Twitter opens Developer Lab for testing new API features

Twitter has opened the doors to its Developer Labs where developers can test new API products from the social network before release.

Initially, Twitter is planning to focus on conversational data. This will be for academics and researchers who study interactions on the social network, as well as social listening and analytics providers that build products for other businesses.

Twitter says developers can provide feedback on what they like and dislike to help build ‘the next generation of the Twitter API’.

While the social network has added enterprise data APIs and the Ads API, the main API has been stuck on version 1.1 since August 2012. We all know how that update went down (hint: not very well) after implementing things such as rate and token limits which killed off many third-party clients.

Ian Cairns, Group Product Manager at Twitter, wrote in a post:

“Twitter has significantly changed since we introduced the v1.1 API in 2012, as has the way developers use the Twitter API. Going forward, we want to make it easier for more developers to get started and grow with us while continuing to provide a useful, open and free API offering.

We’re building the future of our developer platform with a diverse range of developers in mind.”

Twitter has long promised to rebuild its relationship with developers but, as of yet, we’ve seen very few moves to achieve that. The company says it wants to simplify its services for developers, make them easier to use, and offer more features.

While such noises are welcome, we’ll have to wait and see whether it’s just noise or whether it’s backed with positive action. Opening up the Developer Lab offers Twitter a chance to rebuild the bridges it's burnt time and time again.

“We know we still need to do a better job listening to and learning from our developer community. Labs is a test program to help us do that, in line with the more open, public approach to product development we’re taking across the company.

We’re inviting interested developers to preview new features and tell us what they like, what they don’t, and what would help them—before we launch new API features broadly to everyone.”

Anyone with a developer account can sign up to Developer Labs here to receive updates when the first endpoints go live in the coming weeks. Documentation can also be found here.

Further updates on the program will be shared via @TwitterDev. A #TapIntoTwitter event will be hosted in New York on June 4th where Twitter will meet with its developer community and share more details.

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