TechCrunch staff on what we lose if we lose Twitter

Historically, Twitter has had a rocky relationship with the third-party developer community. But over the past few years, the company has tried to appease the developer community with projects like new API version and the Twitter Toolbox collection. to highlight some of the projects.

However, under Elon Musk’s leadership, some of these programs are being shut down — starting with the Twitter Toolbox. According to multiple developers in the know, Twitter sent an email earlier this week that the Toolbox program was closing next week — a copy of which was seen by TechCrunch.

“Thank you for being a part of the Twitter Toolbox pilot program. We have made the difficult decision to discontinue the Twitter Toolbox effective 12/15/2022,” the email said.

Twitter debuted the program earlier this year to promote certain apps directly to users’ feeds at the right time. These applications include scheduling and threading/reading applications such as Typical, Appendix Chirr, Thread reader and Buffer; safety tools like Block party and Bodyguard; and measurement and analysis tools such as s ilo, Blackmagic.so, Direcon Inc., Followerwonk and Tweepsmap.

Amir Shevat, Twitter’s product lead for the developer platform at the time, also told TechCrunch that the social network is also is considering building an app store for third-party apps.

Pilot suspension of Twitter tiles

In August, Twitter announced a test of “tiles” — the new version of Twitter Cards — that allowed publishers and developers to include custom formats with a tweet. The idea was that when someone posted a URL, a format like an image, text, video, or button would automatically render — just like Twitter cards.

The company is also stopping this project. According to an email sent to a developer, Twitter may consider revisiting the concept next year.

“We have concluded that the best course of action at this time is to withdraw from this pilot and pause broader experimental efforts related to Tweet Tiles. We still believe this product concept can offer value to our users and developers like you. We will continue to consider this work as we undergo planning for 2023 and may choose to revisit it next year,” the company said in an email.

Twitter Developer Insider Program

Last year, Twitter introduced the Developer Insider program last year for collect direct product and API feedback. While the program hasn’t been scrapped yet, the people who are a part of it haven’t heard from Twitter in a while.

Terence Eden, a developer who was part of the program, said the insiders worked on many projects, including labeling helpful bots and testing the conversational API. He said the development team is working on improving search and expanding the scope of OAuth so that developers can better access certain parts of Twitter.

Eden and another developer, Somraj Saha, told TechCrunch that after Musk took over, activity in the Developer Insider Slack group dropped as program managers began to leave the company. Saha said the group hasn’t seen updates from people on Twitter since the third week of November. So, pending an official announcement from Twitter, the program is dead in its current avatar.

The future of APIs and developer relations

Days after Musk took over, Twitter canceled it the long-awaited Chirp conferencewhich was to take place almost a decade later.

After that, the developers heard little or nothing from the Twitter team. Many tools built around Twitter are now expanding their cross-platform support such as LinkedIn and Mastodon. Third-party Twitter client developers like Tweetbot and Aviary are developing Mastodon clients to cater to the growing popularity of the web.

Typical, a Twitter threading app backed by Ev Williams, told TechCrunch that it plans to expand LinkedIn support for its users. The company recently introduced an AI-powered bot that helps you write better topics. It also plans to improve the bot so it can make LinkedIn posts better.

Chirr App, another planner, recently mentioned that it plans to continue supporting Twitter and add features along the way. But it is open to adding links to more platforms and already is working on a Mastodon integration. Bodyguard, a content moderation tool, said they are looking to add integrations to TikTok and Discord soon. Charles Cohen, the company’s co-founder, also told TechCrunch that he is considering cutting back on Twitter-related development.

Developers TechCrunch spoke with had mixed opinions and concerns about Twitter’s developer relations and the future of its API. Most of them – including those of Twitter Developer Forum — are currently concerned that they don’t have a clear roadmap for the company’s third-party developer programs. Many have told us that it has become difficult to contact Twitter for development-related inquiries as the developer relations team has lost many members.

While Musk emphasizes an engineering-led approach for Twitter, he’s been mostly silent about the developer ecosystem. It would be a shame if the company’s work over the past few years to restore relations with developers went to waste.

You can reach this reporter on Signal and WhatsApp at +91 816-951-8403 or [email protected] via email.

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