Twitter Hits Developers with API Restrictions

Posted by Unknown | August 17, 2012 |

Twitter has announced changes in the upcoming version 1.1 of the Twitter Application Programming Interface (API), with stricter guidelines on how third-party applications connect to the service. Michael Sippey, Group Product Manager at Twitter, in the Twitter Developers blog described the move as means to restore consistency in the Twitter experience.

The new changes in the Twitter API includes: requirement of authentication on all API endpoint, a new rate-limiting methodology, and Developer Rules changes for apps that serve as traditional Twitter clients.

Twitter had earlier warned on the new changes, albeit, the actual nature of the turn was shrouded in non-details. However, critics have termed the move rather too drastic and detrimental to further expansion of Twitter ecosystem.

Per-Endpoint Rate Limiting on the API, means that application that only accesses one endpoint may be more restricted, while application that uses multiple endpoints will run into rate limiting issues less frequently. The Twitter API current version 1.0 served a "one size fits all approach", limiting the number of authentication requests an application can make to 350 calls per hour, regardless of the nature of the information concerned. Whilst the new changes will present most individual endpoints at the rate limit of 60 calls per hour restricted to 100,000 individual users token, which according to Twitters own calculation is well above the needs of most applications built on Twitter API, stressing that it will help protect its system from abusive applications. Though high-volume endpoints relating to Twitter display, profile display, look-up and users search will be able to make up to 720 calls per hour per-endpont.

However, if your application already has more than 100,000 individual users tokens, you will still be able to maintain and add new users to your application up to 200% of your current tokens.

Also, developers that are building client applications pre-installed on mobile phones, or SIM components will be required to have their applications certified by Twitter. And Twitter reserve the rights to revoke non-certified applications.

The changes in Developers Rules of the Road implies Display Guidelines will serve as Display Requirements to ensure consistency in the Twitter experience across board.

The new Twitter API v1.1 migration will simultaneously be announced with the deprecation of the current version 1.0, and developers will be given six months to migrate from v1.0 to v1.1.

Twitter users, especially those that are using third-party applications to access the service will experience less error messages, as apps refresh stream becomes more frequent without running up the rate limit. But, as to how the overall changes will affect future users experience remains to be seen.