Twitter, Growl, Boosh! In AppleScript!!

Last night whilst keeping an eye on the footie, as a follow up to The Happening, which I wrote about here, I decided to try and create a tool that would improve the experience of a Bad Movie Club, or even a Good Radio Club (happens tomorrow Thursday 26th Feb 2009!).

If you don’t know what either Bad Movie Club or Good Radio Club are – they are essentially chatting whilst watching a movie or listening to radio using twitter. And hashtags are like codes, for example #badmovieclub, that let you filter just the tweets that contain the code.

Call me crazy but I decided to make these tools in AppleScript, so they will only run on MacOS X.. sorry! I’ll write the fancy-dancy, cross-platform version when someone pays me to reinvent television… They are called HashtagGrowler and the other is called TwitterSearchGrowler and what they do is this.

How To Use TwitterSearchGrowler

First get the excellent Vienna RSS Reader. There aren’t any calls in AppleScript that get RSS feeds so I decided to use this lovely tool.

If it isn’t already, install the fabulous Growl Notification Tool. Growl is beautiful because it overlays notifications on top of, for instance, the movie you might be watching. I found the experience of using a web-based app during #badmovieclub just not right. I wanted to be able to watch the movie AND enjoy the tweets in cinemascope.

The tools also make use curl to get web pages. I don’t know if this comes already installed on MacOS X, if it’s not you might need to find a geek to hold the scissors for you.

Lastly, download TwitterSearchGrowler and HashtagGrowler here. When you double-click TwitterSearchGrowler, you can enter your (or someone else’s) Twitter username or a search term like “social media” (see above).

TwitterSearchGrowler then tells Vienna to subscribe to that feed and then keeps refreshing, showing the tweet messages using Growl (see below). Isn’t that cute!

It even shows the twitterer’s images using some curl magic and hilarious string handling in AppleScript (this bit was tough because I didn’t want to rely any osaxen or extensions such as regexes so that it would stand a chance of working on most peoples’ Macs).

The screen above is, for me pretty much a prototype for social media-ized TV except that you’d have to make room somewhere to add your own tweets. It gives you a flavour though. It’d be great for small geek conferences, if you published on your first slide, a hashtag you’d like to share for your talk, because the tweets would be displayed over your slides. Hilarious!

I’m hoping to be able to tune-in to the Good Radio Club tomorrow and point HashtagGrowler at “#goodradioclub”… The only problem is that the GRC seem to have chose quite a high-brow topic (anti-social housing) … I mean, anyone can laugh at a bad movie but anti social housing is a different kettle of fish completely and I suspect may inhibit contributions. Here’s hoping.

Getting Support

Are you kidding? This is AppleScript – it’s not meant to work! I wrote it in an evening. If you find a use for it or even fix it (using the AppleScript Editor in the Applications folder) please send me your improvements and feedback. Follow me everythingabili on Twitter to keep up with any further developments and to discover what I had for breakfast.

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5 Responses to Twitter, Growl, Boosh! In AppleScript!!

  1. Preston says:

    I used to do a ton in Applescript, but it got so frustrating doing anything other than just event calls to applications.

    You might be interested in basically the same thing I did in python, it ends up being much cleaner and more powerful than AS

    http://ptone.com/dablog/2009/02/twitter-to-growl-agent-in-python/

  2. Chris says:

    hey this is very very cool!

    I’ve had ideas for other uses not mentioned here, but don’t have experience in applescript – I might flick you a quick email for some feedback!

    Nice work!

  3. John says:

    Hi Tom,
    Fun stuff, thanks for the scripts. I’ve messed about a bit and seem to have a search growler that uses System Events to get the xml from a twitter search rather than Vienna. My scripting is crude but if you want to see it:
    http://johnjohnston.info/pmwiki/uploads/Software/growlTwitterSearch.html

  4. Matthew says:

    What you did here wasn’t what I was looking for, but I just had to thank you for the laughs

  5. Pingback: Twitter, Growl, Boosh! In AppleScript!! : Tom Smith’s: theOTHERblog « niki passath

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