Twitter ends support for legacy APIs, causes developer angst

Twitter says it'll communicate more effectively with developers and noted that technical and business constraints are ending legacy API support.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

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Twitter moved to kill legacy application programming interfaces and cut support for the service on Apple Watch, Mac, and Windows App. The API pruning is likely to impact third-party sources and rev up that #BreakingMyTwitter handle.

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In a blog post and email from Rob Johnson, senior director of enterprise solutions at Twitter, the company outlined its thinking. Johnson noted that owned and operated apps perform better with more features.

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Johnson wrote:

In order to prioritize making these experiences great, we've chosen to stop investing in other products -- including two legacy developer tools used by about 1% of third-party developers. This means that some Twitter-like apps will not be able to function the exact same way as before. For example, instead of Tweets automatically streaming in like they once did in some third-party apps, you might need to pull to refresh like you do in Twitter-owned apps and sites. Several of the most popular apps have already made updates so that you can continue using them with minimal disruption.

Twitter's approach to favor owned and operated APIs has been a sore spot for developers for years.

In his email via tweet, Johnson noted Twitter hasn't "always done a good job of being straightforward with developers" in past years (notably 2011 and 2012). This go round, Johnson was frank that Twitter is facing technical and business constraints that mean legacy APIs have to go -- including one in beta for nine years.

Also: Twitter clamps down on developer access to APIs TechRepublic

Johnson said Twitter is "committed to understanding why people hire third party clients over our own apps" and will do better with communication.

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