Twitter postpones platform change that would cut off third-party apps

The people behind third-party Twitter clients Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Talon, and Tweetings are warning users that their apps could lose important features like push notifications and an auto-refresh timeline in June. The problem is that after June 19th, Twitter will be removing the “streaming services” that have enabled developers to implement these functions in their apps.

Update 4:30PM ET: However, we don’t know exactly when this change will come. In response to the furor on Twitter, the company has announced it is “delaying the scheduled June 19th deprecation date.” In a thread, the developer relations account further said the company it “will provide at least 90 days notice from when the Account Activity API becomes generally available” and that “more specifics on timing [are] to come.”

It’s good news that Twitter is backing down, but there are still open questions about whether its new Account Activity API is robust enough for third party Twitter apps to provide the same streaming services they now offer. So far Twitter hasn’t allowed outside developers to participate in the beta testing of that API. Even in a best-case scenario, it would only potentially restore the push notification side of things; it sounds like third-party Twitter clients just won’t have any practical way of offering a live-updating timeline anymore. “You will see delays in real-time updates during sporting events and breaking news,” the developers say.

They’re raising the issue now in hopes that Twitter will offer some kind of solution. That’s probably only going to happen if the company hears enough complaints about yet another decision that, whatever the technical reasoning might be, will end up hampering the functionality and appeal of third-party Twitter clients.

Some of these apps offer native software on platforms that Twitter itself has decided to abandon. I myself am a user of Tweetbot on Mac, even if I generally stick with the official app on mobile. Jeff Seibert, Twitter’s former director of product, says it would be a “grave error” if the company does nothing.

The app developers are concerned that “many folks don’t realize that their favorite Twitter app is about to break, so awareness is the first step. Together, we may be able to get Twitter to constructively address this state of affairs before the June deadline.” If you want to sound off, @TwitterDev is the account to @. Or you can tweet your own thoughts with the hashtag #BreakingMyTwitter.

Original article updated to reflect Twitter’s new stance on the deprecation date.

Twitter postpones platform change that would cut off third-party apps

Published at Fri, 06 Apr 2018 20:32:13 +0000

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