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Clever Twitter

Further proof that Twitter developers are embarrassingly stupid.

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There's nothing quite like the 'cleverness' of Twitter.

There's no getting away from the fact that the site is very useful for a lot of people. But the software designers and software programmers at Twitter are the sorriest lot in the business, and they have a peculiar knack for continually sticking their faces in it.

One of the most laughable of their gaffes has to do with their URL shortener. Written in some ridiculous language by a drool crew starved for protein, the code has so many bugs it's not funny.

Try the following tweet. No worries - it's under 140 characters as shall be demonstrated in a second. (It's actually 64 characters but the Twitteridiots can't make up their minds.)

3:38 of a Sunday: http://youtu.be/LQTTFUtMSvQ Sheet music: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12125367/Classical%20Music%20Sheets/Beethoven%20-%20Für%20Elise%20Piano.pdf

Note that the Twitter compose pane also sees the tweet as 64 characters. That's the first sign that something's very wrong - they're using two entirely separate pieces of code to count characters, something that in computer science is eminently flawed and will hopefully get you banned from the industry forever.

But not at Twitter!

So go ahead! Click that 'Tweet' button! And watch what happens! Didn't Twitter just tell you that your tweet only used 64 out of a permitted 140 characters?

[What's really unsettling is Twitter pillocks telling you the user to be more clever when it's obviously them who are at fault.]

You'll find more variance when using Twitter's mobile interface. But the point is that the Twitter compose pane told you already that your tweet was only 64 characters. As indeed it was.

Twitter crunches all URLs down to 22 characters. And the code monitoring your progress in that compose pane counts correctly. But the code those dillweeds use to actually crunch your URL is not the same code. There's something in that URL that throws the second body of code but not the first.


It could be the space characters (%20) or it could be the 'PDF' extension, both of which have screwed up Twitter's code in the past.

Rixstep know in fact what the bug is. But rather than make it easy for Twitter, the details will not be revealed here.

Twitter's rancid URL shortener code also has issues with standard W3 schemes such as ftp://. Twitter's code is really bad code - really bad - and it's time they brought in some real programmers and fixed it.

Whatever the reason, if the same happens to you, there's a quick solution: use a site with URL shortener code that really works. is.gd is a fabulous piece of code in a fabulous project provided for free by a lovely British couple. Use it and get used to it.

The PDF link above becomes http://is.gd/gy8sle. Try it and see. Now insert it into your tweet and try again. The character counter in the compose pane still says you're using 64 characters, which is correct. But now when you click the Tweet button, the tweet goes through. Because the URL shortener code you're using now really works and is not written by a bunch of baboons.

Why rant about his idiocy in Twitter code? Why indeed when there are so many other examples of the same thing? Why indeed when there is more than ample evidence of the embarrassing incompetence of Twitter's software team?

Simple. Many people have contacted Twitter over a period of many months (perhaps years) about this annoying gaffe, but they don't react. So perhaps those who are trying to bring this stupidity to their attention have to be more clever.

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