Tag Archives: python-twitter

There are many Twitter API libraries available for Python. I wanted to find out which one was the best and what the strengths and weaknesses of each are. However there are too many out there to find and review all of them. Instead here’s a bunch of the most popular Python Twitter API wrappers with a small review of each one, and some sample code showing off the syntax.

Python Twitter

This is the library that I personally use in most of my Twitter scripts. It’s very simple to use, but is not up to date with the latest developments at Twitter. It was written by DeWitt Clinton and available on Google Code. If you just want the basic API functionality this does a pretty decent job.

import twitter
api = twitter.Api('username', 'password')
statuses = api.GetPublicTimeline()
print [s.user.name for s in statuses]
users = api.GetFriends()
print [u.name for u in users]
statuses = api.GetUserTimeline(user)
print [s.text for s in statuses]
api.PostUpdate(username, password, 'I love python-twitter!')


Twyt is a pretty comprehensive library that seems to be pretty solid and well organized. In some cases there is added complexity to parse the return json objects from the Python Twitter API. It is written and maintained by Andrew Price.

from twyt import twitter, data
t = twitter.Twitter()
t.set_auth("username", "password")
print t.status_friends_timeline()
print t.user_friends()
return_val = t.status_update("Testing 123")
s = data.Status()
print s


An up to date, Python wrapper for the Twitter API. Supports Twitter’s main API, Twitter’s search API, and (soon) using OAuth with Twitter/Streaming API. It is based on the Python Twitter library and is actively maintained by Ryan Mcgrath.

import twython
twitter = twython.setup(authtype="Basic", username="example", password="example")
twitter.updateStatus("See how easy this was?")
friends_timeline = twitter.getFriendsTimeline(count="150", page="3")
print [tweet["text"] for tweet in friends_timeline]


Tweepy is a pretty compelling Python Twitter API library. It’s up to date with the latest features of Twitter and actively being developed by Joshua Roesslein. It features OAuth support, Python 3 support, streaming API support and it’s own cache system. Retweet streaming was recently added. If you want to use the most up to date features of the Twitter API on Python, or use Python 3, then you should definitely check out Tweepy.

import tweepy
api = tweepy.API.new('basic', 'username', 'password')
public_timeline = api.public_timeline()
print [tweet.text for tweet in public_timeline]
friends_timeline = api.friends_timeline()
print [tweet.text for tweet in friends_timeline]
u = tweepy.api.get_user('username')
friends = u.friends()
print [tweet.screen_name for f in friends]
api.update_status('tweeting with tweepy')

It’s pretty clear from the syntax samples that there’s not much difference between any of these Python Twitter API libraries when just getting the basics done. The difference only start to show up when you get into the latest features. OAuth, Streaming, and the retweet functions really differentiate these libraries. I hope this overview helps you find and choose the library that’s right for your project.

I was a bit hesitant to post this script since it is such a powerful marketing tool that it could be used very badly in the hands of a spammer. The basic premise is to directly respond to someone’s tweet if they mention your product or service. So for example I might want to have a tweet that goes out directly to someone who mentions twitter and python in a tweet and let them know about this blog. This will accomplish the same thing as the TwitterHawk service except you won’t have to pay per tweet.

To do this I had a choice. I could use a service like TweetBeep.com and then write a script that responded to the emails in my inbox, or I could use the Twitter Search API directly. The search API is so dead simple that I wanted to try that route.

The other thing to consider is that I don’t want to send a tweet to the same person more than once so I need to keep a list of twitter users that I have responded to. I used pickle to persist that list of usernames to disk so that it sticks around between uses.

The query functionality provided by the Twitter Search API is pretty cool and provides much more power than I have used in this script. For example it is possible to geo-target, lookup hashtags, or reply tweets. You can check out the full spec at http://apiwiki.twitter.com/Twitter-API-Documentation

Lastly, to keep it a bit simpler I’m ignoring the pagination in the search results and this script will only respond to the first page worth of results. Adding a loop per page would be pretty straight forward but I didn’t want to clutter up the code.

Example Usage:

>>> import tweetBack
>>> tweetBack.tweet_back('python twitter', 'Here is a blog with some good Python scripts you might find interesting http://halotis.com', 'twitter_username', 'twitter_password')
@nooble sent message
@ichiro_j sent message
@Ghabrie1 sent message

Here’s the Python Code:

#!/usr/bin/env python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
# (C) 2009 HalOtis Marketing
# written by Matt Warren
# http://halotis.com/
   import json as simplejson
   import simplejson  # http://undefined.org/python/#simplejson
import twitter     #http://code.google.com/p/python-twitter/
import urllib
import pickle
TWITTER_USER = 'username'
USER_LIST_FILE = 'tweetback.pck'
#read stored list of twitter users that have been responded to already in a file
    f = open(USER_LIST_FILE, 'r')
    user_list = pickle.load(f)
    user_list = []
def search_results(query):
    url = 'http://search.twitter.com/search.json?q=' + '+'.join(query.split())
    return simplejson.load(urllib.urlopen(url))
def tweet_back(query, tweet_reply, username=TWITTER_USER, password=TWITTER_PASSWORD):
    results = search_results(query)
    api = twitter.Api(username, password)
        for result in results['results']:
            if result['from_user'] not in user_list:
                api.PostUpdate('@' + result['from_user'] + ' ' + tweet_reply)
                print '@' + result['from_user'] + ' sent message'
        print 'Failed to post update. may have gone over the twitter API limit.. please wait and try again'
    #write the user_list to disk
    f = open(USER_LIST_FILE, 'w')
    pickle.dump(user_list, f)
if __name__=='__main__':
    tweet_back('python twitter', 'Here is a blog with some good Python scripts you might find interesting http://halotis.com')

Update: thanks tante for the simplejson note.