NetTuts.com finishes off their series covering how to connect your application to Twitter and pull data. In this latest tutorial they show the use of the real-time streams Twitter offers to those needing the most up-to-date and immediate access to tweets via a command-line tool. This tutorial makes use of the Yii PHP framework for it's execution.
While the Twitter REST API is suitable for many applications, if you want immediate updates and access to a broader array of notifications, the Twitter Streaming API is essential. For example, only the streaming API will tell you when another user favorites one of your tweets. Using the Streaming API requires a persistent, keep-alive connection between your web server and Twitter. This type of implementation may be unfamiliar to many PHP developers. As soon as tweets come in, Twitter notifies your server in real time, allowing you to store them into your database without the delay of polling the REST API. Use of the Streaming API is also not subject to Twitter's API rate limits.
They start with a brief description of the Streams functionality and provide a graphic showing the overview of the data flow when you put them to use. They make use of the phirehose library to make the connection (making it almost a two-step method: connect & consume). They walk you through the creation of a Yii command to create the command and set it up for execution. They show you how to integrate it into a larger Yii application, create a migration to store the data and execute the resulting code as a long running command.