Twitter API v1.1 spells trouble for developers

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The upcoming Twitter API v1.1 will be bringing with it ‘stricter guidelines’ about how it is used. Planned to be released in the coming weeks, this version of the API has turned out to be a big dilemma for third-party developers who’re crafting applications using the Twitter platform.

The new version will require every request to the API to be authenticated. While those using OAuth currently will be able to keep all their authentication tokens, those who don’t will need to update their applications before March 2013. Twitter API v1.1 will bring in the concept of per-endpoint rate limiting. The company revealed that following this change, most individual API endpoints will be rate limited at 60 calls per hour per-endpoint.

Explaining it further, Michael Sippey, Group Product Manager at Twitter, wrote on the official Twitter developer blog, “Based on analysis of current use of our API, this rate limit will be well above the needs of most applications built against the Twitter API, while protecting our systems from abusive applications. There will be a set of high-volume endpoints related to tweet display, profile display, user lookup and user search where applications will be able to make up to 720 calls per hour per endpoint. Full documentation of the rate limiting by endpoint will be released with API v1.1.”

Another significant change is that a limit has been introduced for the number of users. All those who plan to move ahead of 100,000 individual user tokens will need to get Twitter’s approval to do the same, while those who’ve already crossed the limit will get the freedom to double that number. But after that, no increase in number will be allowed.

Furthermore, some Display Guidelines have also been revealed by the social networking giant for its API policies. Prominent among these is the requirement to include linking ‘@usernames’ with the appropriate Twitter profiles, displaying appropriate tweet actions (like retweet, reply and favorite) and scaling the display of tweets appropriately based on the device. Developers working on client apps which come pre-installed on mobile devices will now be needed to have their apps certified from Twitter before shipping them.

These important highlights of the upcoming Twitter API v1.1 have led to quite a stir among developers. The policies are supposed to go live soon, but a definite date hasn’t been mentioned.