Twitter announced an update on friday which should significantly improve the experience in third-party Twitter applications: it gives developers much more access to the reverse chronological timeline. This update to the recently released API v2 on Twitter, the interface that developers use to retrieve data from Twitter, is a new (and, in my opinion, encouraging) step in Twitter’s journey to better developer support.

As Twitter notes in your announcement post, the new API v2 feature gives developers a way to “retrieve the latest tweets and retweets posted by authenticated users and the accounts that follow.” In other words, the developer may want to see the data that Twitter shows you when you load the first page app with the “Recent Tweets” option selected, so that its app can show it to you instead.

For third-party customers like Tweetbot, the feature (or “endpoint” in developer language) is very welcome. Paul Haddad, one of the developers of Tweetbot, was quoted in a Twitter message as saying that the old way of getting a user’s timeline “is one of our most used API calls.” The old version of the API was launched in 2012so it definitely got long in the tooth – and the developers who use it faced more limitations when trying to get the user’s timeline.

In an email to On the edgeHaddad explained that the change will make Tweetbot more responsive to users. “We’ll just be able to refresh the timeline more often and allow users to scroll much further back in their timeline,” thanks to the fact that API v2 allows developers to make more requests in several ways. Older version, API v1.1, let you ask home timeline 15 times for a 15-minute window and can return up to 800 tweets. API v2 supports up to 180 user requests in the same time period and retrieves 3200 tweets.

In terms of development, he says, it makes things a lot easier. “We are currently using the v1.1 home timeline API to get a list of Tweets and then the v2 API to populate specific v2 data (surveys, maps, metrics, etc.). With this new version v2 we can get all this data in one step. ”

During the release of v2 (it went into testing in 2020 and was released as a major way to interact with Twitter late last year), Twitter made one thing very clear: it was trying to fix itself with developers years later of making exclusive new features to your first party app. The company even removed restrictions from its terms of service that made it difficult for third-party customers to compete with the official app, such as restrictions on the number of users they could have.

The conversation is cheap and it won’t be surprising if some developers aren’t sure if Twitter is actually engaged. But Friday’s announcement seems to indicate that the trend continues to give developers access to important features, and Haddad says it’s “remarkable” that Twitter has actually built and launched a home timeline API for v2. “There are a number of uses for this API, but the big one is that third-party Twitter customers are Twitter customers. The fact that they released this is an indication that they will continue to allow and even encourage alternative customers. “

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