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birdy is a super awesome Twitter API client for Python.

Project description


``birdy`` is a super awesome Twitter API client for Python in just a
little under 400 LOC.



- `Future proof dynamic API with full REST and Streaming API
coverage <#ok-im-sold-but-how-do-i-use-it-how-does-this-dynamic-api-construction-work>`__
- `OAuth1 (user) and OAuth2 (app) authentication
workflows <#great-what-about-authorization-how-do-i-get-my-access-tokens>`__
- `Automatic JSON decoding <#automatic-json-decoding>`__,
`JSONObject <#jsonobject>`__
- `ApiResponse <#apiresponse>`__, `StreamResponse <#streamresponse>`__
- `Informative exceptions <#informative-exceptions>`__
- `Easily customizable through
subclassing <#customize-and-extend-through-subclassing>`__
- `Built on top of the excellent requests and requests-ouathlib
libraries <#credits>`__


The easiest and recommended way to install ``birdy`` is from
`PyPI <>`__


pip install birdy


Import client and initialize it:

.. code:: python

from birdy.twitter import UserClient
client = UserClient(CONSUMER_KEY,

GET example (**GET users/show**):

.. code:: python

response ='twitter')

POST example (**POST statuses/update**):

.. code:: pyhton

response ='Hello @pybirdy!')

Dynamic URL example (**POST statuses/destroy/:id**):

.. code:: python

response = client.api.statuses.destroy['240854986559455234'].post()

Streaming API example (**Public Stream POST statuses/filter**):

.. code:: python

response ='twitter')

for data in
print data

Supported Python version

``birdy`` works with both ``python2`` (2.7+) and ``python3`` (3.4+).

Why another Python Twitter API client? Aren’t there enough?

The concept behind ``birdy`` is so simple and awesome that it just had
to be done, and the result is a super light weight and easy to use API
client, that covers the whole Twitter REST API in just a little under
400 lines of code.

To achieve this, ``birdy`` relies on established, battle tested python
libraries like ``requests`` and ``requests-ouathlib`` to do the heavy
lifting, but more importantly it relies on Python’s dynamic nature to
automatically construct API calls (no individual wrapper functions for
API resources needed). This allows ``birdy`` to cover all existing
Twitter API resources and any future additions, without the need to
update ``birdy`` itself.

Includes full support for both **OAuth1** (user) and **OAuth2**
(application) authentication workflows.

Finally, ``birdy`` is simple and explicit by design, besides error
handling and JSON decoding it doesn’t process the returned data in any
way, that is left for you to handle (who’d know better what to do with

OK, I’m sold, but how do I use it? How does this dynamic API construction work?

The easiest way to show you is by example. Lets say you want to query
Twitter for @twitter user information. The Twitter API resource for this
is **GET users/show** (`Twitter
docs <>`__).

First you will need to import a client, here we import UserClient
(OAuth1) and than initialize it.

.. code:: python

from birdy.twitter import UserClient
client = UserClient(CONSUMER_KEY,

To query the **GET /users/show** API resource and pass in the parameter
screen_name=‘twitter’ you do this.

.. code:: python

resource =
response = resource.get(screen_name='twitter')

What happens here is very simple, ``birdy`` translates the
```` part after ``client.api`` into the appropriate API
resource path (**‘users/show’**). Then when you call get() on the
resource, ``birdy`` constructs a full resource URL, appends any
parameters passed to get() to it and makes a GET request to that URL and
returns the result.

Usually the above example would be shortened to just one line like this.

.. code:: python

response ='twitter')

Making a post request is similar, if for example, you would like to post
a status update, this is how to do it. The API resource is **POST
statuses/update** (`Twitter
docs <>`__).

.. code:: python

response ='Hello @pybirdy!')

Like before the part after ``client.api`` gets converted to the correct
path, only this time post() is called instead of get(), so ``birdy``
makes a POST request and pass parameters (and files) as part of the
request body.

For cases when dynamic values are part of the API resource URL, like
when deleting a tweet at **POST statuses/destroy/:id** (`Twitter
docs <>`__),
``birdy`` supports an alternative, dictionary lookup like, syntax. For
example, deleting a tweet with id ‘240854986559455234’ looks like this.

.. code:: python

response = client.api.statuses.destroy['240854986559455234'].post()

By now it should be clear what happens above, ``birdy`` builds the API
resource path and than makes a POST request, the only difference is that
part of the API path is provided like a dictionary key lookup.

Actually any call can be written in this alternative syntax, use
whichever you prefer. Both syntax forms can be freely combined as in the
example above. Some more examples:

.. code:: python

response = client.api['users/show'].get(screen_name='twitter')

response = client.api['users']['show'].get(screen_name='twitter')

response = client.api['statuses/destroy']['240854986559455234'].post()

Is Streaming API supported as well?

Sure, since version 0.2, ``birdy`` comes with full support for Streaming
API out of the box. Access to the Streaming API is provided by a special

``StreamClient`` can’t be used to obtain access tokens, but you can
use ``UserClient`` to get them.

To work with the Streaming API, first import the client and initialize

.. code:: python

from birdy.twitter import StreamClient
client = StreamClient(CONSUMER_KEY,

To access resources on the **Public** stream, like **POST
statuses/filter** (`Twitter
docs <>`__)

.. code:: python

resource ='twitter')

For **User** stream resource **GET user** (`Twitter
docs <>`__)

.. code:: python

resource = client.userstream.user.get()

And for **Site** stream resource **GET site** (`Twitter
docs <>`__)

.. code:: python

resource =

To access the data in the stream you iterate over ````
like this

.. code:: python

for data in
print data

Great, what about authorization? How do I get my access tokens?

``birdy`` supports both **OAuth1** and **OAuth2** authentication
workflows by providing two different clients, a ``UserClient`` and
``AppClient`` respectively. While requests to API resources, like in
above examples are the same in both clients, the workflow for obtaining
access tokens is slightly different.

Before you get started, you will need to
`register <>`__ your application with
Twitter, to obtain your application’s ``CONSUMER_KEY`` and

OAuth1 workflow for user authenticated requests (UserClient)

Step 1: Creating a client instance

First you need to import the ``UserClient`` and create an instance with
your apps ``CONSUMER_KEY`` and ``CONSUMER_SECRET``.

.. code:: python

from birdy.twitter import UserClient



Step 2: Get request token and authorization URL

Pass ``callback_url`` only if you have a Web app, Desktop and Mobile
apps **do not** require it.

Next you need to fetch request token from Twitter. If you are building a
*Sign-in with Twitter* type application it’s done like this.

.. code:: python

token = client.get_signin_token(CALLBACK_URL)

Otherwise like this.

.. code:: python

token = client.get_authorize_token(CALLBACK_URL)

Save ``token.oauth_token`` and ``token.oauth_token_secret`` for later
user, as this are not the final token and secret.

.. code:: python

ACCESS_TOKEN = token.oauth_token
ACCESS_TOKEN_SECRET = token.oauth_token_secret

Direct the user to Twitter authorization url obtained from

Step 3: OAuth verification

If you have a Desktop or Mobile app, ``OAUTH_VERIFIER`` is the PIN
code, you can skip the part about extraction.

After authorizing your application on Twitter, the user will be
redirected back to the ``callback_url`` provided during client
initialization in *Step 1*.

You will need to extract the ``OAUTH_VERIFIER`` from the URL. Most web
frameworks provide an easy way of doing this or you can parse the URL
yourself using ``urlparse`` module (if that is your thing).

Django and Flask examples:

.. code:: python

OAUTH_VERIFIER = request.GET['oauth_verifier']

OAUTH_VERIFIER = request.args.get('oauth_verifier')

Once you have the ``OAUTH_VERIFIER`` you can use it to obtain the final
access token and secret. To do that you will need to create a new
instance of ``UserClient``, this time also passing in ``ACCESS_TOKEN``
and ``ACCESS_TOKEN_SECRET`` obtained in *Step 2* and then fetch the

.. code:: python


token = client.get_access_token(OAUTH_VERIFIER)

Now that you have the final access token and secret you can save
``token.oauth_token`` and ``token.oauth_token_secret`` to the database
for later use, also you can use the client to start making API request
immediately. For example, you can retrieve the users home timeline like

.. code:: python

response = client.api.statuses.home_timeline.get()

That’s it you have successfully authorized the user, retrieved the
tokens and can now make API calls on their behalf.

OAuth2 workflow for app authenticated requests (AppClient)

.. step-1-creating-a-client-instance-1:

Step 1: Creating a client instance

For OAuth2 you will be using the ``AppClient``, so first you need to
import it and create an instance with your apps ``CONSUMER_KEY`` and

.. code:: python

from birdy.twitter import AppClient



Step 2: Getting the access token

OAuth2 workflow is much simpler compared to OAuth1, to obtain the access
token you simply do this.

.. code:: python

access_token = client.get_access_token()

That’s it, you can start using the client immediately to make API
request on behalf of the app. It’s recommended you save the
``access_token`` for later use. You initialize the client with a saved
token like this.

.. code:: python


Keep in mind that OAuth2 authenticated requests are **read-only** and
not all API resources are available. Check `Twitter
docs <>`__ for more information.

Any other useful features I should know about?

Of course, ``birdy`` comes with some handy features, to ease your
development, right out of the box. Lets take a look at some of the

Automatic JSON decoding

JSON data returned by the REST and Streaming API is automatically
decoded to native Python objects, no extra coding necessary, start using
the data right away.


When decoding JSON data, ``objects`` are, instead of a regular Python
dictionary, converted to a ``JSONObject``, which is dictionary subclass
with attribute style access in addition to regular dictionary lookup
style, for convenience. The following code produces the same result

.. code:: python

followers_count =['followers_count']

followers_count =


Calls to REST API resources return a ``ApiResponse``, which in addition
to returned data, also gives you access to response headers (useful for
checking rate limits) and resource URL.

.. code:: python # decoded JSON data
response.resource_url # resource URL
response.headers # dictionary containing response HTTP headers


``StreamResponse`` is returned when calling Streaming API resources and
provides the **stream()** method which returns an iterator used to
receive JSON decoded streaming data. Like ``ApiResponse`` it also gives
you access to response headers and resource URL.

.. code:: python # a generator method used to iterate over the stream

for data in
print data

Informative exceptions

There are 4 types of exceptions in ``birdy`` all subclasses of base
``BirdyException`` (which is never directly raised).

- ``TwitterClientError`` raised for connection and access token
retrieval errors
- ``TwitterApiError`` raised when Twitter returns an error
- ``TwitterAuthError`` raised when authentication fails,
``TwitterApiError`` subclass
- ``TwitterRateLimitError`` raised when rate limit for resource is
reached, ``TwitterApiError`` subclass

``TwitterApiError`` and ``TwitterClientError`` instances (exepct for
access token retrieval errors) provide a informative error description
which includes the resource URL and request method used (very handy when
tracking errors in logs), also available is the following:

.. code:: python

exception.request_method # HTTP method used to make the request (GET or POST)
exception.resource_url # URL of the API resource called
exception.status_code # HTTP status code returned by Twitter
exception.error_code # error code returned by Twitter
exception.headers # dictionary containing response HTTP headers

Customize and extend through subclassing

``birdy`` was built with subclassing in mind, if you wish to change the
way it works, all you have to do is subclass one of the clients and
override some methods and you are good to go.

Subclassing a client and then using the subclass instance in your
codeis actually **the recommended way** of using ``birdy``.

For example, if you don’t wish to use ``JSONObject`` you have to
override **get_json_object_hook()** method.

.. code:: python

from birdy.twitter import UserClient

class MyClient(UserClient):
def get_json_object_hook(data):
return data

client = MyClient(...)
response ='twitter')

Or maybe, if you want global error handling for common errors, just
override **handle_response()** method.

.. code:: python

class MyClient(UserClient):
def handle_response(self, method, response):
response = super(MyClient, self).handle_response(method, response)
except TwitterApiError, e:
# Your error handling code
return response

Another use of subclassing is configuration of ``requests.Session``
(`docs <>`__)
used to make HTTP requests, to configure it, you override the
**configure_oauth_session()** method.

.. code:: python

class MyClient(UserClient):
def configure_oauth_session(self, session):
session = super(MyClient, self).configure_oauth_session(session)
session.proxies = {'http': ''}
return session

Do you accept contributions and feature requests?

**Yes**, both contributions (including feedback) and feature requests
are welcome, the proper way in both cases is to first open an issue on
`GitHub <>`__ and we will take if
from there.

Keep in mind that I work on this project on my free time, so I might
not be able to respond right way.


``birdy`` would not exists if not for the excellent
`requests <>`__ and
`requests-oauthlib <>`__
libraries and the wonderful `Python <>`__
programing language.

Question, comments, …

If you need to contact me, you can find me on Twitter

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