Archive for May, 2010

In search of THE twitter protocol to RULE them all

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Here I am at the first WarbleCamp (a barcamp style twitter unconference) in the heart of the Guardian’s offices in Kings Cross.


I’ve always been interested in protocols and find them really coool, useful & helpful. So for my first warblecamp session I decided to call out for a discussion on creating a twitter:// protocol – why do I see this as important, and what does it mean ?


Here is my use case for how a standard twitter protocol would work. A web page would have a link embedded within the HTML such as an @username or a call to action page which might be a petition site wanting you to tweet a link with a fixed hashtag.

The normal flow of events are that the link would POST the message to ; firstly you would be required to authenticate on and then you would be forwarded on to your twitter page, with the message appearing in the posting box.

A pre-requisite in this would be to encode the message in the url which would take on the form :<encoded message>

Wouldn’t it be great IF – there was one single twitter:// protocol that would communicate with an application on my computer, that i’ve already authenticated and i’m happy/comfortable using.

This would mean app developers would need to adopt the protocol with their own apps behaviour, but it woud allow all kinds of interaction with clients and quick / easy interaction with twitter platform, not matter if you are on a desktop or a mobile.

Here is a quick flow of how I think it might work.


The biggest challenge I believe is at step 3 where the user has to set / select which registered application to use, could this be a system preference, could it be sniffed out with javascript, the user needs control over it, but it would/should act a bit like browser selectors, maybe its all driven via something like @anywhere and the choice of apps are shown via javascript links … lots of ideas and questions, but I’d like app developers and twitter developers interested in seeing this happen to engage in a conversation to see if we can make this happen.

Message me on twitter @ketan to continue this discussion OR reply to the post below, and lets see if we can make this happen. I will expand some further ideas on the flow above in a future post.

Thanks @raffi for talking through this idea with me at WarbleCamp this morning !