Sunday, December 20, 2009

TweetAtCongress - An API Created By Yours Truly

I just launched a new Web site I've been working on for a couple of months now, Find Congress Members on Twitter

TweetAtCongress offers an API for looking up Congress members on Twitter, and was created so that public advocacy organizations can give their supporters a way to communicate with elected officials with a tweet. Right now the API includes data on federal legislators, and state legislators will be added soon!

This was my first attempt at writing my own API, and it was quite neat actually. A big change from my day job of front-end, client-side Web development. I got the idea for the project earlier this year, when an advocacy org I was speaking with said, "Hey, we saw this thing on Obama's Web site where users are able to post a tweet to their Congressperson, how can we do that?" I responded that I could not find a suitable API out there, and they sort of forgot about the idea, but I was intrigued enough to create my own database and write a little code, and here we are.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Embedding YouTube Videos on Secure Web Sites.

Currently YouTube doesn't offer an option of embedding its videos via https, so if you try to add a video to a secure page browsers will display a security warning. If you use swfobject.js instead of the code provided by YouTube (as you should!), you'll find the security warning goes away ... in some browsers; IE is fooled and doesn't display a warning, while FireFox will still show its little red exclamation mark in the status bar indicating that not all elements on the page are secure:

The same issue occurs in Opera, as well as Flock and other Mozilla browsers.

And obviously, since swfobject is a JavaScript file, if JavaScript is disabled in the browser the only option for showing the video is a plain ol' Flash object inside noscript tags, and in that case the security warning is displayed for all browsers.

The workaround I came up with is to upload a SWF to the secure site that acts as a proxy and loads the YouTube video (since Flash has its own security model, it doesn't matter that the video is not served via https).

Here is an example from peta2's "Whose Skin Are You In?" Web site:

peta2's "Whose Skin Are You In" video

I've posted the SWF I created to Google Code at

Here's the ActionScript that makes it all work:



//create a MovieClip to load the player into


//create a listener object for the MovieClipLoader to use


var loadInterval:Number;

//When the player clip first loads, we start an interval to check for when the player is ready




function checkPlayerLoaded():Void{

   //once the player is ready, we can subscribe to events






//create a MovieClipLoader to handle the loading of the player

ytPlayerLoader=new MovieClipLoader();


//load the player


//adjust size when user clicks full-screen

var listener:Object=new Object();



function respondFunction(){



Friday, April 03, 2009

Put TwitStream on Your Site!

I tried to find a jQuery plugin I could use with the Twitter Search API to display recent tweets containing a specific keyword or hashtag, but couldn't really find one that fit my needs, so I made one!

I call it TwitStream.

TwitStream: jQuery, AJAX, and the Twitter Search API