How to Update Twitter using PHP and Twitter API

In the world of socializing on internet, Twitter is a big name and for developers its Twitter’s API. Its just Twitter’s unmatchable API that is failing all other micro-blogging services (like Tumblr) out there as it allows you to do almost everything. Once you become familiar with the Twitter API you can do innumerable number of things with it like updating your Twitter statuses remotely (Hint: We’ll be making this today!), searching the latest tweets for a keyword, and grab someone’s or your latest Tweets.

Today, we’ll be making a PHP Application that helps you update your Twitter status. So let’s get started without wasting anymore time!

The PHP script we’ll be making will consist of four files:

Files Usage
Index.html Includes the form which asks for your username, password & new status.
Post-to-Twitter.php Posts the information entered on the form in Index.html to Twitter.
Style.css For Index.html
Style-php.css For Post-To-Twitter.php

MAKING THE FORM & STYLING IT WITH CSS

First, lets make a form in HTML with three input boxes for username, password & the new status message respectively and one command button which would submit the values to the PHP file “Post-to-Twitter.php”.

<html>
<head>
<title>Updating Twitter status using PHP</title>
<link href="css/style.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
</head>
<body>
<h1><span id="header">Updating Twitter Using PHP</span></h1></p>
<div id="quote1"><!--Start Quote1-->
<center><p> Learn to send updates to Twitter using its API + PHP! </p></center>
</div><!--End Quote1-->

<div id="form" align="center"><!--Start Form-->
<form name="form1" method="post" action="post-to-twitter.php">
<p><br />
<label>
Twitter Username:
<input name="t_user" type="text" id="t_user">
</label>
</p>

<p><br />
<label>Twitter Password:
<input name="t_pass" type="password" id="t_pass">
</label>
</p>
<p><br />
<label>Your status:</label>
</p>
<br />
<p>
<textarea name="t_update" cols="50" rows="5" id="t_update" ></textarea>
</p>
<p><br />
<label>
<input type="submit" name="Submit" value="Post To Your Twitter Account!">
</label>
</p>
</form>
</div><!--End Form-->
<div id="quote2"><!--Start Quote2-->
<center><p>NOTE: We aren't storing your passwords in any way. If you want to try this then go ahead without hesitation!</p></center>
</div><!--End Quote2-->
</body>
</html>

You might have noticed that I have already attached the form action attribute to the post-to-twitter.php file. The CSS styling for this form goes below:


body {
background-color:#fff;
font-size:0.825em;
font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;

}

#quote1 {
margin-left:300px;
margin-right:300px;
border-style:solid;
border-width:2px;
border-color:#74DF00;
background-color:#EFEFD7;
line-height: 10px;
}

#quote2 {
margin-left:300px;
margin-right:300px;
border-style:solid;
border-width:2px;
border-color:#74DF00;
background-color:#EFEFD7;
line-height: 10px;
}

h1{
 padding:30px 0;
 text-align:center;
 text-shadow:0 1px 1px white;
 margin-bottom:30px;
 background-color:#f8f8f8;
 font-size:35px;
}

label{
text-shadow:0 1px 1px white;
font-size:18px;
}

This is what we have made till now:

SPICING THE FORM USING JQUERY

In the screenshot above, you may have seen that textboxes have a different style (when they are inactive) and this style can be brought using JQuery. The textboxes will have a different style or will be highlighted when they are active or when someone clicks on them. Just punch in the code below into the index.html file’s head and you are good to go!


<script type="text/javascript" src="http://jqueryjs.googlecode.com/files/jquery-1.3.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
$(document).ready(function() {
 $('input[type="text"]').addClass("idleField");
 $('input[type="text"]').focus(function(){
 $(this).removeClass("idleField").addClass("focusField");
 if (this.value == this.defaultValue){
 this.value = '';
 }
 if(this.value != this.defaultValue){
 this.select();
 }
 });
 $('input[type="password"]').addClass("idleField");
 $('input[type="password"]').focus(function(){
 $(this).removeClass("idleField").addClass("focusField");
 if (this.value == this.defaultValue){
 this.value = '';
 }
 if(this.value != this.defaultValue){
 this.select();
 }
 });
 $('textarea').addClass("idleField");
 $('textarea').focus(function(){
 $(this).removeClass("idleField").addClass("focusField");
 if (this.value == this.defaultValue){
 this.value = '';
 }
 if(this.value != this.defaultValue){
 this.select();
 }
 });
 $('input[type="text"]').blur(function(){
 $(this).removeClass("focusField").addClass("idleField");
 if ($.trim(this.value == '')){
 this.value = (this.defaultValue ? this.defaultValue : '');
 }
 });
 $('input[type="password"]').blur(function(){
 $(this).removeClass("focusField").addClass("idleField");
 if ($.trim(this.value == '')){
 this.value = (this.defaultValue ? this.defaultValue : '');
 }
 });
 $('textarea').blur(function(){
 $(this).removeClass("focusField").addClass("idleField");
 if ($.trim(this.value == '')){
 this.value = (this.defaultValue ? this.defaultValue : '');
 }
 });
});

</script>

And add the following code to style.css:


.focusField {
 border:solid 2px #73A6FF;
 background:#EFF5FF;
 color:#000;
 }
.idleField {
 background:#EEE;
 color: #6F6F6F;
 border: solid 2px #DFDFDF;
 }

Now you’ll have styled text-boxes on the form. The .focusfield describes the style of an active text field & .idlefield describes the style of an inactive field.

ADDING THE CHARACTER COUNT & LIMIT

We all know that Twitter has a character limit of 140. Personally, I don’t like the limit but we have to accept the reality! So to make our PHP Application a little realistic we need to add the character count & then limit it to 140. This can easily be done using Javascript. To do so, add the following code snippet to the head of your Index (Index.html) file:


<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/
ajax/libs/jquery/1.4.2/jquery.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
$(document).ready(function()
{
$("#t_update").keyup(function()
{
var box=$(this).val();
var main = box.length *100;
var value= (main / 140);
var count= 140 - box.length;

if(box.length <= 140)
{
$('#count').html(count);
$('#bar').animate(
{
"width": value+'%',
}, 1);
}
else
{
alert('Character Limit Exceeded!');

;
}
return false;
});

});
</script>

You might have noticed in the code above that whenever the character limit of 140 is exceeded, you’ll see a message box saying “Character Limit Exceeded!”:

<pre>{
alert('Character Limit Exceeded!');

;
}

Now add the code below right after “Your Status” and before the status text-box on the HTML form in the Index.html file:


<div align="left" id="character-count"><!--Start Character Count-->
 <div id="count">140</div>
 <div id="barbox"><div id="bar"></div></div>
 </div><!--End Character Count-->

To avoid any confusions on the placement of the above code-snippet in the body of the index.html page, I have pasted the whole code inside the body tag below:


<body>
 <h1><span id="header">Updating Twitter Using PHP</span></h1>

<div id="quote1"><!--Start Quote1-->
<center><p> Learn to send updates to Twitter using its API + PHP! </p></center>
</div><!--End Quote1-->

<div id="form" align="center"><!--Start Form-->
<form name="form1" method="post" action="post-to-twitter.php">
 <p><br />
 <label>
 Twitter Username:
 <input name="t_user" type="text" id="t_user">
 </label>
 </p>

 <p><br />
 <label>Twitter Password:
 <input name="t_pass" type="password" id="t_pass">
 </label>
 </p>

 <p><br />
 <label>Your status:</label>
 </p>
 <p>
 <div align="left" id="character-count">
 <div id="count">140</div>
 <div id="barbox"><div id="bar"></div></div>
 </div>
 </p>
 <br />
 <p>
 <textarea name="t_update" cols="50" rows="5" id="t_update" ></textarea>

 </p>

 <p><br />
 <label>
 <input type="submit" name="Submit" value="Post To Your Twitter Account!">
 </label>
 </p>
</form>
</div><!--End Form-->

<div id="quote2"><!--Start Quote2-->
<center><p>NOTE: We aren't storing your passwords in any way. If you want to try this then go ahead without hesitation!</p></center>
</div><!--End Quote2-->

</body>

Now we’ll style the character-count so add the following code to the style.css file:


#bar
{
background-color:#5fbbde;
width:0px;
height:16px;
}
#barbox
{
float:right;
height:16px;
background-color:#FFFFFF;
width:100px;
border:solid 2px #000;
margin-right:3px;
-webkit-border-radius:5px;-moz-border-radius:5px;
}
#count
{
float:right;
margin-right:8px;
font-family:'Georgia', Times New Roman, Times, serif;
font-size:16px;
font-weight:bold;
color:#666666
}
#contentbox
{
width:450px; height:50px;
border:solid 2px #006699;
font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
font-size:14px;
}

#character-count {
margin-right:540px;
}

So now we have something like this:

BRINGING LIFE TO OUR APPLICATION WITH PHP

We have almost completed making the script now. All we have to do is to add some code to the post-to-twitter.php file and that’s it! Add the following code to the post-to-twitter.php file:


<?php
$username = ($_POST['t_user']);
$password = ($_POST['t_pass']);
$message = ($_POST['t_update']);

$url = 'http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml';
$curl_handle = curl_init();
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_URL, "$url");
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT, 2);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_POST, 1);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, "status=$message");
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_USERPWD, "$username:$password");
$buffer = curl_exec($curl_handle);
curl_close($curl_handle);
if (empty($buffer)) {
 echo "<p align=\"center\" >".'Sorry, due to an error your Twitter status could not be updated! Please check your username/password!'."</p>";
} else {
 echo "<p align=\"center\">".'Your Twitter status has successfully been updated!'."</p>";
}
?>

You might have noticed the way we are passing the values entered in the text boxes to this PHP script. We had assigned id’s to the textboxes in our HTML script. We are now just importing the values entered in the text boxes with those id’s and assigning them a variable:


$username = ($_POST['t_user']);
 $password = ($_POST['t_pass']);
 $message = ($_POST['t_update']);

And then we just contact Twitter through the following code:


$url = 'http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml';
$curl_handle = curl_init();
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_URL, "$url");

Now we firstly login the user with the username & password provided and then update the user’s status time-line with the status message entered in the Status box. Finally we display the confirmation message:

if (empty($buffer)) {
<pre> echo "<p align=\"center\" >".'Sorry, due to an error your Twitter status could not be updated! Please check your username/password!'."</p>";
} else {
 echo "<p align=\"center\">".'Your Twitter status has successfully been updated!'."</p>";
}

Now to style our output a little bit we just attach a stylesheet to the script and add a Back button to it. So here is our final code in the post-to-twitter.php file:


<html>
<head>
<title>Twitter-Post Confirmation</title>
<link href="css/style-php.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
</head>
<body>
<?php
$username = ($_POST['t_user']);
$password = ($_POST['t_pass']);
$message = ($_POST['t_update']);

$url = 'http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml';
$curl_handle = curl_init();
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_URL, "$url");
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT, 2);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_POST, 1);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, "status=$message");
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_USERPWD, "$username:$password");
$buffer = curl_exec($curl_handle);
curl_close($curl_handle);
if (empty($buffer)) {
 echo "<p align=\"center\" >".'Sorry, due to an error your Twitter status could not be updated! Please check your username/password!'."</p>";
} else {
 echo "<p align=\"center\">".'Your Twitter status has successfully been updated!'."</p>";
}
?>
<div id="history"><!--Start History-->
<a href="javascript:history.back()">Back to the previous page</a>
</div><!--End History-->
</body>
</html>

The stylesheet for this php file is named “style-php.css” and includes the following code:


@charset "utf-8";
/* CSS Document */

body {
 font-size:24px;
 vertical-align:middle;
 text-align:center;
 text-decoration:underline;
 margin-top: 150px;
 }

That’s it! We have successfully made our PHP script using which we can update our Twitter account’s remotely. There are numerous things you can do with the above application. You may use it onto your next project related to twitter or integrate this to your blog to directly post updates of new posts to Twitter without even using external services like Twitterfeed or FeedBurner or any other plugins!

If you have any questions, comments or concerns then feel free to leave a comment :)

<form
name=”form1″ method=”post” action=”post-to-twitter.php”>
<p><br />
<label>
Twitter Username:
<input name=”t_user” type=”text” id=”t_user”>
</label>
</p><p><br />
<label>Twitter Password:
<input name=”t_pass” type=”password” id=”t_pass”>
</label>
</p>

<p><br />
<label>Your status:</label>
</p>
<p>
<div align=”left” id=”character-count”>
<div id=”count”>140</div>
<div id=”barbox”><div id=”bar”></div></div>
</div>
</p>
<br />
<p>
<textarea name=”t_update” cols=”50″ rows=”5″ id=”t_update” ></textarea>

</p>

<p><br />
<label>
<input type=”submit” name=”Submit” value=”Post To Your Twitter Account!”>
</label>
</p>
</form>
</div><!–End Form–>

<div id=”quote2″><!–Start Quote2–>
<center><p>NOTE: We aren’t storing your passwords in any way. If you want to try this then go ahead without hesitation!</p></center>
</div><!–End Quote2–>

</body>
</html>

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://jqueryjs.googlecode.com/files/jquery-1.3.js”></script>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
$(document).ready(function() {
$(‘input[type=”text”]’).addClass(“idleField”);
$(‘input[type=”text”]’).focus(function(){
$(this).removeClass(“idleField”).addClass(“focusField”);
if (this.value == this.defaultValue){
this.value = ”;
}
if(this.value != this.defaultValue){
this.select();
}
});
$(‘input[type=”password”]’).addClass(“idleField”);
$(‘input[type=”password”]’).focus(function(){
$(this).removeClass(“idleField”).addClass(“focusField”);
if (this.value == this.defaultValue){
this.value = ”;
}
if(this.value != this.defaultValue){
this.select();
}
});
$(‘textarea’).addClass(“idleField”);
$(‘textarea’).focus(function(){
$(this).removeClass(“idleField”).addClass(“focusField”);
if (this.value == this.defaultValue){
this.value = ”;
}
if(this.value != this.defaultValue){
this.select();
}
});
$(‘input[type=”text”]’).blur(function(){
$(this).removeClass(“focusField”).addClass(“idleField”);
if ($.trim(this.value == ”)){
this.value = (this.defaultValue ? this.defaultValue : ”);
}
});
$(‘input[type=”password”]’).blur(function(){
$(this).removeClass(“focusField”).addClass(“idleField”);
if ($.trim(this.value == ”)){
this.value = (this.defaultValue ? this.defaultValue : ”);
}
});
$(‘textarea’).blur(function(){
$(this).removeClass(“focusField”).addClass(“idleField”);
if ($.trim(this.value == ”)){
this.value = (this.defaultValue ? this.defaultValue : ”);
}
});
});</script>

15 Smart Tools To Help You Build Your Freelance Business

Discover the awesome tools we use in making our clients comfortable and happy in learning new things every day.

Download Now

Comments

  1. Tiz says

    The scritp works BUT it doesn’t post anything.
    It tells that i’ts posted. I check the timeline on Twitter and I don’t fidn what I post.
    When I enable the applciation to work on my acount, Twitter gives me back a PIN number that I have not clue where to put
    Could you halp me please?

    • Ryan says

      This type of authorization is no longer supported by Twitter. You need to look at OAuth.

  2. Endy says

    this method is now dead. and i was using something very similar on one of my sites now i have to rewrite it :(

  3. Rahul says

    The code you have provided in the article is not working. It always gives me the 401 error. I think so twitter has blocked this method. Can you please help me how can I do the same thing i.e. auto tweets on twitter.

    Hope you will reply me on that.

  4. Krishna says

    $twitter_api_url = “http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml”;
    $twitter_data = “status=hi guys”;
    $twitter_user = “username”;
    $twitter_password = “password”;
    $ch = curl_init($twitter_api_url);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POST, 1);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, $twitter_data);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION, 1);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 0);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_USERPWD, “{$twitter_user}:{$twitter_password}”);
    $twitter_data = curl_exec($ch);
    $httpcode = curl_getinfo($ch, CURLINFO_HTTP_CODE);
    curl_close($ch);
    //print_r($httpcode);
    if ($httpcode != 200) {
    echo “Don’t Panic! Something went wrong, and the tweet wasn’t posted correctly.”;
    }
    else
    {
    echo ‘Congrats it is succesfully posted’;
    }
    hi any one help me. I have used the above code for posting a message in twitter but it is not posting. It is returning $httpcode as 401. Please help me.

  5. Kai says

    Hi
    I really appreciate what you are doing for the community. I have a uestion : I just tested your code for using with twitter oauth. Workds great. But the only thing is that I always have to hit the button “Allow” on Twitters site? Is tehre a way to automate that?

    Can I still use this code on this page to update twitter or won’t this work as of the September 2010 changes?
    Thanks

  6. pywen says

    hi i do have an error with the codes.
    it has an error on this “$curl_handle = curl_init();”
    and it says
    Fatal error: Call to undefined function curl_init() .
    so what does this mean?
    can anyone help me ? thanks a lot .

    Regards, pywen

  7. Abhishek says

    As of today, this method is still working ;) lol…..Twitter forgot to shut this down..:P

  8. Aan says

    it’s cool! thanks for share.. i don’t like waste the time to continued logins.

  9. Ilham Maulana says

    Nice… But I’ve got a question… It’s a example, “3 minutes ago via API”… How I can change the API word with my website name or application?

  10. Ryan Fitton says

    Any word on using oAuth with this tutorial?
    Great work though :) many thanks, Ryan.

  11. ohmohm says

    Are there some good examples for Oauth Twitter? Especially, easily to migrate from basic authentication.

  12. Matt Harper says

    I had been trying to do this for the past several days but finally found a tutorial on the topic..thanks :)

  13. says

    I agree that Twitter will abandon this method but I will update this post with the “OAuth” usage soon ( will add that as a second method to this).

  14. says

    Hi

    Like Matt Rogowski said:
    On June 30, 2010 (5 weeks and 6 days from now), the @twitterapi team will be shutting off basic authentication on the Twitter API

    Take a look:

    So your script just run til 30 of june

  15. santhos says

    I’ve just been exploring the Twitter API this morning. You wrote a very nice tutorial! And indeed, the Twitter API is very easy to use!!

  16. Matt Rogowski says

    Although it’s a very good tutorial, it’s largely irrelevant as Twitter is shutting down this method in favour of OAuth soon.

  17. Cosmin Negoita says

    A very good tutorial. I always wanted to make my own Twitter application because I could design it the way I want…Thank you!