I had a chance to attend first ever Twitter UK Developers meetup at their London office last evening. Twitter UK got a new office recently that no doubt is a fabulous piece of architecture and interior design. This meetup gave a chance to bring interested Twitter developers together and meet Twitter officials. It was a great experience meeting new people and learning about interesting facts by Twitter Dev Relations team.
The meetup started with Katie Penn introducing herself, welcoming the attendees and explaining the meetup agenda. Romain Huet took over speakers deck quickly with his presentation about use of Twitter at variety of different scenarios. This included the interesting facts of data usage during football World Cup as well as projects like building a Twitter bot that posts a tweet as soon as a shark comes closer to the beach. Romain also discussed about partnerships with other organisations such as Dataminr whose system digs relationships between tweets to capture news, events and relevant information before they even make their way at any mainstream media.
Romain also showcased some of the use cases of Twitter’s Streaming and media APIs using Node.js and Raspberry Pi. He also presented a live demo of his drone @twicopter that flies when someone tweets with particular hashtags and words. In this particular case it was “#TwitterDevUK takeoff” to make it fly. The drone not only flies but also replies back to particular user with its current status as well as takes pictures and posts back to Twitter stream. These few powerful demos showcased how Twitter can be used in variety of useful ways. After Romain’s talk, it was time to make new friends or discuss any questions with officials.
I got a chance to finally ask Romain that why Twitter is not working on building their own API SDKs. He mentioned that they get this question a lot and they do want to build the SDKs but they don’t have a definite timeline on this as yet – as they are quite busy despite being a large team. He added that at the moment they are letting API users rely on existing libraries, built and maintained by other developers1. We also talked about a mailing list in such a case where such developers can be notified with changes in API so these third party libraries can be updated accordingly. In my opinion, if Twitter Devs are looking forward to increase their Twitter API user base, established SDKs should be a priority.
A clear focus of this meetup was missing though as well as Twitter Dev team which most of us really hoped to catch up with. Nevertheless, event was still quite engaging overall. Though despite expectations of many, only limited number of people attended the meetup. The tweet from Andrew Betts from FT Labs sums it up well.
#twitterdevuk meetup at new twitter office in London. I think there are more FT employees here than Twitter staff.— Andrew Betts (@triblondon) July 14, 2014
Since this was the first ever meetup, I guess they will make it better with time but for now well done!