Can I send Twitter updates from the command line?
I'm becoming a big Twitter fan, but as a Linux user, I find it darn frustrating that most of the apps out there are for Mac and Windows users. I mean, I'm used to it, but is there at least some way to get to Twitter from the command line?
Since Twitter has a nice, albeit simple, API, there are also some methods that you can use to access Twitter from the command line, as you seek. Of course, monitoring the twitterstream, public or otherwise, is difficult because the output formats are all a bit tricky to parse, but certainly adding your own Twitter status updates is straightforward.
The trick is to use the terrific utility curl. Let me show you the basic command line invocation:
curl --basic --user "$user:$pass" --data-ascii \
"status=`echo $@ | tr ' ' '+'`" "http://twitter.com/statuses/update.json"
Obviously, you'll need to set your Twitter username and password in the script (which means that the script won't be secure) which you can do like this:
pass="I'm not going to show you here!"
Then the sequence of "$@" is simply the command arguments you've specified to the script. So if it's called "send-twitter" you could send an update on the command line as simply as:
$ send-twitter Watching Shrek, completely unmotivated to go outside today
That should get you going with the scripting. In terms of how to script monitoring the Twitterstream itself, that's a topic I'll be tackling in my Linux Journal shell scripting column in a month or two. Keep an eye out for it at the newsstand!
Finally, please be aware that I have a variety of twitter help here, and you can also monitor my twitterstream if you'd like too! Tip o' the hat to Binny, who originally presented this basic script idea on his blog.
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