Twitter is shutting down its legacy third party app APIs this week

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Twitter has held an axe over the heads of third-party developers this year with its announced shut down of legacy APIs (for which there has been no suitable replacement.)

The firm initially delayed shutting down these APIs due to developer backlash, pushing them back to August. What do you know? We’re in August.

Android Authority reached out to a developer of popular Twitter app Talon for their take on it earlier this year, he explains:

To start off, the changes will have little impact on Talon users (or other popular third party apps like Flamingo, even though it is unpublished, and Fenix). The only users that are affected are users that use Twitter’s streaming functionality. In Talon, this is called “Talon Pull” or “Live Streaming”. These basically just set up a connection to Twitter’s user stream API, through a persistent web socket, that is constantly listening for interactions and new tweets. This can be used to automatically load new tweets while the app is running, or provide real time notifications for mentions, likes, etc. This feature is turned off by default in most apps, and has not been widely used in Talon (only around 2-3% of users), since Lollipop, because it drains the battery much quicker.

The mobile apps that will be widely affected are ones that implemented push notifications, using Twitter’s site stream API. That API has been in beta and restricted for a very long time. Talon never got access to it. My app has never had true push notifications, which is very normal for any apps created after Twitter started to become more restrictive with their API usage. We simply were never able to get access to this site stream API. There are a few third party Android apps with push notifications, but very few. Many desktop apps also used the user streams in the same way that Talon did (real time updates). That will no longer be available either. Desktop apps were able to do this for many more users, since power consumption isn’t nearly as much of an issue on desktop as on mobile.


The main concern – from my perspective – about this change, is the direction it is pointing and the shift in Twitter’s mindset about how third party clients are expected to use their APIs. I don’t foresee them cutting off access to what is currently available (the bulk of the platform) but it probably means that we won’t see any access to some future features, such as polls. Polls are a recent feature of Twitter that third party apps have never been able to access.

The bottom line here, it has become harder for developers to create quality Twitter experiences, and features like native Tweet storms or Polls or whatever new feature Twitter dreams up in the future will likely not make it to your app for choice. However, your experience with third-party Twitter apps should remain largely unaffected, pray Twitter does not alter the deal some more.

Source: Twitter

More about the topics: api, developers, twitter