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A new web service for Twitter clients

Sunday, May 04, 2008 by Dave Winer.

A picture named fresca.gifYesterday I wrote about a way to prepare to decentralize Twitter, in the event of a lengthy outage. The goal is to create no extra work or complexity for users. I think this is the responsible way for developers to help because it's 1. Not a good idea to build a centralized system around a for-profit company and 2. Users generally won't do anything extra to decentralize to prepare for an outage, but when one happens, they blame us (technologists) for not protecting them. Right or wrong, this is the way it is. So I'm working on a step-by-step bootstrap that, if enough developers go along, will have us reasonably protected against a prolonged Twitter outage. It's not to say that it's the only way to do it, but it seems to me that it's one way. Permalink to this paragraph

I said I might put up a web service to store user's RSS feeds on Amazon S3, and I'd pick up the hosting bill, to help the bootstrap. One developer took me up on the proposal, so I went ahead and implemented it. Here's how it works. Permalink to this paragraph

1. There's a new XML-RPC service at this address: xmlrpc://rpc.twittergram.com/RPC2 Permalink to this paragraph

2. The name of the procedure is twittergram.saveFeed. Permalink to this paragraph

3. It takes three params: The user's Twitter username and password, and the text of the feed. The password is only used to authenticate, it is not stored on the server.  Permalink to this paragraph

4. It returns the URL of the feed as its stored on feeds.twittergram.com.  Permalink to this paragraph

5. Code (in UserTalk) that works.

local (server = "xmlrpc://rpc.twittergram.com/RPC2")
local (username = "davewiner", password = user.twitter.prefs.password)
local (feedtext = tcp.httpreadurl ("http://twitter.scripting.com/daveRss.xml"))
local (url = [server].twittergram.saveFeed (username, password, feedtext))
webbrowser.openurl (url)

6. You can call the routine at most once a minute. This may be increased if it becomes a popular service. My server is limited to 70 calls per hour. Again something will have to be done if it becomes popular.  Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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I'm a California voter for Obama.

© Copyright 1994-2008 Dave Winer Mailto icon.

Last update: 10/20/2008; 8:22:33 AM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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