Caffeinated Simpleton

Second: Templates, HTTP, and JSON Parsing in Clojure

After yesterday’s introduction to the syntax of clojure, now I’m going to start organizing my code a bit more and pulling in real data.


The first thing I want to do is abstract out a base page so that I don’t need to worry about headers, JS libraries, standard CSS, and all that when going from page to page. To do this, I’ll create a “page” function in a new namespace.

Then I add this into our original page.

Now I can call the “page” function, pass it a title and some contents, and it outputs a full page. Perhaps later on we’ll make it so we can derive templates from other templates, but I have no need for that yet.

Getting My Twitter Feed

Let’s make it so that getting “/justin_tulloss” will give me my twitter feed. To do that, I add a handler to our servlet.

Now when I go to http://localhost:8080/justin_tulloss, it will say “Welcome justin_tulloss”. Pretty high tech stuff.

Now let’s see if I can change that justin_tulloss parameter into my actual twitter data. First, I head over to the twitter API docs. The public timeline doesn’t require any authentication, so let’s pull that down first. The public timeline is a list of “status” messages, which we will map to html representations of the same. To do this, I used the clj-http-client library by Mark McGranaghan. It was a pain to get installed because I don’t understand Java JAR files fully, but once I got it figured out, it worked great.

Hopefully this code isn’t hard to follow, but let’s take a look. The “Welcome” part is the same. Then we map everything that we read from the twitter URL into a twitter-status function, which just grabs some data out of the statuses and displays it.

Referring back to the non-templating code, the “read-json-string” function is in, which you can get here. The twitter-url is a global constant. Apparently it’s a lisp thing to surround globals with asterisks. I wonder if that also applies to global constants.

Well, that’s all for tonight. Next time we’ll fetch some more relevant data from twitter and see what we can do with it. As always, the complete code is on github.

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