File Under: APIs, Identity, Web Services

Connect to Twitter Without OAuth

OAuth is a great way to sidestep the dilemma of having to hand over passwords to third-party sites and apps to access user data. This is the primary reason the authentication method is fast becoming a de riguer part of today’s social APIs.

But while OAuth solves one problem, it creates another — it greatly raises the complexity of simple apps.

We’ve looked at the issue in the past, particularly with regard to Twitter’s transition to OAuth, which broke countless small scripts. The good news is that OAuth 2.0 is less complex than its predecessor and removes much of the headache for small developers. Unfortunately, OAuth 2.0 isn’t widely adopted yet, and it’s not quite ready for prime time.

But there is a solution for Twitter. SuperTweet was created by developer David Beckemeyer. The service sits between your script and Twitter, where it does the heavy lifting of OAuth for you. Even better, you don’t have to hand over your Twitter password to SuperTweet — instead, you create a password on the site, approve SuperTweet to access your Twitter account and then connect your script to SuperTweet.

The service isn’t meant for full-blown apps, nor does it support commercial uses. But for individuals and non-profits without the development resources to make the switch to OAuth 2.0, it can bring those simple Twitter scripts back to life.

Of course using SuperTweet means adding another potential failure point between your script and Twitter, but if you can live with that, using SuperTweet is easier than wading into OAuth’s waters.

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