Rainbow Stream

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Terminal-based Twitter Client. Realtime tweetstream, compose, search , favorite … and much more fun directly from terminal.

This package is built on the top of Python Twitter Tool and Twitter API, can run on Python 2.7.x and 3.x .

Home page : http://www.rainbowstream.org/

Source code : https://github.com/DTVD/rainbowstream


The quick way

You will need Python and pip (2.7.x or 3.x).

sudo pip install rainbowstream
# Python 3 users: sudo pip3 install rainbowstream


If you use Linux, you might need to install some packages if you haven’t already. For debian-based distros, these can be installed with

sudo apt-get install python-dev libjpeg libjpeg-dev libfreetype6 libfreetype6-dev zlib1g-dev

Besides, Mac OSX Maverick with Xcode 5.1 has a well-known clang unknown argument problem with the Pillow package installation - a dependency of this app. If you are in this case, I recommend taking a look at Issue #10 and let me know if this workaround doesn’t work for you.

export ARCHFLAGS=-Wno-error=unused-command-line-argument-hard-error-in-future

If installation in the quick way doesn’t work:

  • sudo pip uninstall rainbowstream
  • use the virtualenv way above
  • `create an issue`_ and provide:
  • Your OS
  • Your Python version


The stream

Just type


and see your stream.

I shipped a feature which can display tweet’s images directly on terminal. You can try it with:

rainbowstream -iot # Or rainbowstream --image-on-term

You also can change the config key IMAGE_ON_TERM to True inside the app to enable above feature, change IMAGE_SHIFT to set image’s margin (relative to your terminal’s width) or IMAGE_MAX_HEIGHT to control max height of every image. (see config management section).

In the first time you will be asked for authorization of Rainbow Stream app at Twitter. Just click the “Authorize access” button and paste PIN number to the terminal, the rainbow will start.

You might want to use rainbowstream via an HTTP/SOCKS proxy. Proxy settings are provided as follows:

rainbowstream --proxy-host localhost --proxy-port 1337 --proxy-type HTTP
# or using the short form:
rainbowstream -ph localhost -pp 1337 -pt HTTP

Both --proxy-port and --proxy-type can be omitted. In this case default proxy port 8080 and default proxy type SOCKS5 are used.

The interactive mode

While your personal stream is continued, you are also ready to tweet, search, reply, retweet… directly from console. Simply type “h” and hit the Enter key to see the help.

Input is in interactive mode. It means that you can use arrow key to move up and down history, tab-autocomplete or 2 tab to view available suggestion. Input history from previous run is available as well.

Here is full list of supported command:

Explore Commands

  • trend will show global trending topics. trend US will show trends in United States while trend JP Tokyo will show trends in Tokyo/Japan.
  • home will show your timeline. home 10 will print exactly 10 tweets.
  • me will show your latest tweets. me 2 will show your last 2 tweets.
  • notification will show your notification from the time you started RainbowStream.
  • mentions will show mentions timeline. mentions 7 will show 7 mention tweets.
  • whois @dtvd88 will show profile of @dtvd88.
  • view @mdo will show @mdo ’s timeline. view @dmo 9 will print exactly 9 tweets.
  • s noah will search the word ‘noah’. Result will come back with highlight. Search can be performed with or without hashtag.

Tweet Commands

  • t the rainbow is god's promise to noah will tweet exactly ‘the rainbow is god’s promise to noah’.
  • rt 12 will retweet the tweet with [id=12]. You can see id of each tweet beside the time.
  • quote 12 will quote the tweet with [id=12]. If no extra text is added, the quote will be cancelled.
  • allrt 12 20 will list 20 newest retweets of the tweet with [id=12]. If the number of retweets is not specified, 5 newest retweets will be listed instead.
  • conversation 12 will show the chain of replies prior to the tweet with [id=12].
  • rep 12 Really will reply ‘Really’ to the owner of the tweet with [id=12].
  • repall 12 Really will reply ‘Really’ to all people in the tweet with [id=12].
  • fav 12 will favorite the tweet with [id=12].
  • ufav 12 will unfavorite tweet with [id=12].
  • share 12 will copy link to tweet with [id=12] to your clipboard if you are on a Mac, or display it directly if you are on Linux.
  • del 12 will delete tweet with [id=12].
  • show image 12 will show the image in tweet with [id=12] in your OS’s image viewer.
  • open 12 will open url in tweet with [id=12] in your OS’s default browser.
  • pt 12 will add tweet with [id=12] in your Pocket list.

Direct Messages Commands

  • inbox will show inbox messages. inbox 7 will show newest 7 messages.
  • thread 2 will show full thread with [id=2].
  • mes @dtvd88 hi will send a hi message to @dtvd88.
  • trash 5 will remove message with [message_id=5]

Friends and followers Commands

  • ls fl will list all your followers (people who are following you).
  • ls fr will list all your friends (people who you are following).
  • fl @dtvd88 will follow @dtvd88.
  • ufl @dtvd88 will unfollow @dtvd88.
  • mute @dtvd88 will mute @dtvd88.
  • unmute @dtvd88 will unmute @dtvd88.
  • muting will list muting users.
  • block @dtvd88 will block @dtvd88.
  • unblock @dtvd88 will unblock @dtvd88.
  • report @dtvd88 will report @dtvd88 as a spam account.

Twitter list

  • list will show all lists you are belong to.
  • list home will show timeline of list. You will be asked for list’s name.
  • list all_mem will show list’s all members.
  • list all_sub will show list’s all subscribers.
  • list add will add specific person to a list owned by you.
  • list rm will remove specific person from a list owned by you.
  • list sub will subscribe you to a specific list.
  • list unsub will unsubscribe you from a specific list.
  • list own will show all list owned by you.
  • list new will create a new list.
  • list update will update a list owned by you.
  • list del will delete a list owned by you.

Switching Stream Commands

  • switch public #AKB48 will switch current stream to public stream and track keyword AKB48

  • switch public #AKB48 -f will do exactly as above but will ask you to provide 2 list:

    Only nicks decide what nicks will be include only.

    Ignore nicksdecide what nicks will be exclude.

  • switch mine will switch current stream to personal stream. -f will work as well.

  • switch list will switch to a Twitter list’s stream. You will be asked for list name.

Smart shell

  • Put anything to terminal, the app will try to eval and display result as a python interactive shell.
    • 142857*2 or 101**3 like a calculator.
    • Even cal will show the calendar for current month.
    • Put order_rainbow('anything') or random_rainbow('wahahaha') will make more fun :)

Config Management

  • theme will list available themes.
  • theme monokai will apply monokai theme immediately.
  • Changed theme will be remember as the next time’s default theme.
  • config will list all config key.
  • config ASCII_ART will output current value of ASCII_ART config key.
  • config TREND_MAX default will output default value of TREND_MAX config key.
  • config CUSTOM_CONFIG drop will drop CUSTOM_CONFIG config key.
  • config IMAGE_ON_TERM = true will set value of IMAGE_ON_TERM config key to True.

Screening Commands

  • h will show the help.
  • p will pause the stream.
  • r will unpause the stream.
  • c will clear the screen.
  • v will show version info.
  • q will quit.

Theme customization

Rainbow Stream is shipped with some default themes. You can either change theme by theme command or create your favorite one.

Theme’s screenshot:

  • Monokai
  • Solarized
  • Tomorrow Night
  • Larapaste

For detaile information, see theme usage and customization.

Config explanation

Rainbow Stream has a custom config file located at ~/.rainbow_config.json which will be loaded after its default config. You are free to change anything on your custom config, but if you messed up with JSON format, the app would still works fine. Simply overwrite your custom config withe the default config to solve format problems.

You also can view or set a new value of every config key by config command (See Interactive mode section above).

  • HEARTBEAT_TIMEOUT: after this timeout (count by minutes), the stream will automatically hangup.

  • IMAGE_ON_TERM: display tweet’s image directly on terminal.

  • IMAGE_RESIZE_TO_FIT: display tweet’s image fit inside terminal view (width and height).

  • THEME: current theme.

  • ASCII_ART: diplay your twitter name by ascii art at stream begin or not.

  • HIDE_PROMPT: hide prompt after receiving a tweet or not.

  • PREFIX: display formated string of prompt.

    • #me: Your username with ‘@’, only available in personal stream.
    • #place: List name, only available in list stream.
    • #owner: Owner of list name, only available in list stream.
    • #keyword: Keyword, only available on public stream.
  • SEARCH_TYPE: search type in ‘search’ command (‘mixed’,’recent’,’popular’).

  • SEARCH_MAX_RECORD: max tweets can display on ‘search’ command.

  • HOME_TWEET_NUM: default tweets to display on ‘home’ command.

  • RETWEETS_SHOW_NUM: default tweets to display on ‘allrt’ command.

  • CONVERSATION_MAX: max tweet in a ‘conversation’ thread.

  • QUOTE_FORMAT: format when quote a tweet

    • #comment: Your own comment about the tweet
    • #owner: owner’s username without ‘@’
    • #tweet: original tweet
    • #tid: the tweet id on Twitter
  • THREAD_META_LEFT: format for meta information of messages from partner which is display in the left of screen.

  • THREAD_META_RIGHT: format for meta information of messages from you which is display in the right of screen.

  • THREAD_MIN_WIDTH: minimum width of a message frame.

  • NOTIFY_FORMAT: format of a notification.

  • MESSAGES_DISPLAY: default messages to display on ‘inbox’ or ‘sent’ command.

  • TREND_MAX: default trends to display on ‘trend’ command.

  • LIST_MAX: default tweets to display on ‘list home’ command.

  • ONLY_LIST: filter list on ‘switch’ command. Eg: [“@fat”,”mdo”]

  • IGNORE_LIST: ignore list on ‘switch’ command. Eg: [“@fat”]

  • HISTORY_FILENAME: name of file which stores input history.

  • IMAGE_SHIFT: left and right margin of image in ‘-iot’/’–image-on-term’ mode.

  • IMAGE_MAX_HEIGHT: max height of image in ‘-iot’/’–image-on-term’ mode.

  • STREAM_DELAY: seconds to wait before displaying another tweet, will drop all tweets while waiting. This value can be used to slow down the stream.

  • USER_DOMAIN: user URL of Twitter Streaming API.

  • PUBLIC_DOMAIN: public URL of Twitter Streaming API.

  • SITE_DOMAIN: site URL of Twitter Streaming API.

  • FORMAT: display format for tweet and message.

  • CLOCK_FORMAT: time format, see Python’s strftime format.
  • DISPLAY: decide how tweet will be printed.
    • #name: Twitter’s name
    • #nick: Twitter’s screen name
    • #clock: Datetime
    • #rt_count: retweets count
    • #fa_count: favorites count
    • #id: ID
    • #fav: favorited symbol
    • #fav: favorited symbol
    • #tweet: Tweet’s content
    • #sender_name: Message’s sender name
    • #sender_nick: Message’s sender screen name
    • #to: ‘>>>’ symbol
    • #recipient_name: Message’s recipient name
    • #recipient_nick: Message’s recipient screen name
  • POCKET_SUPPORT : enable Pocket support.

In every format, you can use unicode characters like \u2665. Mac users also can use emoji characters as well (Ex: ::zap::). See Emoji cheatsheet for details.


If you want to build a runnable version yourself, follow these simple steps

  • Create your own Twitter Application

  • Get your Twitter application’s API key and secret

  • Fork github’s repo and clone in your system.

  • Create a file consumer.py in rainbowstream folder with following content

    # Consumer information
    CONSUMER_KEY = 'APIKey' # Your Twitter application's API key
    CONSUMER_SECRET = 'APISecret' # Your Twitter application's API secret
    PCKT_CONSUMER_KEY = 'PocketAPIKey' # Your Pocket application's API key
  • Use pip to install in local

    # cd to directory which contains setup.py (cloned directory)
    virtualenv venv # Python3 users: use -p to specify python3
    source venv/bin/activate
    pip install -e .
    which rainbowstream # /this-directory/venv/bin/rainbowstream
    # Remove ~/.rainbow_oauth if exists
    rainbowstream # local version of rainbowstream