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Twitter moves developer API change to August, third-party app future unclear

Twitter has given developers a new deadline for its upcoming API change after delaying it last month: August 16th. Third-party Twitter clients will need to move to the new API before that date to avoid breaking critical features like notifications and timeline streaming.

The good news is Twitter has fully detailed the API replacement this time, but the cost of using the new developer tools may not be sustainable for some third-party Twitter clients…

Today’s announcement effectively gives developers of clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific three months to prepare their apps for the change.

The initial pushback against the API change surfaced last month was largely based on Twitter telling developers a major change was coming without offering specific details about pricing and replacement availability.

But the developers behind Twitterrific, a third-party Twitter client for iOS and macOS, have already expressed concern that access to Twitter’s API change may not be sustainable due to price.

As TechCrunch reports, Twitter’s Enterprise tier will cost developers somewhere above $2,899, but developers have to contact Twitter to know specific pricing. Twitter has also shared that it won’t fully replace existing services as part of its new API:

As a few developers have noticed, there’s no streaming connection capability or home timeline data, which are only used by a small amount of developers (roughly 1% of monthly active apps). As we retire aging APIs, we have no plans to add these capabilities to Account Activity API or create a new streaming service for related use cases.

The development comes one day after Tapbots launched a new version of its Tweetbot app for Mac, but Tapbots said yesterday that its confident it will be able to work around the new API changes as needed:

There’s a lot of confusion about upcoming Twitter changes and we’d like to clear that up:
  1. Nothing is happening on June 19th. The API deprecations have been delayed indefinitely.
  2. If/when Twitter deprecates the current streaming APIs, the apps will still function fine. Only a few features may be slower or removed.
  3. Twitter has a replacement API that (if we’re given access to) we’ll be able to use to replace almost all of the functionality that they are deprecating.
On Mac, the worst case scenario is that we won’t be able to show notifications for Likes/Retweets. Notifications for Tweets, Mentions, Quotes, DMs and Follows will be delayed 1-2 minutes.
The difference today is we now know the date for when the new API will be in place, August 16th, and developers can learn how much the enterprise tier will cost by contacting Twitter.

The message remains the same, though, which is Twitter haven’t little concern for third-party Twitter clients as it says its new API is optimized for “customer service, engagement, and chatbots” used by brands.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.