Upcoming Twitter API changes will break third-party apps

Upcoming API changes to Twitter will limit important functionality in third-party Twitter apps, according to a new post by a coalition of developers at Apps of a Feather. Back in December, Twitter announced plans to discontinue “streaming services” as of June 19, 2018, which as the developers point out will break both push notifications and automatic timeline refresh in third-party Twitter apps such as Talon, Tweetbot, Tweetings, and Twitterrific.
The developers add that they are “incredibly eager” to update their apps for compatibility with newer Twitter APIs, however Twitter has been less than cooperative in providing a way to recreate this functionality apart from the soon-to-be-discontinued streaming services. While Twitter announced a new Account Activity API a year ago, it remains in beta testing, and third-party developers have not yet been given access to it. For its part, Twitter has stated that the new Account Activity API is intended primarily for data features and access rather than “delivering client app product features” for third-party apps.

What this means in practical terms is that users of these third-party apps — many of which offer more functionality than Twitter’s own native apps — will no longer be able to receive push notifications of any Twitter activity, nor will they be able to view their Twitter feed in realtime. Twitter’s native iOS app offers its own push notification capabilities, of course, but requires users to manually refresh their Twitter feed, and may have long appreciated the ability of apps like Tweetbot to keep the stream live in order to passively follow what’s happening on Twitter, especially during major events. This problem will be even worse for users on platforms like macOS, where Twitter recently discontinued its native client entirely, pushing users to either use the web interface or rely on these third-party apps as their only option. Considering Twitter has long shown a disdain for third-party apps, preferring to drive users to its own first-party offering, this probably shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but with Twitter abandoning platforms like macOS in favour of the web UI, such intransigence only serves to limit many users’ options even further. [via The Verge]

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