Category Archives: Coding

I’m sure there are more than enough emoticon and Emoji plugins for WordPress, but as I’ve written before rendering Emoji with your own assets comes with copyright problems. Short version: Apple and Microsoft own the copyright to the Emoji artworks in their operating system fonts.

After successfully creating a web font from the Apache-licensed Android Emoji font and spotting the ace Phantom Open Emoji project, I bundled together a WordPress plugin that can display these icon sets to visitors on any system.

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I’ve become oddly obsessed with Emoji recently and in examining the Unicode standardisation of Emoji characters I noticed a surprising number of common characters missing.

When I say “missing” I mean missing from the canonical EmojiSources.txt file in the Unicode standard, but present in iOS.

When I say “common” I mean no more obscure than any of the others and in every day use by iPhone owners.

Splitting the omissions out and viewing them on Android, the glyphs are indeed missing from the system font.

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No sooner had I launched a demo version of Flamingo than I get an email from Twitter Platform Operations telling me to shut it down on the grounds that I was “resyndicating Twitter content” which is against their API terms of use.

The email was a rather anonymous message apparently sent from a customer service ticketing system of sorts. It was a casual threat of legal action, euphemised as follows:

“If changes have not been made to bring your service into compliance by [date] we will take steps to enforce our API Terms of Service. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.”

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All this recent Twitter API migration business has inspired me to build Flamingo – a hosted ajax service for your Twitter apps.

A lot of sites (particularly blogs) have Twitter feeds that are powered by JavaScript and based on the old API. A lot of these widgets will not be upgraded for various reasons and will soon stop working altogether. Many people don’t have the skills or resources to replace these widgets with the more advanced back end code that the new API requires. Flamingo helps front end developers by making it easy to configure and set up ajax services without knowing a server side language.

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Emoji characters have been around for a while, but for various reasons I recently took more of an interest in understanding them.

  1. I just bought my first Android device and noticed that the OS has its own set of icons that I’d previously assumed were limited to iOS – I’d been seeing the world though Apple-shaped eyes.
  2. I was alerted to a bug in my Latest Tweets plugin where tweets containing Emoji were breaking the WordPress cache. I won’t go into that. It makes me sad.

So I did some homework and had some geeky fun –
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Twitter has announced application level authentication for their API using OAuth 2.

For the uninitiated, this means a simpler way to make authenticated Twitter API calls, and doing so on behalf of your app, not on behalf of a Twitter user.

I went straight ahead and added support in my Node library (mostly just so I could try the new stuff out) but I’m struggling to see much advantage in this feature.

Here’s a quick brain dump  –

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After submitting my Latest Tweets plugin to the WordPress directory last week, I thought I’d do another one.

My “Latest Vines” plugin displays your Vine videos in a sidebar widget. Clicking the thumbnails plays the video in situ, and clicking the date takes you to the page on

Download it from

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On June 11th Twitter are permanently switching off off their old API leaving only the new one.

But nobody seems to be talking about it. (Except me. I can’t stop going on about it).

I suppose in the six months we’ve known about this, everybody who knew about the deadline has done something about it.

Putting these enlightened folk aside, it seems that a lot of site owners are blissfully unaware that (a) this is happening, and (b) that it affects them.

So, are you affected? Here’s how to decide ..

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If your WordPress site displays your latest tweets, or uses any kind of unofficial Twitter widget, you should check it supports the new API. You should do this today. If your plugin is not up to date with the new API, it WILL stop working on or shortly after March 5th. I’m not trying to scare you – it is a thing.

Doing a quick search for ‘latest tweets‘ in the WordPress plugin directory the top five results do not support the new Twitter API. Sorting the list by the newest plugins, only one in the first four is compatible. Just this handful will account for thousands of broken sites come next week.

Here’s how to check yours.

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