Twitter constraints developers with new API guidelines

Yesteday, in an official blog post titled Changes coming in Version 1.1 of the Twitter API, Twitter's Michael Sippey wrote that in line with Twitter's earlier post about it working towards delivering a consistent Twitter experience, the popular microblog will soon be introducing guidelines on how it wants the Twitter API to be used. Sippey, in this official blog post revealed that in the weeks to come, they would be introducing version 1.1 of the Twitter API.

At the forefront

Adding developer restrictions



The new guidelines, many of which are compulsory, govern how thirt-party apps access and display Twitter's data. This affects all popular smartphone and desktop clients, many of which analyse the public stream of Tweets and display trends, photos etc. The new rules appear to restrict common practices such as mixing Tweets with news from other sources in order to show users relevant information, and displaying Tweets and statistics in innovative ways. This would force all third-party apps to look and behave very much like the official Twitter apps and clients, thus limiting their appeal. The guidelines also seem to imply that Twitter will have much broader freedom to impose additional restrictions on third parties if their size and reach grow significantly.


Among the first changes that version 1.1 would bring in would be that unlike in v1.0, wherein developers did not have to authenticate their applications to access some API endpoints, v1.1 will require authentications. The post explains that so far, developers could access public information from the Twitter API without letting Twitter know of their identity. The new guidelines discourage such use of the Twitter API. "It's important to have visibility into the activity on the Twitter API and the applications using the platform," Sippey highlights further in his post.


Some of the other important changes to be introduced in version 1.1 pertain to what Twitter earlier called Display Guidelines, but will now refer to as Display Requirements. Here, the post adds that all applications displaying tweets will have to follow these requirements. These include linking @usernames to the appropriate Twitter profile, displaying appropriate Tweet actions (e.g. Retweet, reply and favorite) and scaling the display of Tweets appropriately based on the device. The post adds that if an application displays tweets and does not follow the requirements, then Twitter can revoke their application key.


Twitter will also need developers to have their applications certified by them. Here again, the post adds that if an application does not have Twitter certification, then they (Twitter) can block its access to the API.


Another important development in this announcement is that third-party apps can have up to 100,000 users; any more and they will need Twitter permission. Those applications already above the stipulated 100,000 mark will be allowed to maintain that number and also add more till they reach 200 percent of their current user count—as long as they follow Twitter rules. Once they reach 200 percent of their current user count, they will be able to maintain it, but not add more unless, of course, they have Twitter certification.


Developers will have six months from the day of the v1.1 release to migrate their applications to the new version.

Published Date: Aug 17, 2012 06:50 pm | Updated Date: Aug 17, 2012 06:50 pm