Earlier this month, entrepreneur and blogger Jesse Stay noticed that both Facebook and Twitter had completely removed support for RSS from of their websites. After much outcry from the tech community, Facebook relented and re-added an RSS link to Facebook Pages once again. Twitter, however, did nothing.
But now, one developer has taken it upon himself to build a tool that uses Twitter’s API (application programming interface) to create RSS feeds. The code, called “Twitter API 2 RSS,” is now available on GitHub here.
Twitter Kills RSS
According to Stay’s earlier post, Twitter has been moving away from RSS for some time. Last year, Twitter developer Isaac Hepworth told Stay that only hyperlinks to RSS feeds were being removed from Twitter profile pages, but links to the RSS in the Twitter metadata would remain. Their temporary removed was “accidental,” Hepworth had said, and would be fixed soon.
But Stay says the problem was never fixed, and he could not find any evidence of RSS in the HTML source, either. This lead him to conclude that Twitter had indeed killed off all support for the technology. An article in Twitter’s Help section confirmed this, saying: “we no longer directly support RSS feeds on Twitter.”
As Stay noted at the time, developers could access RSS through Twitter’s API, which may be the last recourse for getting an RSS feed from Twitter’s website, outside of third-party services.
Twitter API 2 RSS
Now another developer, Shawn McCollum, has done just that. Twitter API 2 RSS, available as a code snippet (aka a “gist” on GitHub), is now ready for testing, he says. The code was originally written for personal use when he wanted to build his own better-looking and more functional RSS feeds for Twitter profiles.
After McCollum heard that Twitter was removing RSS support, he realized that the same code could be retooled for use by others. The only problem now is that he does not know how to get past Twitter’s API limit of 150 calls per hour from a single IP address. He’s looking for ideas to help with that, if you want to pitch in.
In the meantime, technical users can host their own copy of Twitter API 2 RSS and then subscribe to the resulting feeds in Google Reader or any other RSS reader application. However, the code is not yet available as a service for end users at this time. Details on how to use the code are available here on McCollum’s blog.
Here’s what it looks like, in action: