back to article Twitter API outrage: Break our rules and we'll break app kneecaps

Twitter is tightening the rules for building applications that use its messaging platform, sparking outrage from twits and developers. Director of consumer product Michael Sippey blogged about changes to version 1.1 of the Twitter software interface that gives the social networking site greater control over how and where …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Basic rules

    1. Create new service

    2. Get picked up by VC

    3.Engineer massive hype

    4. Get programmers and users onbaord


    5. Now that you have them by the short and curlies, milk them for everything they're worth, eventually leading to

    6. Massive profits

    Seriously, this has been the M.O. of every major software and services company over the past thirty years. I'm still amazed by people who think these services are built to service them. Once you become dependent on a system, it's game over.

  2. Graham Lee

    On the meaning of end-points

    "The new rules alter the number of API calls third-party apps can make from different “end points” – meaning a twit's devices or PCs running that application."

    I took it to mean API endpoints - i.e. the different features exposed by the API. So you could have a different rate for reading mentions than posting photos, which currently isn't supported.

  3. Jason Hindle

    Pity if they're putting the squeeze on third party apps

    It's not like Twitter themselves are offering any innovation in their own apps.

    1. PaulR79

      Re: Pity if they're putting the squeeze on third party apps

      This is part of what I said elsewhere when I read about it. Over the years the website and mobile app have grown to become almost usable but only after Twitter took some of the best bits from third-party apps. For a very long time the website was rather bland and the mobile app was awful at best. During that time it was third-party apps adding things that people wanted (longer than 140 char. tweets etc) that helped it grow and become more popular. Now that the job has been done for them they suddenly move to screw every third-party developer, the very people that helped them get to where they are.

      The whole idea of cutting it down to a more Twitter-like (official I apps) experience was bad enough but this goes further than that. Make your app to our guidelines, stick to our limits or you're out of the club. Their site may be nicer and more usable now but the mobile app is still a mess that doesn't always remember position, doesn't always notify me as it should, loads image previews in a tiny box with no zoom options and worst for me is making every link you tap go through their service even if it's already shortened / didn't need to be shortened. The only reason I use the official app is that it has push notifications for mentions and direct messages.

  4. Lxbr

    I'd rather they just be honest

    Even more than the content (if you could figure out what they were saying), the style that the Twitter post was written in was offensive - it was the worst sort of business school waffle, with bullshit 4-quadrant charts (to make it look as though 3rd party Twitter-posting clients are just an insignificant part of the software using the API, of course). I would have more respect for them if they just came out and said that in 6 months they were going to cancel the API keys of all 3rd party full clients. This is clearly what they want to do, but their plan seems to be to nickle-and-dime the 3rd party developers to death with fiddly API guidelines - presumably this is so, when the Tweetbot and everyone else finally give ups, Twitter doesn't look like the bad guy - "Hey, we gave them a chance, but their client was making 61 requests every 90 seconds instead of the 30 every 45 seconds that we said they could have..."

  5. Jeebus

    History repeats.

    The sad thing is, the kind of cretins who rely on Twitter are exactly the kind of gullible morons who've been falling for this for those decades.

  6. Steve Evans

    Not really a surprise...

    Given the number of dizzy bird icons I see when I access twitter from a desktop browser (i.e. quite a lot, and I'm not even a heavy twitter user), I'd say they've been exceeding the capacity of their servers for quite some time.

    It doesn't even seem to depend on time of day. I've even seen "dizzy bird" at 9am GMT, a time which is usually good for the internet as the Americans are asleep.

    Maybe they should try to target the politician loving twitter-bot hoards a little better?

  7. Spiracle

    I bet Tim Berners-Lee feels a bit awkward about tweeting 'This is for Everyone' to a billion people now.

  8. Robert Grant

    Windows Phone?

    "Tweets that are grouped together into a timeline should not be rendered with non-Twitter content. e.g. comments, updates from other networks."

    WP does exactly that. What do MS have to say about it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows Phone?

      >WP does exactly that. What do MS have to say about it?

      "Don't worry, we're knocking up an 'SMS' which is more convenient for users and doesn't need to generate revenue in its own right so our API can remain open. But please be patient, it's going to take at least a couple of weeks."

  9. Anonymous Coward


    warned you this would happen.

  10. Jeff 11

    I've said it before - if you're basing part of your business around a service provider's 'free' API, either sign a contract with the provider, or expect to get screwed.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I gave up on twitter when they bought and wrecked tweetdeck

  12. Old Handle

    It's probably better just to have your app impersonate a web browser and scrap then.

  13. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    web services can change at will - especially free ones

    Jeff11 beat me to it. I love free services such as twitter and gmail (not facebook so much). But:

    1) If you have not paid anything for a particular service, there isn't any contract and they have no obligations towards you. If you don't like changes they have made, you really don't have any say in the matter (individually). Collectively you may have a say, but that is up to whether the provider is worried about general public opinion and keeping non-paying users happy, or if they are decided to focus on paying customers. It doesn't matter one bit if you put a lot of effort into this service -- as a user, setting up a big wall or contact list or lots of photos or what have you; or as a developer putting in a lot of effort developing a nice app or service or meta-service or whatever. That's a lot of effort on your part but on it's own doesn't make the service provider a penny.

    2) Web services really are not like desktop software; if you don't like a particular software upgrade, you can choose to keep using the older version of the software. Not so for web services (in general... of course as you move from gmail or yahoo to some php software sitting on you web server, you CAN keep using the older version.. just be careful you don't run software full of security holes!)

    3) They may even go out of business, or discontinue your service! I don't see twitter or gmail going down the tubes any time soon, but I've seen several cases where someone is like 1) "That was the only copy of my website!" (after Geocities went down), 2) where someone made online backups but the backup company went tits up, 3) where someone bought rights restricted audio (from Major League Baseball!) and once MLB decided to end that experiment, they didn't even keep the rights restriction server up a single extra month, OR refund the money for the audio!

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