Twitter has decided to remove a certain call from their API that the iTweet 2 private beta relied on to create the "ticker" effect that kept it updating at nearly real-time speeds. The rate limit for API calls also remains handicapped, cut to 30 per hour from the usual 70. This makes using Twitter API tools extremely inconvenient, and developing them is also quite frustrating.
For now I have removed the "ticker" feature and the friends timeline will refresh every 140 seconds, though this number may be adjusted slightly as I attempt to keep the page open and in use today. (Big thanks to all my helpful beta testers for your excellent feedback on the last iTweet 2 development cycle!) Further development on the beta will continue when the API rate limit returns to normal. Until then, Twitter API development is a waste of time as most people seem to be ditching API apps for the non-limited Web site.
This is actually a good thing for me, as I am working hard on developing some other tools for The Illusion Factory that I will be posting more about soon. Apologies for the lack of updates recently, I've been in "workshop mode" for quite some time but I will be posting details about the new ideas, tools and projects I've been working with in the coming weeks. (I call this "pimp" mode as I will be hawking the bejeezus out of my work.) I'm building some really neat ways of connecting with people, and I am very excited to share them as soon as possible!
Twitter has been very cool about keeping the community updated on its current status, present challenges and plans for future improvement, despite some really nasty attacks and and the lively scrutiny of about a million people speculating on who is to blame, or how a business model could be developed, or how they can fix Twitter's problems in a single blog post/comment/tweet. They were also kind enough to post a poll in the dev group about removing the friends_timeline/username API call. This is not something they HAVE to do, so I thought it was nice of them to bother. And — even though I was getting great use out of this feature — I voted that if removing it meant a tangible improvement to Twitter's stability, I would take it out back and shoot it myself.
Here's why I would vote to remove a feature that made iTweet's beta the most bitchin' Twitter interface for the Web: The problems Twitter is suffering from are going to take a while to solve, and more downgrades may happen. The Twitter team is working on it, and I am willing to be patient during the downtimes and downgrades while they get their app sorted out. I enjoy using Twitter and making fun stuff with their API. But I have lots of other things that I like, and plenty of projects in the works. I know they are doing their best to improve and/or rebuild their service, so when they've gotten through the current setbacks, I'll be back for more. Rather than getting cranky about it, obsessing over it, or otherwise wasting my mental energy on it, I'll just go play with some other toys until this one gets glued back together again.
And of course, in the meantime a shinier toy may come along and Twitter may end up collecting dust. That is the risk they are running every day that their service is downgraded... and I am sure no one is more aware of this than the Twitter team themselves.
Leave comments on this blog, or let's talk on Twitter or Facebook.
Tags: twitter, downtime, api, web development, itweet
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