Twitter has been making some rather radical changes to its service recently, resulting in some outcries regarding their motivations and ultimately, the annoyance of users of third party apps. News has now emerged that the developers of the highly popular Tweetbot client for both Mac and iOS devices, TapBots, have had to remove a free public alpha of Tweetbot for OS X because of the new restrictions.
Essentially, the new Twitter API rules mean that each user who has a Twitter client on their device is equivalent to one ‘token’, and that there are only a limited number of tokens that can be issued for a given app. Therefore, in the case of the alpha software for Tweetbot, users of the free alpha client also count as one token, thereby limiting the number of users that will be able to buy the full priced final version of the app when it is released. Therefore, Tweetbot has now taken the decision to cease their alpha testing program so that they have the maximum number of tokens when the app is released to the public in final form.
As a result, many people are upset that Twitter is unnecessarily stifling third party app developers and preventing effective software testing due to their over-controlling set of rules. Sadly, Tweetbot is one of the best Twitter clients, even in alpha form on the Mac, far superior to Twitter’s own client, which of course will have unlimited tokens, but lack the innovation to match the interface used by Tweetbot.
In addition, it has now emerged that Twitter has modified the user interface on the web version of the service, removing details of what client was actually used when a tweet was posted. As spotted by Erik Porter (via TNW), the ‘via’ stamp has now been removed from the data beneath a tweet, meaning that it no longer says ‘via Tweetbot’ or ‘via Twitterific’, obviously to stop the promotion of alternative Twitter clients.
Twitter is a fantastic service, but changes like these are starting to get a little worrying.