As part of Widgetbox's new staff series—we'll be bringing you occasional guest posts from members of the Widgetbox team.
Twitter has never been stingy with their data. With enough expertise, you can do just about anything you can do on Twitter.com off the site using with their extensive REST and Search APIs. Developers have implemented Twitter-based authentication using Twitter as an OAUTH provider, with some websites providing their own version of Twitter status timelines based on the kinds of information they want to display. The sheer number of Twitter apps, clients, and mashups is a testament to the wealth of data available through relatively simple API calls and REST URLs. Full or at least partial Twitter API implementations are not uncommon, however they are not very lightweight.
Once connected, a website implementing @anywhere can offer a Twitter user more functionality including the ability to follow other Twitter users and tweet from inline Tweet Boxes—all without having to go to Twitter.com. Even if a user on a website isn't registered on Twitter, or if they choose not to login with Twitter Connect, developers still get a couple of other benefits by adding @anywhere.
As the number of Twitter users grows, referring to someone's online personality with their Twitter username has become increasingly pervasive. Typically websites do their own linking of Twitter usernames either by hand or through some simple string manipulations. @anywhere provides a method to automatically link Twitter usernames in a given portion of web page automatically. The Twitter @anywhere developers took this feature one step further and introduced Hovercards. By hovering over a linked Twitter Username, a web page visitor can see a preview of a Twitter user's profile and even follow the user without leaving the web site.
Twitter recently announced Blackbird Pie, a tool that allows you to embed static tweets in a web page. Blackbird Pie solves the problem of transcription. In the developer community I think we can expect more features like Blackbird Pie to make their way into @anywhere. Twitter understands that a crucial key to user expansion will be allowing for a programmatic way to embed tweets in a web page and allow users to interact with Twitter content off-site.
Sneak peak: http://blog.twitter.com/2010/03/anywhere.html
API Docs: http://dev.twitter.com/anywhere
Blackbird Pie: http://media.twitter.com/blackbird-pie/
Make a Twitter Widget at Widgetbox: http://www.widgetbox.com/make/twitter
—When he isn't biking competitively or on his way to be sponsored by Naked Juice, Jeff is a front-end software engineer here at Widgetbox