A more reliable Twitter badge

If God didn’t want us to add widgets to our websites he wouldn’t have created sidebars.

I added a Javascript call to the Twitter API to display my latest update on this site a while ago, but it slowed page load down quite a bit, so I removed it again (at least until Twitter get their scaling problems under control). I could have written some server side code to cache my latest update, but it didn’t seem worth the effort.

Then Google released the very cool AJAX Feed API this week, and I stayed up for hours playing with it. One of the many ways you can use the API is to hit Google’s more reliable servers for the latest cached version of a feed (from the same data source that Google Reader uses). So instead of accessing your feed directly, pipe it through Google and call it easily with Javascript.

To display your latest Twitter status, add these lines between your web page’s head tags:

<script type="text/javascript">  
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/jsapi?key=YOUR_API_KEY"></script>  
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://thoughtwax.googlepages.com/twitter.js"></script>

Replace YOUR_TWITTER_ID_NUMBER with your Twitter feed ID (the number in the URL of your Twitter RSS feed) and replace YOUR_API_KEY with your Google Ajax Feeds API key, which you can get here.

Then add this HTML where you want your latest update to appear:

<div id="THWX_twitter_status"></div>

Lovely. Example here.

— 23 Apr 2007