Creator Spotlight: Building Twitter Bots with Stefan Bohacek
Twitter’s history with developers has been a rocky one, to say the least. But like the on-again, off-again relationships of our teenage years, it seems despite this tumultuous past we just can’t get the love for creating Twitter apps out of our system.
The French (of course!) have a term for this at times tortuous and all-consuming desire — ‘amour fou’. Insane love. And nowhere does this fiery passion for Twitter development burn stronger than on Glitch.
A quick search of the community site reveals a treasure-trove of Twitter apps. From New Yorker caption bots to ways to share midi files via tweets (!) And at the heart of it all, stoking the flames is Stefan Bohacek.
Stefan is the creator of Botwiki, an open catalog of friendly, useful and artistic online bots, tools and tutorials.
Alongside fellow admin, Veronica Belmont, Stefan and co have worked tirelessly for the past year and a half on the site that’s dedicated to teaching folks how to make friendly, whimsical, and (by his own admission) “sometimes mildly annoying”, online bots.
In fact, it’s Stefan’s Twitter bot templates that power many of the Twitter apps on Glitch. His templates provide a useful springboard to the throngs of devs who are eager to quickly create a Twitter app or bot on Glitch, and they’ve already been remixed by more than 350 other app creators.
Among Stefan’s many Glitch creations are:
- Twitterbot — A simple template for making Twitter bots.
- Twitterbot-autorespond — A template for making Twitter bots that respond to @ mentions and DMs.
- Random-image-twitterbot — A Twitter bot that posts random images of your choice.
- DM-retweet-twitterbot — A retweet-via-DM Twitter bot.
Stefan says he began creating these template apps on Glitch after “I wrote several botmaking tutorials and I realized that the hardest part was always taking your code and making sure it runs after you close down your computer”. But his accessible templates and step-by-step tutorials haven’t just made creating Twitter apps quicker, they’ve opened Twitter development up to a much larger audience too.
“I struggled to make instructions on how to deploy and run your bot on a server accessible to people with less technical experience. But Glitch changed that.” Now he hopes that his Glitch templates mean that “everyone is able to make a Twitter bot clone for themselves”.
Stefan says that “we are facing enormous challenges in the world, and while we absolutely can’t solve them all through writing code, for those times when we can, Glitch, and similar tools, make it much easier for everyone to contribute”. But while we appreciate the props, it’s really made possible by the great tutorials and resources that Stefan has worked hard to put together.
So armed with Stefan’s templates, what will you besotted Twitter fans build next?