Nobody needs to be persuaded that Twitter is one of the biggest success stories to come out of the Web 2.0 world...
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so far. Its usefulness varies widely depending on the person using it -- some find it a great way to stay on top of many trending subjects at once, while others use it as an adjunct to email or other person-to-person communications.
And yet, others have ambitions to connect it to other services, write interfaces and syndication systems for it, or perhaps devise as-yet unheralded new ways to consume it (or provide it with data for consumption).
If you're a SQL Server programmer looking for a fast way to make your databases talk to Twitter, consider Tweet-SQL version 3, a third-party (not endorsed or created by Twitter) set of Microsoft SQL Server 2005/2008 stored procedures and CLR assemblies that encapsulate just about all of Twitter's APIs.
Installing and configuring Tweet-SQL is normally done through a GUI. You choose the database and SQL Server and Twitter user accounts you want to use with your particular installation. Likewise, the same GUI is used to remove Tweet-SQL, so it's relatively easy to clean up if you find it's not what you need.
Tweet-SQL's stored procedures all begin with tweet_, so there's little chance of a namespace collision with existing stored procedures. That said, you can always install Tweet-SQL into its own database and work with it from there if you want to minimize the chances of a collision. The internal settings for Tweet-SQL can also be modified either by way of the GUI or via commands issued through its internal stored procedures, so they can be changed within a program or through administrative action.
Many common things that people do with Twitter, but which aren't part of Twitter's native API set, are also supported. For example, the tweet_util_tweetShrink stored procedure abbreviates text in common ways (e.g. "2" for "two", "too", and "to") and even returns a value that lets you know how many characters were shaved off.
A free download lets you try out Tweet-SQL for 30 days. As of this writing, the full version is £25 (about $40 U.S.), though pricing may change. The licensing for the package lets you run it on up to two machines—like one server and one end-user machine—but you're not restricted to using just one Twitter account.
Note that right now there is no automatic tracking of Twitter's API rate limit through Tweet-SQL, so whatever you create using Tweet-SQL, keep these restrictions in mind.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Serdar Yegulalp has been writing about computers and information technology for more than 15 years for a variety of publications, including InformationWeek and Windows Magazine.