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How to Register a Twitter App in 8 Easy Steps


Twitter banner

One of the reasons that Twitter is so popular, and become what it is today, is due to the huge number of developers who have built apps over the years. Why so many developers? Basically because Twitter has been very easy to work with.

Many social networks and apps have their own interface that programmers can work with. These interfaces are called APIs (short for Application Programming Interface). Unfortunately Twitter have made quite a few changes recently which have made their API a lot more difficult to work with.

On June 11th, 2013, Twitter retired v.1 of their API and stopped offering RSS feeds. This has meant quite a few Twitter apps no longer work, and programmers have been scratching their heads, wondering what to do.

I wrote an article some time back about how to replace Twitter Triggers in IFTTT now that they’re gone. In this article I showed how you could use the RSS feeds that Twitter offered to connect with other apps using the tool IFTTT. Unfortunately from the 11th June, this no longer works– because Twitter retired RSS feeds and now requires that any Twitter app is authenticated first. This is so that Twitter can keep a close eye on the use of it’s API. This suddenly has raised the bar and made it far more complicated for developers to play with Twitter’s data

I will show you how to get your RSS feeds back as well as do some other really cool things with Twitter in a future article. However, for now, I am going to show you how to start the process off– register your Twitter app. And I am going to attempt to make this as easy to understand as possible. I hope I succeed!

 

1. Visit the Twitter Developers Site

Twitter Developer website

 

The first thing you need to do is head on down to dev.twitter.com. In order to create an account, all you need to do is click on the “Sign In” link at the top right.

2. Sign in with your Twitter Account

Twitter Developers Sign In

Next, sign in with the Twitter account you want to associate with your app. You do have a Twitter account don’t you?!

3. Go to “My Applications”

my applications

Once you’re logged in, click on the downwards arrow to the right of your Twitter image and select “My Applications”. This is where all your registered Twitter apps will appear.

4. Create a New Application

 

my applications

If you are new to the Developers site you won’t see any applications registered. Either way, it’s time to create our first application. To do this, click on the big “Create a new application” button.

5. Fill in your Application Details

create an application

It’s been easy so far, but this screen often makes people confused. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than you think. First of all you need to give your app a unique name (one that no one else has used for their Twitter app). Since we’re going to be an creating app for personal use and not one that other people can register and use, just put your domain name in or perhaps even your name. You don’t have to worry much about the description– you can change this later. I’ve put “a set of Twitter tools for personal use”.

Put your website in the website field– don’t worry that it isn’t (as Twitter ask) your application’s publicly accessible home page. However, this website will be where your app is hosted.

For now ignore the Callback URL field. If you are allowing users to log into your app to authenticate themselves, you’d enter the URL where they would be returned after they’ve given permission to Twitter to use your app.

Once you’ve done this, make sure you’ve read the “Developer Rules Of The Road” blurb, check the “Yes, I agree” box, fill in the CAPTCHA (don’t you just love them) and click the “create your Twitter Application” button. Hurrah!

6. Create Your Access Token

Your Access Token

You’ll then be presented with lots of information, but we’re not quite done yet. We now need to authorise the Twitter app for your Twitter account. To do this, click the “Create my access token” button. This takes a few seconds, so if you don’t see the access tokens on the next screen, you may have to refresh the page a few times.

This access token will allow your Twitter application to read Twitter information. You’ll be able to get data of your tweets, mentions, lists and more. However, if you want to do more advanced stuff like sending tweets or deleting, you’ll need to change your access type.

7. Choose what Access Type You Need

application type

As I mentioned, the default access type when you create a Twitter app is read only. My recommendation is to keep it like this unless you really want to be able to have the app delete or write data (for example sending tweets or deleting direct messages). For our first Twitter app we will only need read only access, but so that you know for future, in order to change the access type, you need to click on the settings tab at the top of the screen. Once you do this, scroll down to where it says “Application Type”. Change the access type to “Read and Write” to be able to read Twitter data and send tweets and select “Read, Write and access direct messages” if you want to also have access to your direct messages.

8. Make a note of your OAuth Settings

oAuth Settings

Once you’ve done this, make a note of your OAuth settings. You will need these long horrible strings of characters for your Twitter app. The ones you will need are:

  • Consumer Key
  • Consumer Secret
  • OAuth Access Token
  • OAuth Access Token Secret

It goes without saying that you should keep these secret. If anyone was to get these keys, they could effectively access your Twitter account.

What Next?

Armed with your Twitter app data, you can now go about creating your first Twitter app. I’ll be explaining how to do that in my next article called Build Your First Twitter App Using PHP in 8 Easy Steps. You will be able to access your tweets, mentions, direct messages and filter through them.


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About Ian Anderson Gray

Ian is a web developer, social media consulant & Partner of Select Performers. In real life he is a husband, dad, geek and runs a monthly tech meet up called Cheadle Geeks and a regular coworkers event called Cheadle Jelly. Find out more


Comments- Let me know what you think!

  • panchowatkins

    hey, where’s the second part? thanks.

  • http://projectisabella.com/ Kay Patterson

    dead keen on reading the second part

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  • Dora

    Hi, I just activated the Realy Simple Twitter Widget which was as simple as promised. It pulls the tweets on the websitem, but I must have done something wrong because the new tweets don’t appear in the box. http://swisslinked.com/test
    Can you please advise..? Thank you!

    • Dora

      Sorry, too impatient. It is working perfectly, just needed some time :)

      • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

        Hi Dora. Great– glad you got it working in the end.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/michelehudnall Michele Hudnall

    Awesome!!! Thank you soooo much!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      No problem, Michele. Glad it was helpful. Have you got any ideas as to what you’re going to create?!

      • http://www.linkedin.com/in/michelehudnall Michele Hudnall

        Setting up a WordPress blog page to support a community effort, “Around Reston”, with a little chatter on food (restraurants, grocers, farm mkts, tips & tricks, etc.) in our little home town for now. Will have to figure out a longer term point of view, but setting it up so I can have other categories too. This was immensely helpful as it’s been a while since I last set up a WordPress site and the little things are hanging me up. I look forward to perusing your site in greater depth. Glad I found it today!

        • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

          That’s great, hope you have success with your blog! :-)

  • Robert Paulson

    Hi. Great info — most straightforward I have found. Two questions:

    1. is there much lag between updating info in the app area and it reflecting the changes? (Like if I change from Read only, to something else)?
    2. can I run a grab (using this info with your other blog on grabbing tweets in PHP) successfully locally, or does it have to be on a live site?

    I ask because I am getting served a blank screen even though I have quadruple-checked that my oAuth variables are correct.

    Thanks!

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Robert. Thanks!

      I’m not 100% sure, but I think there is a little bit of a lag between changing from read only to read and write. I don’t think you should be waiting for more than 5 minutes. Double check you have the correct tokens when you change.

      If you are getting a blank screen, something is going wrong. If you know how to turn on error reporting then do. I’ve made a minor addition to my other article and added a line that outputs an error from Twitter if there is one. Hopefully this will help you to troubleshoot what the issue is.

      Please do let me know how you get on.
      Ian

  • Mike

    Ian, Once this app has been associated with a specific twitter account is there anyway to allow it to be associated
    with another twitter account?

    Also is there anyway to change the domain name in the app once it has been created?

    • http://iag.me/ Ian Anderson Gray

      Hi Mike. The app you create using these access tokens will authenticate itself from this one Twitter account. You can still access a wealth of information such as the tweets of other accounts (assuming they’re not protected), Twitter search, Twitter lists and so on. Obviously you can only access the data such as direct messages belonging to the authenticated user. If you want to access another Twitter account, you’ll need to register an app with that account. That’s definitely a good thing– you wouldn’t want to be able to post to any other Twitter account that you don’t own! Does that make sense?

      • Mike

        Makes a lot of sense Ian. I only want to read, write a send fro other accounts that are mine. Thanks!

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