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A look at the Twitter widget for WebApp

The Twitter widget ("Twidget") is the integration of the Zarafa WebApp and the infamous Twitter service. With the twidget activated, any mention to a twitter account in your e-mail is detected, and the latest post of this twitter account are presented to you for direct usage and status. I always have it enabled, so I can use it when i get e-mails from new contacts; I can immediately see what kept them busy recently. This makes an initial contact much more interesting!

Fast integrations with the WebApp plugin framework

In this series, we have already addressed several technical aspects of developing a WebApp plug-in. This time, we wanted to show an actual example of a plugin. Twidget is just one of the special widgets created by the Zarafa Development Team to showcase the integration options that WebApp can offer. Twidget, in particular, was the result of the "48 hour feature run" during the Zarafa Summercamp of 2012. This means that, together with several other integrations, twidget was created in less than 48 hours.

Tweets & groupware meet each other

The main functionality of twidget is to scan and detect Twitter accounts inside e-mail communication. It is used to trigger actions to a widget panel update, that retrieves data from an external website (twitter.com). The twidget showcase is just one of a series of external service provider integrations that is created in the launch year of the Zarafa WebApp interface.

Screenshot of Twidget

The objective was simply specified as 'integration with Twitter'. We have interpreted this as looking for a Twitter username in incoming e-mail, so that you can see that user's recent activity on Twitter. We immediately acknowledge that there is much more to it, but with only limited time for this show case, it made the most sense to do this first.

To use twidget, you must add the widget to the side panel. This makes it visible while you are reading your e-mail. Then, if you open up an e-mail (incoming, outgoing, it doesn't matter), the body will be scanned and any mentions to "twitter.com/<username>" or "@<username>" is signaled by the widget, and the timeline for the user <username> is loaded. If you load another e-mail that contains a different Twitter username, the timeline is replaced with the new one.

In conclusion, the Twidget is a good example plugin that can get you started on your own plugin or widget. You are welcome to take a look at the Twidget source code to check how it's done. You can download the package, including the source, from its community hub page, and use it to start of with your own development.

Good luck!

 

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