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Twitter tightens API rules, screws over third-party app developers

Introduces stricter guidelines and gives developers just six months to change apps
Fri Aug 17 2012, 11:12

MICROBLOGGING SERVICE Twitter is screwing over third-party developers by introducing "stricter guidelines" about how its API must be used.

The new restrictions, which include fresh authentication rules and per-endpoint rate limiting, will discourage independent software developers from creating Twitter apps.

Twitter's director of consumer products, Michael Sippey said in a blog post that independent software developers who create new Twitter apps will have just six months to change over to the new version of its API.

"Currently, in v1.0 of the Twitter API we allow developers access to certain API endpoints without requiring their applications to authenticate, essentially enabling them to access public information from the Twitter API without us knowing who they are," Sippey said. "In version 1.1, we will require every request to the API to be authenticated."

"If your application is currently using the Twitter API without using OAuth [an open standard for authorisation], you will need to update your application before March 2013."

Under its new rules in v1.1 of the API, Twitter is also changing the number of authenticated requests applications can make. Developers' apps that only access one endpoint will be more restricted, although Twitter says applications that use multiple endpoints "will run into rate limiting issues less frequently".

Additionally, existing developers will be required to work with Twitter directly if their applications begin to demand an increasingly high volume of API calls and require more than one million individual user tokens.

Those building new Twitter client applications that are accessing the home timeline, account settings or direct messages API endpoints, will only be allowed to have a maximum of 100,000 users to start with and will need Twitter's permission to increase from this number.

The new rules are likely to push new users toward Twitter's own apps while steering them away from popular third-party Twitter clients like Tweetbo.

It might be argued that Twitter will lose credibility for changing its API, with thousands of apps finding it difficult to stay afloat while abiding by its new rules. µ


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