SkypeURLCollector – An easy way to collect information from Skype chats and send to Twitter.

*Update 28/10/2010* After Twitter recently started requiring the use of OAuth for authentication, SkypeURLCollector’s twitter integration has stopped working. This is easily fixed by reworking the way the application authenticates with If I find time, I may update it to use OAuth, but for now, this will not tweet any matched strings it picks up from your Skype Chats.

So this is a small application I created a few months ago to help me out with a Group Skype Chat I am part of on a sort of permanent basis (The group chat is always running and the contacts are constantly chatting and bouncing interesting news links, websites, forum posts and Youtube videos around). I don’t get very much free time at all at my job and therefore I don’t really have time to view all the interesting URLs that are pasted in to the Skype chat throughout the day.


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I decided to develop this small application which leverages the Skype API. Once you run this application, you just need to accept the Skype popup message that appears asking if you would like to allow SkypeURLCollector.exe access to Skype on your machine. The application watches your Skype chats for any URL’s that appear – it then posts these URLs to a Twitter account of your choice (You specify the twitter login). As you can see the application actually uses more than one API. In fact, it uses the Skype, Twitter and TinyURL APIs. TinyURL integration is to shorten any URLs that may be longer than 140 characters, as these obviously would not be able to be tweeted with Twitter’s 140 character tweet limit.
What happens next, is really up to you. I view all the interesting URLs later in the day after work either via my twitter account, or I set up a Brizzly account to watch the Twitter account – this way I can also display all URLs that hotlink to images or Youtube videos inline. Basically this gives you a nice preview of each URL that is tweeted, without having to click on the link first.
A friend has also developed a clever bit of PHP code that watches a specific Twitter account, and auto-refreshes every time period you specify. This is actually my preferred method of viewing all the aggregated URLs. He has built inline displaying of JPEG, GIF, PNG, Youtube and even Flickr account URLs. So these kind of URLs (which we have a lot of in the Skype Chat) automatically display inline with the rest of the URLs on this page. All I have to do is browse along to the page and all the URLs from the day are displayed there. The only requirement being leaving my Skype Chat open in the background with this application running. I’ll see if I can get a link to this clever bit of PHP if anyone is interested – again just shout in the comments section below.
I have built in a small options section that allows you to specify your own RegEx search strings. Therefore you could theoretically change the application to monitor for any type of chat messages. You could get it to pick up phone numbers in Skype Chats for example.
As always any feedback would be appreciated. Leave your comments and suggestions below and I’ll try get back to you. Please also do remember that I am not really a developer by profession – I do this for fun in my spare time. You are likely to come across bugs here and there (I already know the application does not post URLs with spaces in them – although this is quite rare at the moment. Possibly just a problem with the default RegEx string?). Do let me know if you find any others and I’ll try to get them fixed.

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