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Twitter needs a command-line

Friday, November 06, 2009 by Dave Winer.

Imagine a terminal program that accepted commands like: Permalink to this paragraph

twitter> follow davewiner Permalink to this paragraph

twitter> follow ev Permalink to this paragraph

twitter> unfollow sexygirl209 Permalink to this paragraph

twitter> addtolist scoble halfmoonbay -u Permalink to this paragraph

The first few commands are obvious, the last would add scoble to a list called halfmoonbay and unfollow him.  Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named gump.jpgI stumbled across this as I was thinking about how to implement follow and unfollow commands in listbrowser.org. Usually this would mean supporting OAuth, which is not a big deal, I already have the code, but it's a pain for users. Another site they have to trust. Even though OAuth is better than giving away my password, it's not much better.  Permalink to this paragraph

Then I thought how nice it is for a developer to just be able to shoot the text of a tweet over at the status box on Twitter, where the user is already logged-in. But that just works for tweets. What about follow and unfollow, and list operations? And a myriad of other chores that now you can do either interactively or through the API.  Permalink to this paragraph

Why not have something in the middle, more techy than the point and click interface, but easier than the API. We already have an idea how that works -- it's a command-line interface.  Permalink to this paragraph

To be clear, there are already command-line interfaces for Twitter, but they run on the desktop. We need a CLI that runs as a web app from a public server. It could come from Twitter, Inc, or could be done by a developer. If there's more than one, it would be nice if they used the same syntax.  Permalink to this paragraph

If you're already working on this, post a note in the comments or send me an email at dave dot winer at gmail dot com. A picture named sidesmiley.gif Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, 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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