Ankit Ahuja

Twitter + Orkut = Twitkut

I use Twitter a lot. Unfortunately, almost all of my real life friends are only on Orkut. Most of them haven’t even heard of Twitter. That’s how I came up with the idea of creating something like Twitkut.

I update frequently on Twitter. So, I thought how cool will it be if somehow all my Orkut friends can also read them from Orkut itself. That will mean they will not have to register on Twitter to follow me and get updates.

Twitkut displays your recent tweets on your Orkut profile page. Besides, it also shows you which all of your friends are using Twitkut so that you can follow them. It also allows you to post updates to your twitter account from within Orkut using OAuth.

It makes use of Google’s OpenSocial JavaScript API as well as Twitter’s Search API to access the tweets.

OpenSocial is still pretty nescient, especially if you have seen the Facebook API. I was pretty dissappointed at times with the lack of features in the API. For eg., a chief functionality of my app would have been to update the status of the Orkut user with his/her latest tweet. But, the API didn’t allow it.

Also, to post an update to a user’s activity stream, the owner of the app must visit their profile page or the Twitkut application. This makes it impossible to automatically poll for new tweets and post them to a user’s activity stream. Maximum 2 updates are allowed to a user’s activity stream in a day.

Another feature OpenSocial currently lacks is that there is no way for the developer to keep track of who or how many users are using his application. I feel this should have been one of the first features that should have been implemented in the API, to allow developers to see analysis of their app usage from within Orkut.

There was one more thing that made me cringe. The Orkut sandbox allows using Opensocial 0.8 api whereas prod.sandbox.orkut.com as well as orkut.com only allow Opensocial 0.7 at this point of time. Nowhere did they mention this loud and clear. So, I ended up making the app using Opensocial 0.8. Then I got to know that I had to use Opensocial 0.7 if I wanted to submit my app to Orkut ( of course that’s the reason I am developing the app ) and so I had to make some redundant changes all over again.

On the brighter side, I was very happy with the response at the Orkut Developer Forum. Jason and others helped me along the way and were kind enough to answer all my queries. Without their help, I would certainly have been unable to develop this app. It also cleared some of my concepts regarding caching, etc.

All in all, I am pretty happy with the final result. I have received nice feedback from people who have already started using Twitkut.

So, if you use Orkut and you are a Twitter crazy person and want to share your tweets with a wider world, you can add the application by going here.

Follow updates on development: @twitkut

Follow me: @ahujaankit

Update: Twitkut is now visible in Orkut profiles. The profile view will improve gradually. This is after Twitkut was temporarily not visible on Orkut profiles as the profile view had to re-built using OPML.