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Twurl is like curl, but tailored specifically for the Twitter API. It knows how to grant an access token to a client application for a specified user and then sign all requests with that access token.

It also provides other development and debugging conveniences such as defining aliases for common requests, as well as support for multiple access tokens to easily switch between different client applications and Twitter accounts.

Installing Twurl

Twurl can be installed using RubyGems:

gem install twurl

Getting Started

If you haven't already, the first thing to do is apply for a developer account to access Twitter APIs:

After you have that access you can create a Twitter app and generate a consumer key and secret.

When you have your consumer key and its secret you authorize your Twitter account to make API requests with that consumer key and secret.

twurl authorize --consumer-key key       \
                --consumer-secret secret

This will return an URL that you should open up in your browser. Authenticate to Twitter, and then enter the returned PIN back into the terminal. Assuming all that works well, you will be authorized to make requests with the API. Twurl will tell you as much.

Making Requests

The simplest request just requires that you specify the path you want to request.

twurl /1.1/statuses/home_timeline.json

Similar to curl, a GET request is performed by default.

You can implicitly perform a POST request by passing the -d option, which specifies POST parameters.

twurl -d 'status=Testing twurl' /1.1/statuses/update.json

You can explicitly specify what request method to perform with the -X (or --request-method) option.

twurl -X POST /1.1/statuses/destroy/1234567890.json

Using Bearer Tokens (Application-only authentication)

You can generate a bearer token using --bearer option in combination with the authorize subcommand.

twurl authorize --bearer --consumer-key key       \
                         --consumer-secret secret

And then, you can make a request using a generated bearer token using --bearer request option.

twurl --bearer '/1.1/search/tweets.json?q=hello'

To list your generated bearer tokens, you can use the bearer_tokens subcommand.

twurl bearer_tokens

This will print a pair of consumer_key and its associated bearer token. Note, tokens are omitted from this output.

Accessing Different Hosts

You can access different hosts for other Twitter APIs using the -H flag.

twurl -H "" "/7/accounts"

Uploading Media

To upload binary files, you can format the call as a form post. Below, the binary is "/path/to/media.jpg" and the form field is "media":

twurl -H "" -X POST "/1.1/media/upload.json" --file "/path/to/media.jpg" --file-field "media"

Creating aliases

twurl alias h /1.1/statuses/home_timeline.json

You can then use "h" in place of the full path.

twurl h

Paths that require additional options (such as request parameters, for example) can be used with aliases the same as with full explicit paths, just as you might expect.

twurl alias tweet /1.1/statuses/update.json
twurl tweet -d "status=Aliases in twurl are convenient"

Changing your default profile

The first time you authorize a client application to make requests on behalf of your account, twurl stores your access token information in its ~/.twurlrc file. Subsequent requests will use this profile as the default profile. You can use the accounts subcommand to see what client applications have been authorized for what user names:

twurl accounts
    hhC7Koy2zRsTZvQh1hVlSA (default)

Notice that one of those consumer keys is marked as the default. To change the default use the set subcommand, passing then either just the username, if it's unambiguous, or the username and consumer key pair if it isn't unambiguous:

twurl set default testiverse
twurl accounts
    guT9RsJbNQgVe6AwoY9BA (default)
twurl set default noradio HQsAGcBm5MQT4n6j7qVJw
twurl accounts
    HQsAGcBm5MQT4n6j7qVJw (default)

Profiles and Bearer Tokens

While changing the default profile allows you to select which access token (OAuth1.0a) to use, bearer tokens don't link to any user profiles as the Application-only authentication doesn't require user context. That is, you can make an application-only request regardless of your default profile if you specify the -c (--consumer-key) option once you generate a bearer token with this consumer key. By default, twurl reads the current profile's consumer key and its associated bearer token from ~/.twurlrc file.


Marcel Molina / @noradio

Erik Michaels-Ober / @sferik

and there are many more!