Twitter’s had a rough relationship with developers over the past few years.
For software professionals, a platform’s value (in addition to the size of its user base) is based largely on how easily they can build services and apps on top of it. An open platform encourages creativity, which can lead to interesting products and (hopefully) profit. A closed platform, by contrast, risks frustrating its developer base.
Way back in ye olden days of 2012, Twitter annoyed developers by posting new API guidelines that risked restricting many popular third-party apps that leveraged the service, including Tweetdeck and Tweetbot. Two years later, in a bid to build up goodwill among developers (as well as provide a bit more clarity when it came to apps), the social network’s management rolled out Fabric, a cross-platform development suite.
But Fabric never really caught fire (so to speak). By October 2015, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted to an audience at Twitter’s annual Flight developer conference that the company had let developers down, and that he was committed to rebuilding the relationship.
Months later, Twitter might be pushing through more substantive changes to its developer toolkit, starting with the Fabric Mobile App, which consolidates analytics and alerts onto a smartphone. While a mobile dashboard won’t repair the relationship between Twitter and developers overnight, it could help Twitter position itself as friendlier to third-party development—and encourage more app-builders to give the platform a second look.