Twitter today released the newest version of its application programming interface (API)—the specifications third-party developers have to adhere to when building applications that run on the Twitter network—and the tech community had a communal aneurysm. Twitter's API v1.1 limits what those aforementioned third-party developers are allowed to do. You should care because it means some of your favorite Twitter apps are going to go through a pretty drastic change.
One of the most contientous points deals with the aesthetics of third-party apps:
"To ensure that Twitter users have a consistent experience wherever they see and interact with Tweets, in v1.1 of the Twitter API we will shift from providing Display Guidelines to Display Requirements, which we will also introduce for mobile applications. We will require all applications that display Tweets to adhere to these. Among them: linking @usernames to the appropriate Twitter profile, displaying appropriate Tweet actions (e.g. Retweet, reply and favorite) and scaling display of Tweets appropriately based on the device. If your application displays Tweets to users, and it doesn't adhere to our Display Requirements, we reserve the right to revoke your application key."
In short: if an app doesn't display tweets the way Twitter wants, they will get shut down. Another interesting—and by interesting I mean wholly f'd up—part of the new API guidelines deals with the amount of users a third-party app can accumulate Twitter is not allowing third-party apps to exponentially grow. Going forward, popular apps with more than 100,000 users will only be able to double its user-ship.
"If your application already has more than 100,000 individual user tokens, you'll be able to maintain and add new users to your application until you reach 200% of your current user token count (as of today) — as long as you comply with our Rules of the Road," Twitter wrote today on its blog.
As you can imagine, the news of these changes sent shockwaves through the tech world, prompting people to release their vitriol (and sensible opinions) on—where else?—Twitter.