Twitter is going through a complicated time this week, disabling its historical APIs, precisely those that have made the service possible to come forward and become what it is today.
In the manner of Apple who throws his historic community year after year, the social network clearly wants to put an end to third-party programs to concentrate the consultations on its own applications and on his website, just to reassure investors about the economic future of the company. Since last night apps can not display the news feed in real time – there is a delay of a few minutes – and the notification service only works for some functions, again, with delays that are incompatible with the aspect " real- time " inherent and indispensable for this type of service. In order to restore these functions, the rates offered are so high that no external customer seriously considers passing these on to users.
Faced with this very unpopular decision, Twitter employees are confronted with general dissatisfaction ] mainly from the historical users, but also from community managers and other personalities who visit Twitter daily to work. On Mac, Twitter has left the only official customer, but there is no solution – outside the website – to retain most of the proposed functions . Therefore, the publisher must engage in a fairly dangerous balancing act. In a blog post but also in an internal e-mail sent to his teams, Rob Johnson never ceases to repeat that this is all for [19659003" improve the general experience " and that " to get ahead, we chose to no longer invest in other products, especially two development tools (APIs) that used by approximately 1% of external developers. " Remains that this figure of " 1% " seems well-structured because of the unjustified to justify.
Reading between the lines, Twitter still seems to take no long-term decision, to form a closed network, such as Facebook or Instagram while recognizing the importance of external customers in its history. Relying on technical considerations and development priorities, Rob Johnson appears to be worried that relationships will deteriorate with the community of developers and even beyond . In short, a way to communicate very American, full of beautiful promises and attention for companies and independent developers who see themselves tonight degrade to the sidelines: " We love you, but we do not have you no longer need ". However, the impact will probably go much further than the publishers, because the first in question is clearly the users of the service.
First a bit of history: external customers have a noticeable impact on Twitter service and the products we have made. Independent developers created the first Twitter client for Mac and the first native application for iPhone. These customers are pioneers with the product features that we all know and appreciate on Twitter, such as silence, discounts and more.
We love developers to build experiences from our APIs to help advance our service, technology and public conversation. We deeply respect the time, energy and passion that they have brought in to build incredible things with the help of Twitter.
However, we have not always worked well with developers on the decisions we make about external customers. In 2011, we asked developers (in an e-mail) not to create apps that replicate the standard Twitter experience. In 2012, we announced changes to our development rules to clarify these limitations by limiting the number of authorized users for an external customer. And in the years following these announcements, we told developers that our API roadmap does not give priority to cases of customer use, even though we continue to manage some specific APIs that are widely used by these APIs. customers cover exceptions for customers who need it.
It's time to make the difficult decision to end support for these legacy APIs, realizing that some aspects of these applications have deteriorated. Today we face technical and commercial limitations that we can not ignore. The User Streams and Site Streams APIs that perform essential functions for many of these clients have been in beta for more than 9 years and are based on a technology stack that we no longer support. We do not adjust our policies and try not to "kill" external clients; but we eliminate, through operational need, certain APIs inherited from certain functionalities of these customers. Moreover, it was not realistic to invest in the creation of a completely new service to replace all the functions of these APIs that were used by less than 1% of the Twitter developers.
We have heard the comments from our customers about the pain that causes them. We often review #BreakingMyTwitter and have spoken with many key external developers to understand their needs and concerns. We would like to understand why people hire external customers on our own applications, and we will try to communicate these changes more fairly and more clearly to developers.
We know we have a lot of work to do. This change is a step forward difficult but important. Thank you for working with us to get it done.