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,
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:
<harda> 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
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
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
twidge follow unixtwidge.