About a year ago, I wrote a simple client for twitter.com called blt. The idea was to make a twitter version of biff(1), so you’d get new tweets printed before your prompt after pressing return. Making this fast was a challenge, because twitter often took tens of seconds in those days to respond to queries, and I didn’t want to have a daemon hanging around the whole time to deliver messages.
I wrote this as a challenge to myself, and put it on Google Code because that was the best place I knew to get version control without the bother of running it myself (these days I’d probably have used launchpad), and mostly forgot about it.
The other day, however, I thought of typing its name into Google, and discovered that people actually use it, and that people were asking questions about its workings and calling it “fantastic” and “freaking awesome”, and also reviewing it and saying it’s not much good yet and things. I was surprised. So I set about putting a few hours into cleaning it up a bit.
I used some of the negative comments in the last review I linked as a guide as to what to fix:
- It’s a pain to install.
- Not any longer, I hope, since it’s now in CPAN.
- It requires weird dependencies.
- See above; also I’ve removed dependencies on libxml since (again to my surprise) not everyone seems to have it installed; I thought it’d be more widely used.
It was good to write some serious Perl again. Thanks to the folks on magnet #perl who helped me with packaging questions.
So, it’s a little closer to stable, and while there are still some bugs (I think it loses tweets sometimes; it doesn’t deal with direct messages very well; the library API is ad hoc and frankly ugly) it shouldn’t be too hard to install to test and play with if you have the cpan program installed, which you should if you have perl installed:
If you run this as root, you’ll get /usr/local/bin/blt installed; otherwise ~/perl/bin/blt, so I hope you have ~/perl/bin in your path. “man blt” should be helpful, but otherwise come and find me or comment here and ask questions. Follow BLT’s own twitter for further updates.
Photo: BLT on toast at Chez Moi, by Smokey Combs, cc-by-nd.