Scott Gilbertson of Webmonkey’s MonkeyBites blog has an interesting post about the Twitter API, more specifically, on how some blog software providers are “borrowing” Twitter’s programmer interface to enable clients such as Tweetie to update your blog.
Twitter’s API has spawned hundreds of mashups and third party software apps, but now it’s growing even further — outside sites have begun mimicking an API to piggyback on Twitter clients.
It started last week with a clever hack by WordPress contributors which allows WordPress.com users to post and read their WordPress.com blogs through third-party Twitter apps like Tweetie 2 for the iPhone.
Now Tumblr has joined in on the fun, allowing you to post and read Tumblr blogs through any third-party Twitter app that allows you to change the API endpoint.
While that’s interesting, I don’t really like it. Emulating another service’s API will only result in problems as Twitter updates their API methods. Developers of Twitter clients will update their software, and companies like WordPress.com will have to be quick to re-work their fake Twitter API, otherwise things could break. It just seems like a bad plan to base something like that off of a third party’s proprietary framework, rather than that of an open standard.
Gilbertson continues to mention Dave Winer’s thoughts on how Twitter’s API is (without Twitter’s consent) becoming an “open standard,” and how that’s a bad idea.
For one thing, Twitter is a private company with its own goals for its own API. In order to really become a standard, Twitter would need to freeze its API, ensuring that it doesn’t change. Since Twitter has been doing interesting (and sometimes backwards-incompatible) things with it, like adding geotagging support and changing how replies are handled, and we don’t want to see that stop.
But honestly, is it really that hard to switch to a dedicated application to update your blog? WordPress provides an iPhone application for just that purpose, and it doesn’t have a 140 character limit.