Chris Mendez in For Developers, Ruby, Tools for Software Engineers

Rails: Grab a Tweet and save it to JSON or YAML

I'm currently working on a sentiment analysis problem that requires me to collect big data from Twitter and process it for later. As a first step, I thought it would be helpful to simply grab a single Tweet and study its structure. Here is a very simple way to get data from Twitter's API and write it to a file so that you can study it's internal workings using Twitter gem and Rails Console.

This entry will show you how to publish either to JSON or to YAML.

Step 1 - Create a rails app

If you don't know how to create a rails app, here's a quick tutorial. Here's my simple command.

rails _5.0.0_ new my_api_app --api  

Change directory into your rails app.

cd my_api_app  

Step 2 - Install Twitter Gem

Open up your Gemfile and add this line of code to the bottom.

...
# ###
# App Specific Gems
# ###

gem 'twitter', '~> 6.0'  

Then run bundle install from within Terminal.

bundle install  

Step 3 - Create Twitter API Keys

A. First visit Twiter Application Management and create a new app.

B. Second, go to Keys and Access Tokens and get:

Consumer Keys and Access Tokens

  • Consumer Key (API Key)
  • Consumer Secret (API Secret)
  • Access Token
  • Access Token Secret

Step 4 - Prepare the Twitter API library

Follow the instructions from the Twitter gem and paste the Twitter keys into the API library using your favorite Text Editor.

client = Twitter::REST::Client.new do |config|  
  config.consumer_key        = "YOUR_CONSUMER_KEY"
  config.consumer_secret     = "YOUR_CONSUMER_SECRET"
  config.access_token        = "YOUR_ACCESS_TOKEN"
  config.access_token_secret = "YOUR_ACCESS_SECRET"
end  

Step 5 - Start Rails console

rails c  

Step 6 - Add Twitter Library

Once you've opened up your Rails console, paste the configuration.

Example

client = Twitter::REST::Client.new do |config|  
 config.consumer_key        = "4Zk081e000000000000xiF000"
 config.consumer_secret     = "Wl5u5hOO00000000000000000000x8Cn000t69xw"
 config.access_token        = "29055888000000000000000000009d8H000kRJDq"
 config.access_token_secret = "iB272eWM00000000000000000000irLU000"
end  

Step 7 - Create a search

This is an example of a Twitter query for the band "stereolab", returns the first result and converts it to JSON format.

Search

search =  client.search("#stereolab", count: 1, result_type: "recent",  lang: "en").first.to_json  

Step 8 - Create a new JSON file

OK, we're at the home stretch. All we need to do is create a file and save the search results to the file.

f = File.new("stereolab_result.json", "w")  

Insert the search result into the text file.

f << search  

Close the file.

f.close  

Step 9 - Create a YAML file

Create a YAML file.

f = File.new("stereolab_result.yaml", "w")  

Create the same search with a YAML response.

search =  client.search("#stereolab", count: 1, result_type: "recent",  lang: "en").first.to_yaml  

Insert the result into the text file.

f << search  

Close the file

f.close