyone. Â When Twitter goes down I throw up my arms in disgust and shake a fist at the west (cuz that is where Twitter HQ is in relation to me).
But I think it is time to stop complaining and start helping. Â How? Â What if we created a list of “well built” applications that use the Twitter API? Â By that I mean applications, tools, widgets, etc. that do a good job of not pummeling Twitter’s servers with requests.
The A-list of Twitter apps
I’m not foremost expert on scalability – but I know a well-built application from a bad one. Â Any application, widget, or tool that does not use even the simplest form of caching, for example, will not make this list.
I will need your help. Â So please comment below with any applications or tools I have not yet linked to, I’ll vet them a little, and add them to the list if it makes the cut. Â If you are a developer – please include what you do to help Twitter with your link.
- MW Latest TweetÂ - by Eric Meyer – A WordPress plugin that shows your latest Twitter status anywhere on your WordPress-powered site. Â In order to make sure that I am also helping Twitter, I’ve installed this here on my site. Â You can see it on the sidebar of my front page.
- Twitterrific – by The IconFactory – A Mac OS X application that allows you to view your friends timeline and post to Twitter. Â Twitterric only requests the Twitter API on a set interval (customizable, and I have mine set to every 15 minutes now).
- Twhirl – byÂ Marco Kaiser and now owned by Seesmic – An Adobe AIR application, which means it runs on both Macintosh and Windows platforms, that lets you follow Twitter, FriendFeed, Pownce, and others. Â The highlight of how this application helps Twitter is that it has a requests-per-hour-slider. Â I’ve got mine set to 10 (but I only have it check for new statuses every 15 minutes).
Do you have any applications you think should be added to this list? Â Why? Â Leave them in the comments. Â As I update this, I’ll notify people through Twitter, FriendFeed, and Pownce. Â ”Follow” me if you dare.
A few tips and tricks to helping Twitter out, regardless of the tools you choose to use.
- Decrease number of requests. Â No matter what applications you use, increase the interval (or decrease the number of requests per hour) between requests to Twitter for updates. Â The common “side effect” of doing this is actually being more productive. Â Give it a try!
- Don’t manually refresh after update. I’ve noticed myself doing this too. Â When you send in a new status, don’t manually update. Â Chances are it will take a few moments for your latest status to appear in whatever application you are using. Â Send in the new status, if there isn’t an error, wait for the next scheduled request. I can’t imagine how many requests this could potential get rid of.