April 19, 2019

Two Unusual and Good Twitter Clients For Linux

Twidge is Lightweight, Fast, and Flexible

  • April 8, 2009
  • By David Harding

Most Twitter and other micro-blogging clients use the same interface as Twitter.com, but two new free software clients make Twitter easy to use from the command-line or an IRC client.

Twidge lets you send and receive Twitter or Identi.ca updates from the command-line. Although micro-blogging from the command-line may not appeal to you, the command-line makes it easy to fiddle with Twitter, and Twidge works well in shell scripts. For example, you can automate sending updates or filter out unwanted updates from your friends.

Debian and Ubuntu Jaunty users can install the "twidge" package. Other users should download the static executable from Twidge's download page, run bunzip2 on the file, copy it to /usr/local/bin/twidge, and make it executable with the following command: chmod +x /usr/local/bin/twidge. You also need to install your distribution's cURL package.

At the command-line, setup Twidge by typing the following command: twidge setup. Tell it your username and password. You only need to run this command once.

Print a list of your friends' 20 most recent Twitter updates by typing the following command: twidge lsrecent. Each update starts with your friend's username and ends with their update; for example:

 Hello, World.

You don't need to keep track of which updates you've already read -- Twidge can do that for you. Add the argument "-us" to the lsrecent command to only show Unseen messages and to Save the I.D. of the last seen message. For example, run the following command twice; the second time Twidge only prints new messages: twidge lsrecent -su

To make sure you see all the replies and Direct Messages (DM) addressed to you, also run the lsreplies and lsdm commands. You can make this easier by setting a Bash alias:

alias show_updates="twidge lsrecent -us && twidge lsreplies -us && twidge lsdm -us"

By default, Twidge formats your friends' updates so that they're easy to read, but it can also format them so that command-line programs can read them. The alternative format shows extra details, so Twidge calls it the "Long format" and uses the -l switch. Long format contains several columns, described in the Twidge manual, separated by tabs; for example:

1355622395  harda       Hello, World.   Thu Mar 12 17:42:07 +0000 2009  

You can send updates to your friends using the update command in two ways. You can type your update on the command line, but you must pass your update as a single argument and escape shell meta-characters. This means you must surround your update with quotes and place a backslash before other quotes or exclamation marks -- which quickly becomes annoying. You'll find it simpler to to type, twidge update, press return, type your message, and press return again. Either way, Twidge prints an error and won't send your update if you type more than 140 characters.

Follow a new friend using the follow command plus your friend's username. To stop following someone, use the unfollow command. For example, you can follow Twidge's updates by typing the following command: twidge follow unixtwidge.

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