Twitter API changes come into effect, potentially killing third-party apps

After a number of delays, Twitter has finally followed through on its plans to alter a number of key APIs for its social network, vastly restricting the ability of third-party apps.

Among the APIs that have had access removed are those needed to power push notifications on third-party apps, and the ability to have an auto-refreshing timeline. According to Twitter, the move was made to enable its developer team to focus on the companys own native applications.

The change has been criticised by the developers behind a number of third-party apps such as Tweetbot, Twitterific, Tweetings and Talon, who will all be affected by the changes. Rob Johnson, director of product at Twitter, wrote in a note to staff that many of the features created by third-party apps have since been adopted by Twitters own app, reducing the need for such apps and the APIs that support them.

“Third-party clients have had a notable impact on the Twitter service and the products we build,” said Johnson. “Independent developers built the first Twitter client for Mac and the first native app for iPhone. These clients pioneered product features we all know and love about Twitter, like mute, the pull-to-refresh gesture, and more.

“We love that developers build experiences on our APIs to push our service, technology, and the public conversation forward. We deeply respect the time, energy and passion theyve put into building amazing things using Twitter.”

The shutdown was first announced by Twitter back in April, and was originally intended to occur on 19 June, but following outcry by developers, was pushed back to give them more time to update their apps. However, Twitter first warned third-party apps about replicating its home timeline more than six years ago, and many of Twitters newer features such as polls, bookmarks and Periscope were never included in its APIs.