Oct 2, 2018 - By Ryan Lee

Bring GIF magic to any Twitch channel with the GIPHY Extension

Whether you were finding the perfect response on Twitter or just goofing around on Slack, you’ve probably used GIPHY for your urgent GIF needs. The app has long been a staple of online interactions, and now it’s made the move to Twitch.

****Nick Santaniello is a senior product engineer at GIPHY and retro gaming fan who loves to watch speedruns on Twitch. Seeing all the different ways streamers worked to integrate visuals onto their streams inspired him to bring the simple, yet powerful GIPHY toolset to Twitch.

“Our goal was to bring the fast-paced, witty, reference and meme-laden back-and-forth banter that GIPHY excels at to the world of Twitch streamers and their viewers, followers, and subscribers,” said Santaniello.

To that point, GIPHY is incredibly simple and intuitive to use. Once installed on your stream, simply select a section of screen to display GIFs on, and then the Extension pretty much does the rest. “If you’ve used GIPHY on Slack or elsewhere on the web, GIPHY for Twitch works in much the same way except with a slim, graphical interface,” explained Santaniello. “Viewers can insert a term and GIPHY will ‘automagically’ deliver the perfect GIF for that term and layer it atop a broadcaster’s stream for all of the audience to see.”

Unlike other Extensions which use donations or subscriptions, Santaniello hopes GIPHY’s simplicity and low barrier of entry will lead more streamers to install and more viewers to get involved. “We built this Extension for broadcasters who want to give their viewers the ability to participate in the stream and interact with other viewers via GIFs,” said Santaniello. “For fans of GIPHY, the Extension presents another huge arena in which to use GIFs to communicate with friends and strangers.”

It might sound chaotic, but Santaniello says GIPHY has worked out the kinks to create a smooth and enjoyable experience. “Have you ever requested a song in a popular jukebox only to end up waiting forever, not knowing when your song would play, or if it would even play at all? The same problem could occur with our Extension on Twitch if too many GIFs are queued on a given stream,” GIPHY explains on their blog. “We solved this problem in our frontend by shortening the duration of GIFs as the queue grows. This ensures that all GIFs are played in a timely manner, shortly after they were initially requested.”

Streamers can install the GIPHY Extension on their channels right now, but Santaniello says more features are already in the works.

“Some ideas we had for future features include allowing a broadcaster to choose who can request GIFs (whether it be followers, subscribers, or any viewer, etc.) as well as more configuration options,” he said. “One possible new feature would consist of allowing users to choose a GIF from search results when following or subscribing to a channel.”

When asked what advice he would give to other developers looking to get into building Twitch Extensions, Santaniello had one suggestion: don’t go it alone. “I encourage Extension developers to leverage Twitch’s awesome developer community by leaving questions and comments in their forum to help improve the Developer Rig and other tools even further,” he said. “We’re looking forward to hearing users’ feedback and responses to the Extension and ways we can make it even more useful and fun for Twitch streamers and viewers in the future.”

Questions? Tweet us over @TwitchDev!

Ready to build interactive experiences on Twitch? Start now!

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