It's never fun to find out that a web-based service you used is making changes, and Twitter is making some big changes to the way its widgets work; I just found out about that last weekend, thanks to Alan Levine and Robin de Rosa whom I follow at Twitter.
For the past couple of years, Twitter has effectively been running two widget systems: an old system accessed through Settings-Widgets, and a new system accessed at publish.twitter.com. As of July 27, the old widget system is being retired. That means people who created widgets with the old system will have to replace their old widget code with new code. That's really not too much trouble... but there is one BIG problem: the new widget system apparently will not support hashtag widgets. All the other widgets will work (Profiles, Likes, Lists, Collections), but not the Search/Hashtag. Given that hashtags are one of the most powerful features of Twitter, it is very frustrating to find out that we will not be able to display live hashtag streams with widgets anymore. I'll discuss alternatives in later posts.
Right now, though, my immediate concern is to make sure that my Twitter4Canvas materials match up with the new system. When I first started promoting Twitter4Canvas, I was using the old widget system. I then started using the new system, but my Twitter4Canvas support materials were a messy hodgepodge of both systems. And, truth be told, that is mostly Twitter's fault: they never explained what exactly was going on, and when they did finally share the news, Deprecating Widget Settings, it was still pretty confusing. I might even be wrong about the hashtag widgets; Alan Levine and I are both participating right now in a related forum topic here, trying to get answers to that question: Replacing Deprecated Timeline Search Widget.
But... here's the good news: I have now completely revamped my Twitter4Canvas course resource site, and I hope it will be even more useful now! You can find the site here:
And this is what the site now contains:
The Homepage links directly to the simple Step 1-2-3 instructions for creating your Twitter widgets and publishing them in Canvas. I've also embedded this blog feed on the homepage so you can see my latest Twitter4Canvas blog posts there.
Ready-to-Use: I've reconfigured all the ready-to-use widgets (just copy-and-paste!) so that they conform to the new Twitter widget system.
Contact: I've got a contact page where people can ask questions, make suggestions, and request additional ready-to-use widgets.
I'll have more to say about all of that later, but I wanted to write up something now about changes to that site. I'm still not thrilled with the way Twitter has handled this widget system transition, but I am glad at least that it made me clean up my Twitter4Canvas course space!
I also made an about-me page... so that there could be cats. :-)