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Twitter announces API changes, give developers six months to adapt

August 17, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Twitter announced changes to its API, and if developers don't apply them within six months, they could be shut out.
Twitter announced changes to its API, and if developers don't apply… (Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/GettyImages )

Twitter announced changes to its API, and the company wants developers to incorporate them within six months or risk being shut out.

The company said the changes to its API will help Twitter create a "more consistent Twitter experience," which is the motto the company has been touting for months.

An API, or application programming interface, is a specification that lets developers access a company's information. Most companies, including Facebook and Google, have APIs for their services. The changes coming to Twitter's API could affect users once apps are changed to reflect the company's new policies.

Twitter will now require developers to authenticate who they are in order to use their API. This means that anonymous access to Twitter's API is essentially over, ending malicious use of the API. This means that bots that just scrape through Twitter's data will soon likely be kept out.

The company will also now limit developers' endpoint access rate to Twitter's API. Apps accessing one endpoint will now be limited to 60 calls per hour, and those accessing multiple points will be able to call with a higher limit. Twitter said it is cutting its current limit of 350 calls per hour and says the new 60 calls per hour limit is "well above the needs of most applications."

Developers will get a 720-calls-per-hour limit when it comes to Tweet profile display, user look-up and some other functions as well, according to a blog posted by the company.

Finally, Twitter is also requiring developers to begin displaying its site's tweets properly. This means Twitter will now mandate that apps link usernames to profile, show buttons for retweets, replies and favorite and scale tweets to the appropriate size for each device's display, according to TechCrunch.

All in all, Twitter is just doing what makes sense for the company, but because Twitter used to be so open about its API, it is paying a price with its reputation in the minds of developers.


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