INEVITABLE

What's New in Twitter API v2

Twitter API V2.0 is set to be huge. On the surface it appears to just be an overhaul, but strategically it could define a whole emergent sector of future data-driven businesses.

Scaling with user needs while simplifying its use is a savvy business investment of twitter into the dev community. Becoming once again the training example for little Timmy the first-time API developer. Allowing little Timmy’s app to now scale into an empire without recoding.

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new API is cleaner with a higher-level functionality and makes collaborating with others and scaling projects easier.

Twitter vs Developers: A Brief History

Gone are the days of the “one size fits all” approach Twitter have relied on since their API first launched in 2006. This overhaul of the API – the first since 2012 – has transitioned to become more flexible and scalable than its previous versions.

It appears Twitter are trying to make amends to their dev community too. Having once appeared hostile to third-party developers after disagreements with Bit.ly in 2010 and the removal of key endpoints used by third-party clients in 2018, Twitter are now set to have one of the most open and powerful developer APIs of any major tech company.

This time, they have actively engaged with and listened to their developer community. New endpoints such as the ability to specify which fields get returned in an API call and real-time tweet streams, alongside highly-requested features such as conversation threading, polls, spam filtering and search query language, will allow developers to get even more out of each API call they make.

This in turn means that greater and more powerful AI projects and smart API services can be created using datasets accessible through the new API. This in turn could be a signal that more commercial features will be included as the new API opens-up further as their development road map suggests.

Collaboration

V2.0 also sees the introduction of a new developer portal and three distinct product tracks: Standard, Academic Research and Business.

The new developer portal will allow for easier onboarding and app management, as well as being a one-stop shop to access your API usage stats, support centre and documentation.

The introduction of the portal, new product tracks and basic & elevated access levels make it easier for likeminded developers to collaborate with each other.

Previously if a project was developed on the Premium or Enterprise API and then Open Sourced on GitHub, most collaborators who tried to contribute to the project would be limited to mostly theoretical contributions, as most developers only have access to the Standard version of the API. This meant that they could read the API’s documentation and comment on the code, but any improvements implemented by them could not be tested using the old API.

This issue will be solved with the new API V2. Having access to the same basic API and documentation means that developers can work on and contribute to Open Source projects without the need to migrate or adjust their code, making it easier for those using the basic access level to collaborate with others. Should they need access to the Academic Research or Business tracks, transitioning between them is now easier than moving to the Premium or Enterprise options before.

The new product tracks will eventually replace API V1.1’s standard, premium and enterprise tracks after the initial early access period, giving developers time to migrate and familiarise themselves with the new interface and endpoints before being forced to switch.

Scalability

Another benefit of V2.0’s new product tracks is their scalability. Being able to move between access levels and tracks is great for growing businesses who won’t need to adjust their API coding after they have migrated to the new version, however it’s also good news for newer developers too and a great investment from Twitter into their own developer community.

Scaling with user needs similar to AWS while being simple to use positions Twitter’s API as the training example for everybody to learn with and ensures most developers are familiar with their platform.

We have first-hand experience with this at INEVITABLE. Having knowledge of the API’s functionality as well as our own reusable code ready to go meant that we were able to use twitter API integration creatively to build services within hackathons. That experience gave us the confidence to go on to create commercial projects with our clients.

This allows the projects of newer developers to scale and grow unrestricted without recoding or changing the API backend, meaning that little Timmy’s app can now scale into an empire without restriction. Thus, scaling Twitter’s ROI into their community at the same time.

What does this mean for businesses?

The only downside to all these changes being that businesses connection to the current twitter API V1.1 will need to be converted over to avoid a disruption to their services.

We would like to see more companies investing in the community this way, as this is the type of long-term investment that not only pays dividends back to the company but also has a direct affect in stimulating the economy by opening doors to business and services that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

Overall, Twitter seem to have turned a corner and are actively listening to and investing in their developer community, which in the long run means better products built with the Twitter API and greater benefits to businesses that connect to it. We’re excited to see the impact these new features and endpoints are going to have – especially as part of our collaborations and ongoing work with start-up and scale-up businesses.

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