Developers have been making use of Twitter’s API to gather data directly from the micro-blogging network. For long, it was fine for Twitter as long as it helped the brand get more fame and successful. But since some time, Twitter has been rather careless towards the developer community. And now, its new API looks like a recipe for developer disaster.
Version 1.1 of Twitter’s API will essentially be bad news for the developers. Twitter plans to restrict the third-party applications from accessing its API in all ways possible. For instance, the third-party apps can no longer tweak the design of the tweets they display and they will have to stick to the standard design. This is a problem since due to this, all third-party apps using tweets will essentially look like each other.
The company also seems to have a problem with anyone else who provides similar services. It is discouraging developers from creating such applications which “mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.” In this regard, it even went so far as to name two apps, Exhofon and Tweetbot, as undesirable applications.
Moreover, if a device comes with a preinstalled third-party app on it, it will have to be ‘certified’ by Twitter itself. The failure to do so will result in the revoking of the application key. Moreover, such third-party apps which have significant number of users, will have to ask Twitter’s permission to keep adding newer users. In more than one ways, this looks like an attempt to monopolize Twitter’s content and move towards a closed model.
Another significant hurdle for the developers is that they will now have to follow certain limits on the frequency of app calls with the API. Earlier, apps could make up to 250 calls per hour but now Twitter is limiting this to 60 calls per hour per endpoint. High-volume endpoints, in exceptional cases, will be able to make up to 720 calls per hour.
From these moves, it seems that Twitter will be very carefully controlling and regulating the use of its API in the coming days. While that may be desirable in the context of the security of user data, it will at the same time cause a lot of problems for the users and possibly turn them away from Twitter.
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