I’ve been trying to grab a Twitter screenname that people continually register and do not use. Twitter eventually deletes it, but I suppose it is in high enough demand that someone else registers it right away (and then continues to never use it). Wrote up a quick and dirty php script to check the Twitter API to see if a screenname exists and if it doesn’t, shoot a short an email. I’ve been using changedetection to roughly do the same thing but it has fallen short on two counts: the first is that it reports follower count changes, and second it only runs once a day and this hasn’t been fast enough for me to grab my desired screen name.
You can set this script to run via cron at any desired interval, I’ve set it to run every 30 minutes for me. Test with sample information to make sure it works under your setup. I’m using the default mail() function, and I also included some json decoding in there so you could also use this script to play around with decoding a user’s information in PHP.[cc lang=”php” lines=”100″]
If you are running it from cron, add the sample entry:
0 * * * * /usr/bin/php /path/to/script.php
The above would run the script every hour on the hour.
Of course you can easily modify this sample code if you are looking to do any kind of similar checking in your web app. If you find this kind of script useful, please let me know!