Aviary generates a static photo gallery using Twitter.

Twitter is a fantastic resource for discovering photos of events as they unfold. Searching using your preferred client means you have to do the filtering. Commentary and relinking drown new and interesting photos. In the days the water rose during the 2011 Brisbane floods I wished there was a way to see all the photos without the noise. Now there is.

See the wiki for a listing of galleries.

Getting Started

Install Aviary at the command prompt if you haven't yet

gem install aviary

At the command prompt, create a new Aviary template

aviary new bird

Change directory and for search tweets tagged with bird that have photos

cd bird/
aviary search bird

Build the static photo gallery

aviary build


cd _site/
gem install asdf
asdf .
open http://localhost:9292/index.htm


  • Ruby 1.8.7, 1.9.2
  • SQLite3

If you're interested in extending Aviary, you can get all the gem dependancies using Bundler.

gem install bundler
bundle install

Customising the Template

When you create a new aviary you'll notice _assets/ and template.erb are automatically generated for you. Aviary uses these files and directories to generate the static photo gallery.

Linking back to Aviary is not required, although it is appreciated.


Pages are plain ERB templates. You get access to the photos and pagination for the current page. You can control the number of photos per page by using aviary build --per-page=NUM.

image_hosts is a collection of photos for the current page.

<% image_hosts.each do |image_host| %>
  <a href="<%= image_host.href %>"><img src="<%= image_host.src %>"></a>
  <p><%= image_host.status.from_user %> said <%= h image_host.status.text %></p>
<% end >

paginator is for finding where you are.

<% if paginator.prev_page? %>
  <a href="/page<%= paginator.prev_page %>/">Previous</a>
<% end %>
<% if paginator.next_page? %>
  <a href="/page<%= paginator.next_page %>/">Next</a>
<% end %>

h escapes content which may be unsafe, such as a user's status text.

<%= h "<script>" %>




Anything inside the _assets directory is recursively copied into the root of the destination directory.


~/bird/_assets/aviary.css -> ~/bird/_site/aviary.css
~/bird/_assets/images/status.png -> ~/bird/_site/images/status.png

Be careful not to name any of your assets with the following names:

  • _assets/index.htm
  • _assets/page1
  • _assets/page2
  • ...
  • _assets/pageN

Why the Name?

Aviary is defined as "A large cage for keeping birds in". Replace cage with "photo gallery" and birds with "tweets".


Copyright © 2010 Tate Johnson. Aviary is released under the MIT license. See LICENSE for details.