18 Aug 2013

Lazy Load Twitter Bootstrap Carousel Images

Twitter Bootstrap comes with a nice carousel for cycling through images. If you look at the html for the carousel you will notice that the images are loaded on page load. This is fine as long as it contains a few images but what happens if we have 11 jpg”s 500kb each ? One solution I have is to put the carousel in a modal and using jQuery to lazy load the carousel images.

In the following html we have a modal which contains a carousel which loads three images, when the page loads.

Full screen demo

We can add a bit of JavaScript and change the HTML markup to lazy load the carousel images when the modal is launched.

Full screen demo

In the HTML all that has changed is that a div was added that contains an image element that loads an animated GIF of an ajax-loader just above the carousel html and the src attributes on img elements were changed to data-src. This way the browser wont load the images on page load.

The JavaScript does a few things. First, it binds/listens to the show event on all divs with the modal class, finds the carousel within it and hidse it. Then for all image elements within the carousel div we look to see if it has a data-src attribute, if it does we create a Deferred instance.

Deferreds are a bit advanced topic but here they are used to make sure that the carousel is shown after all images are loaded, hence why the deferred instance is added to an array.

After this, the JavaScript binds/listens to the load event on the img element. In this case it uses the resolved function on the deferred instance p as the callback function. This means that once the image is loaded by the browser, the deferred is marked as resolved/done.

To load the image, the src attribute is set to the value of data-src and data-src is set to an empty value so that this process isnt repeated again if the modal is closed and re-opened later.

The last bit of code is to wait until all of our deferred instances are done. This is done by the $.when.apply call. apply is used here as an array needs to be passed as the argument to $.when. In the callback function, we hide the ajax-loader and fadeIn the carousel.

Thats it. Hope this helps. Read the following deferred.promise docs for more information on the API.

03 Aug 2013

Using Twython To Connect To The Twitter Streaming API via OAuth

Before you can connect to the Streaming API you need create a Twitter application. This will give you the necessary OAuth credentials. To do this, go to dev.twitter.com/apps, login to your Twitter account then click the Create a new application button and follow the instructions.

To connect to the Streaming using Twython, you need create a subclass of TwythonStreamer

from twython import TwythonStreamer

class TweetStreamer(TwythonStreamer):
    def on_success(self, data):
        if 'text' in data:
            print data['text'].encode('utf-8')

    def on_error(self, status_code, data):
        print status_code

Now we will instanstiate the TweetStreamer class and pass in the oauth details

# replace these with the details from your Twitter Application
consumer_key = ''
consumer_secret = ''
access_token = ''
access_token_secret = ''

streamer = TweetStreamer(consumer_key, consumer_secret,
                         access_token, access_token_secret)

streamer.statuses.filter(track = 'python')

The method on_success on the class TweetStreamer will get called for each tweet we receive from the streaming api. The statuses.filter call, will find tweets that contain the word python. Running this script will start printing tweets to the console.

18 Mar 2010

Building a Twitter Filter With CherryPy, Redis, and tweetstream


all the code is available at https://github.com/bulkan/queshuns

Since reading this post by Simon Willison I’ve been interested in Redis and have been following its development. After having a quick play around with Redis I’ve been looking for a project to work on that uses Redis as a data store. I then came across this blog post by Mirko Froehlich, in which he shows the steps and code to create a Twitter filter using Redis as the datastore and Sinatra as the web app. This blog post will explain how I created queshuns.com in Python and the various listed tools below.


  • tweetstream - provides the interface to the Twitter Streaming API
  • CherryPy - used for handling the web app side, no need for an ORM
  • Jinja2 - HTML templating
  • jQuery - for doing the AJAXy stuff and visual effects
  • redis-py - Python client for Redis
  • Redis - the “database”, look here for the documenation on how to install it

Retrieving tweets

The first thing we need to is retrieve tweets from the Twitter Streaming API. Thankfully there is already a Python module that provides a nice interface called tweetstream. For more information about tweetstream look at the Cheeseshop page for its usage guide.

Here is the code for the filter_daemon.py, which when executed as a script from the command-line will start streaming tweets from Twitter that contain the words “why”, “how”, “when”, “lol”, “feeling” and the tweet must end in a question mark.

In this script I define a class, FilterRedis which I use to abstract some methods that will be used by both filter_daemon.py and later by the web app itself.

The important part of this class is the push method, which will push data onto the tail of a Redis list. It also keeps a count of items and when it goes over the threshold of 100 items, it will trim starting from the head and the first 20th elements (or the oldest tweets).

The schema for the tweet data that gets pushed into the Redis list is a dictionary of values that gets jsonified (we can probably use then new Redis hash type);

{ ‘id’:“the tweet id”, ‘text’:“text of the tweet”, ‘username’:“, ‘userid’:“userid”, ‘name’: “name of the twitter user”, ‘profile_image_url’: “url to profile image”, ‘received_at’:time.time() }

‘received_at’ is important because we will be using that to find new tweets to display in the web app.

Web App

I picked CherryPy to write the web application, because I wanted to learn it for the future when I need to write a small web frontends that dont need an ORM. Also, CherryPy has a built-in HTTP server that is sufficient for websites with small loads, which I initially used to run queshuns.com it is now being run with mod_python. For templating, I used Jinja2 because its similair in syntax to the Django templating language that I am familiar with.

The following is the code for questions_app.py which is the CherryPy application.

The index (method) of the web app will get the all the tweets from Redis. The other exposed
function is latest which accepts an argument since which is used to get tweets that are newer (since is the latest tweets received_at value). nt is used to create a different URL each time so that IE doesn’t cache it. This method returns JSON at.

The templates are located in a directory called templates :)

Here is the template for the root/index of the site; index.jinja

This template will be used to render a list of tweets and also assign the first tweets recieved_at value to a variable on the window object. This is used by the refreshTweets function which will pass it on to /latest in a GET parameter. refreshTweets will try to get new tweets and prepend it to the content div and then slide the latest tweets. This is the template used to render the HTML for the latest tweets;

I explicitly set the the latest div to “display: none” so that I can animate it.

Now we should be able to run questions_daemon.py to start retrieving tweets then start questions_app.py to look at the web app. On your browser go to http://localhost:8080/ and if everything went correctly you should see a list of tweets that update every 10 seconds.

Thats it. Hope this was helpful.