Chatterbot: A Ruby Library for Twitter Bots
Introducing Chatterbot, a ruby library for producing bots.
- It makes setting up Twitter OAuth permissions very easy. The included
chatterbot-registerscript will walk you through authorization in a couple of steps and generate a skeleton script for your bot.
- It has a very simple DSL for generating basic bots. Here's a basic but functional example for an actual bot:
- It will run searches for you -- multiple searches if you want, and you can also check for responses to your tweets. This is the main functionality of all my bots so far -- search for a phrase or some keywords, and reply to those tweets in some interesting fashion, and then also potentially reply to any mentions of your name. You can do a lot with this sort of functionality on Twitter -- it's mostly what actual humans do on it all day long.
- A very basic macro system -- if you reply to a tweet with your bot, and put "#USER#" in the reply string, it will replace that with the name of the user you're replying to.
- A fairly simple, but extensible configuration system. If you just want to run a single bot, it will store your configuration data in a YAML file, and you never even need to look at it. But if you want to run multiple bots, you can setup a global config file to store several common parameters. You can also optionally store your configuration in a database.
- If desired, you can log tweets to a database. This is handy for tracking your bots activity over time.
- It has a blacklist system to keep you from annoying users who don't want to be annoyed, and also to make it easy to ignore tweets which have certain keywords in them.
- It has a 'debug mode' so you can test the bot without sending out actual tweets.
Setting up a Bot
Make a Twitter Account
First thing you'll need to do is create an account for your bot on Twitter. That's the easy part.
gem install chatterbot should do the trick.
Run the Generator
Chatterbot comes with a script named
chatterbot-register which will
handle two tasks -- it will authorize your bot with Twitter and it
will generate a skeleton script, which you use to implement your
Write your bot
Chatterbot has a very simple DSL inspired by Sinatra and Twibot, an earlier Twitter bot framework. Here's an example, based on @dr_rumack, an actual bot running on Twitter:
Or, you can create a bot object yourself, extend it if needed, and use it like so:
Bots in Action
A Note About Being an Asshole
I am a big fan of the WTFPL - Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License. I decided to release chatterbot under the WTFPL, but with one alteration. I really don't want people to use this code for evil. Spamming people on Twitter is not okay. However, this code could definitely be used to aid spamming. So, I've invented the WTFDBAL. It's pretty simple -- do whatever you want with the code, but don't be an asshole:
Is that enforceable? I assume not. But if you even have to ask the question, then you're probably doing something wrong.