Twitter recently updated their API to v1.1 (Current status: API v1.1). Naturally, LINQ to Twitter needed to be updated too. This blog post outlines the changes made to LINQ to Twitter during this conversion and highlights important features that LINQ to Twitter developers will want to know.
Generally speaking, Twitter API v1.1 is semantically very much the same as it’s predecessor. The base URL changed and so did a few resource segments, but the resources themselves are still intact. The good news is that LINQ to Twitter has always shielded the developer from this plumbing, so the entities, types, and filters didn’t change much at all. The following sections describe what did change.
In Twitter API v1.0 authentication was not required for some resources, such as user timelines and search. However, that’s all changed because *all* queries must be authenticated in Twitter API v1.1. LINQ to Twitter has various types of authorizers you can use, supporting whatever OAuth options are available via Twitter. You can see the LINQ to Twitter documentation, Securing Your Applications, for more info on OAuth support.
The New Search
One of the larger changes to the API was Search. To be more specific, the Search entity now contains a List<Status>, named Statuses, to hold results. Additionally, any meta-data associated with the search is now in a property named SearchMetaData. The change to the Search entity and responses is the big change, but the good news is that your Search query syntax doesn’t change.
Different Rate Limits
The issue of rate limits itself is contentious, but this discussion is focused on the coding experience and I’ll leave the politics to those who prefer to engage in that activity. What’s important here is that both headers and resources have changed. You should review Twitter’s Rate Limit documentation to understand what the changes mean. A quick explanation is that rate limits are applied individually to each resource in 15 minute time intervals.
In LINQ to Twitter these changes surface on the Help entity, via HelpType.RateLimits. The RateLimits query has a Resources filter where you can specify a comma-separated list of categories to return rate limit info for. The results materialize in the RateLimits dictionary, keyed on category. The Help entity also has a RateLimitsAuthorizationContext, holding the Access Token for the user performing queries – and to whom the rate limits apply.
In addition to the new RateLimits query, there are new RateLimit headers that appear in the query response, whose HTTP header name is of the form X-Rate-Limit… which is different from the previous header name. LINQ to Twitter surfaces these headers via the existing properties of the TwitterContext instance. For anyone who retrieved rate limit information via the Headers property of TwitterContext, you should be aware of the new header names. I haven’t done anything with Feature rate limit properties yet, but they appear to no longer be available – this will require more follow-up.
Twitter API v1.1 has a new format for Error Codes & Responses. LINQ to Twitter wraps these messages in the TwitterQueryException, which has been updated appropriately. The Message property of TwitterQueryException now reflects the Twitter error message, when available. There’s also a new ErrorCode that’s populated with the message error code.
Most parameters stayed the same, but one of interest is Include Entities (different from LINQ to Twitter data object entities). Entities are metadata hanging off tweets, that provide start/end position in the tweet and other information for mentions, urls, hash tags, and media. Entities used to not be included unless you specified you wanted them. Now, in v1.1, entities are included by default for all APIs that return a Status. If you were always setting IncludeEntities to true, then you won’t see a change. However, be aware that you’ll now be receiving additional data in your response from Twitter, which will explain a sudden increase in bandwidth utilization. This might or might not matter to you depending on the requirements of your application, but you should be aware of it.
There might be small changes here and there that I haven’t mentioned, but these were the ones you should be most aware of. Streams didn’t change, but Twitter will be deprecating username/password authentication on public streams, in favor of OAuth, so you’ll be seeing me make that change some time in the future. Also, Twitter will continue to evolve the API and you can expect that LINQ to Twitter will change accordingly.
The big changes to Twitter API were Authentication, Search, Rate Limits, and Error Handling. All API calls must be authenticated. You’ll need to change your code to read Search results differently, but the query is much the same as you use now. There’s a new RateLimits API, one of the Help queries. Also, the new error messages are integrated into TwitterQueryException. Besides these changes, I expect most others to be small or affect a smaller percentage of developers.
You can get the latest version of LINQ to Twitter from NuGet or visit the LINQ to Twitter download page at CodePlex.com.