Last month, Twitter announced that some big changes were coming to its API. So developers and the Twitter ecosystem knew this was coming. But, today, the company officially unveiled the newest version of its API, v1.1, and updated its “Developer Rules of the Road” and display requirements.
One of the more notable changes we’ve seen so far, brought to our attention by Steve Streza’s tweet, is that developers will have until March 5, 2013 to switch over to the new version of the API. After that, v1.0 will be “kaput” — to use the technical term. Twitter writes that it wants to provide developers with ample time (a 6-month window) before turning off v1.0., at which point endpoints “will no longer be available.” More about the deprecation of v1.0 in Twitter’s API Overview here.
Timelines aside, whether or not developers will be happy about transitioning to the new API is another question. Anthony has already laid out how life will get a bit harder for developers of traditional Twitter client apps under the new API, among other ways in which Twitter is tightening the screws on its ecosystem.
For starters, apps that are pre-installed on mobile devices need to be approved by the company first. But perhaps the issue that’s created the most buzz among developers is the 100,000-token limit imposed by Twitter on third-party apps, meaning that if an app exceeds 100K user tokens (or some-100K users), it will have to work directly with Twitter. As Romain subsequently pointed out, the rule was essentially instituted to “supervise” the development (and developers) of third-party apps. But it kind of leaves developers hanging — exceed the 100K-token cap and hope that Twitter raises your limit so that you can add more users.
In its blog post today, Twitter specifically addressed this issue, offering a point of clarification, saying, “the 100,000 user token limit applies only to the small set of clients replicating the core Twitter experience. It does not apply to the majority of other applications in the broader ecosystem.” So what that means is that, again, Twitter isn’t particularly jazzed about supporting apps that replicate the Twitter experience, i.e. those traditional Twitter clients.
It seems a veiled (although that editorializing is mine) way of parenting the ecosystem, saying “oh, you’re replicating the home timeline?” Here’s a curfew and you’ll be under our watchful eye from now on.
As for examples, apps like Echofon and Tweetbot will be the kind of Twitter experiences that the company subjects to limits. In fact, Tweetbot was one of the first to start feeling the squeeze of Twitter’s API changes and cancelled the public part of its alpha/beta as a result, although it will still release Tweetbot for Mac.
Unfortunately, Twitter’s changes force app makers to get on their development schedule. Considering this, alongside these other restrictions, and you can see how the ethos behind App.net has developed (Dalton Caldwell’s ad-free, developer-friendly alternative to Twitter).
That being said, the writing has been on the wall for a long time. Developers have known for months (more than a year?) that Twitter was likely going to be clamping down on client apps and those borrowing from its user experience directly. So it’s probably a little late to sound the alarms.
As to the rest of v1.1, you can find the documentation here.