Django Twitter Stream

A Django app for streaming tweets from the Twitter API into a database.

You can start a streaming process which will insert Tweets into the database as they are delivered by Twitter. The process monitors a table of "filter terms" which you can update over time if you want.

This app uses the tweepy library for connecting to the Twitter API.


Install with pip:

pip install -e git+

Add to INSTALLED_APPS in your Django settings file:

    # other apps

If you are using MySQL, you need to make sure that your database is uses the utf8mb4 character set for storing tweets, since MySQL's utf8 character set does not include support for 4-byte characters. Add the following to you database settings:

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.mysql',
        # username, password, etc...
        'OPTIONS': {
            'charset': 'utf8mb4',

Run python syncdb to update your database. This project also supports migrations with South. If you are using South in your project, you should run python migrate.

You need to supply your Twitter API keys and set up some filter terms before you can stream tweets. Instructions for this follow.

Provide Twitter API Keys

Once you have added twitter_stream to your list of installed apps, the Django Admin page should include a section for the ApiKey model. You can use this to input your Twitter API keys.

If you do not have Twitter API keys, you must sign in to the Twitter Developers site. Next, go to your applications list. If you do not have an application already, create one. Once you have created an application, go to the "API Keys" area, scroll to the bottom, and click the button to generate access keys for your account. This can take a few minutes to complete.

Once you have an application and access keys for your account, you can copy the necessary values into a new ApiKey entry. This includes the "API key" and "API secret", located at the top of your application keys page, and the "Access Token" and "Access Token Secret", located at the bottom of your application keys page.

Customize the Filter Terms

Currently, this package uses the filter endpoint of the Twitter Streaming API (more info). This endpoint accepts a set of tracking terms. Any tweets matching these terms will be delivered to you as they are created (approximately). The precise behavior of term filtering is described here.

This package defines a FilterTerm model. You can add filter terms to this table through the Django Admin interface, or through code. When you change the terms in the database, the stream will briefly shut itself down and then restart with the new list.

If there are no terms in your database, the connection to Twitter will be closed until some terms are available. Note that connecting to the unfiltered public stream is not yet supported.

Due to Twitter's rate limit, the Streaming API appears to return all of the tweets matching your filter terms up to around 1% of the total volume on Twitter at the present moment. In my experience, you will get at most around 50 or 60 tweets per second.

Start the Streaming Process

To start the streaming process, use the stream management command:

$ python stream

This will connect to Twitter using API keys and tracking terms from your database.

If you have stored multiple API keys in your database, you may select a particular set of API keys by name as an argument to this command:

You may also choose the rate at which the database will be polled for changes to the filter terms. This is also the interval at which tweets will be batch-inserted into your database, so don't set it too long. The default is 10 seconds.

$ python stream MyAPIKeys --poll-interval 30

Warning: Twitter does not allow an account to open more than one streaming connection at a time. If you repeatedly try to open too many streaming connections, there may be repercussions. If you start receiving disconnect errors from Twitter, take a break for a few minutes before trying to reconnect.

If you need to take your database offline for some reason or just want to stream tweets to a file instead, you can use the --to-file option:

$ python stream --to-file some_file.json

This will append tweets, in JSON format, one-per-line, to "some_file.json". If you are capturing retweets, they will be separated out onto separate lines. If you are not, they will be removed from the JSON objects before being printed.

You may also configure the stream to read from a file (or stdin with '-'):

$ python stream --from-file some_file.json
$ python stream --from-file -


Settings for this app can be configured by adding the TWITTER_STREAM_SETTINGS to your Django settings file. Below are the default settings:


    # Set to True to save embedded retweeted_status tweets. Normally these are discarded.

    # Change the default term track and tweet insert interval
    'POLL_INTERVAL': 10,

    # The name of the default keys to use for streaming. If not set, we'll just grab one.

    # Put the stream in a loop so random termination will be prevented.
    'PREVENT_EXIT': False,

Status Page

This app provides a status page that shows how the Twitter stream is doing. Just add something like this to your url conf:

    url(r'^stream/', include('twitter_stream.urls', namespace="twitter_stream")),

For the twitter stream views to work, you'll need to add this to your INSTALLED_APPS:

    # other apps

Custom Tweet Classes

It is possible to swap the provided Tweet class for your own, so that you can add other fields or whatever. To do this, in the file for your app (which we will call 'myapp' in this example), add a class that extends AbstractTweet:

from twitter_stream.models import AbstractTweet
class MyTweet(AbstractTweet):
    """ add whatever here... """

Then, add this to your settings file:


This is facilitated by the django-swappable-models package.

Anywhere you were previously hard-importing the Tweet model, you will need to replace it with something like this:

from swapper import load_model
Tweet = load_model('twitter_stream', 'Tweet')

This will load either the original Tweet model or the swapped model as appropriate. You can also load your MyTweet model directly, of course.

For creating foreign keys pointing to Tweet (or the swapped model) you can use swapper.get_model_name('twitter_stream', 'Tweet').

If you are using South migrations and need to migrate from the old Tweet model to your new model, this tutorial explains the issues. The basic idea is to do it in these steps:

  1. Create your new model and change your model loading throughout (i.e. use load_model), but don't set the TWITTER_STREAM_TWEET_MODEL to actually swap it out yet.
  2. Create a normal schema migration on myapp to make the database table for your new model. Run the migration.
  3. Write a data migration that copies data from the old twitter_stream_tweets table to your new table. Run the data migration.
  4. Trick South into creating a migration for you that you can use to delete the old table with the SOUTH_MIGRATION_MODULES setting. This step may need adaptation to work with django-twitter-stream since it was designed for the migration-less django.contrib.auth app.
  5. Finally, swap the models with the TWITTER_STREAM_TWEET_MODEL setting.
  6. Generate new schema migrations for any apps with foreign keys that reference the Tweet model.
  7. Move your stub migration that deletes the twitter_stream_tweets table into your app's migration queue.
  8. Run all the remaining migrations.

Streaming From a File

There is also a stream_from_file command provided which can parse a file containing already collected tweets. This can be handy for debugging. This feature is deprecated. The stream command now provides this functionality.

Questions and Contributing

Feel free to post questions and problems on the issue tracker. Pull requests welcome!