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Tools for Tweet parsing

Project description

Authors: Fiona Pigott, Jeff Kolb, Josh Montague, Aaron Gonzales


Allow reliable parsing of Tweets delivered by the Gnip platform, in both activity-streams and original formats.


This package can be installed by cloning the repo and using pip install -e ., or by using pip install tweet_parser.

As of version 1.0.5, the package works with Python 2 and 3, and the API should be relatively stable. Recommended to use the more recent release. Current release is 1.13.2

Currently, this parser does not explicitly support Public API Twitter data.


This package is intended to be used as a Python module inside your other Tweet-related code. An example Python program (after pip installing the package) would be:

from tweet_parser.tweet import Tweet
from tweet_parser.tweet_parser_errors import NotATweetError
import fileinput
import json

for line in fileinput.FileInput("gnip_tweet_data.json"):
        tweet_dict = json.loads(line)
        tweet = Tweet(tweet_dict)
    except (json.JSONDecodeError,NotATweetError):
    print(tweet.created_at_string, tweet.all_text)

I’ve also added simple command-line utility:

python tools/ -f"gnip_tweet_data.json" -c"created_at_string,all_text"


A Python package exists in test/.

The most important thing that it tests is the equivalence of outputs when comparing both activity-streams input and original-format input. Any new getter will be tested by running test$ python, as the test checks every method attached to the Tweet object, for every test tweet stored in test/tweet_payload_examples. For any cases where it is expected that the outputs are different (e.g., outputs that depend on poll options), conditional statements should be added to this test.

An option also exists for run-time checking of Tweet payload formats. This compares the set of all Tweet field keys to a superset of all possible keys, as well as a minimum set of all required keys, to make sure that each newly loaded Tweet fits those parameters. This shouldn’t be run every time you load Tweets (for one, it’s slow), but is implemented to use as a periodic check against Tweet format changes. This option is enabled with --do_format_validation on the command line, and by setting the keyword argument do_format_validation to True when initializing a Tweet object.


Submit bug reports or feature requests through GitHub Issues, with self-contained minimum working examples where appropriate.

To contribute code, fork this repo, create your own local feature branch, make your changes, test them, and submit a pull request to the master branch. The contribution guidelines specified in the pandas documentation are a great reference.

When you submit a change, change the version number. For bug fixes and non-breaking changes that do not affect the top-level Tweet object API (fixing a bug or changing the internals of a getter while package naming/structure remains the same), increment the last number (X.Y.Z -> X.Y.Z+1) in For changes that do affect the top-level Tweet object API (e.g., adding a new getter), increment the middle number (X.Y.Z -> X.Y+1.0).

Guidelines for new getters

A getter is a method in the Tweet class and the accompanying code in the getter_methods module. A getter for some property should:

  • be named <property>, a method in Tweet decorated with @lazy_property

  • have a corresponding method named get_<property>(tweet) in the getter_methods module that implements the logic, nested uner the appropriate submodule (a text property probably lives under the getter_methods.tweet_text submodule)

  • provide the exact same output for original format and activity-streams format Tweet input, except in the case where certain information is unavailable (see get_poll_options).

In general, prefer that the get_<property> work on a simple Tweet dictionary as well as a Tweet object (this makes unit testing easier). This means that you might use is_original_format(tweet) rather than tweet.is_original_format to check format inside of a getter.

Adding unit tests for your getter in the docstrings in the “Example” section is helpful. See existing getters for examples.

In general, make detailed docstrings with examples in get_<property>, and more concise dosctrings in Tweet, with a reference for where to find the get_<property> getter that implements the logic.


Adhere to the PEP8 style. Using a Python linter (like flake8) is reccomended.

For documentation style, use Google-style docstrings. Refer to the Python docstest documentation for doctest guidelines.


Create an isolated virtual environment for testing (there are currently no external dependencies for this library).

Test your new feature by reinstalling the library in your virtual environment and running the test script as shown below. Fix any issues until all tests pass.

(env) [tweet_parser]$ pip install -e .
(env) [tweet_parser]$ cd test/; python; cd -

Furthermore, if contributing a new accessor or getter method for payload elements, verify the code works as you intended by running the script with your new field, as shown below. Check that both input types produce the intended output.

Note that FieldDeprecationWarnings will appear while testing for certain getters, this is expected behavior.

(env) [tweet_parser]$ pip install -e .
(env) [tweet_parser]$ python tools/ -f test/tweet_payload_examples/activity_streams_examples.json -c <your new field>

And lastly, if you’ve added new docstrings and doctests, from the docs directory, run make html (to check docstring formatting) and make doctest to run the doctests.

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