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The sound of silence

Posted on June 29, 2013

The morning of June 12th was a strange one. Websites seemed inordinately silent. Not a tweet was twittered (is that the right verb?) and all was calm – all except for those who had seen it coming and had put their plans in place.

V1 goes silent

The reason behind the vast reduction in their activity was due to Twitter switching off its V1 API, the method by which almost all Twitter plugins and scripts had been using to aggregate and display feeds on their websites. No more will your Twitter feed be alive with your most fascinating insights or witty retorts. This will come as a shock to most non-developers, as even the letters API are an alien set to most people and lay in the realm of “that nerdy computer stuff”.

Twitter API V1 has served us well over the years and has led to lots of great Twitter applications and plugins, but with the platform’s huge popularity, and the fact it has become an important place for businesses to manage their reputations, communicate with customers and advertise, a new system had to be implemented. Any feed, app or aggregator will now be treated in a similar way to a Twitter app. It must have a consumer and secret key to be allowed to collect and display data from the Twitter API; most apps and plugins out at the moment do not have this functionality and so will be denied the information.

Blackout tests

For most developers, this was something we were all aware of well before the V1 was due to be switched off. With Twitter holding blackout tests, it’s likely most people would have noticed and contacted their web developer or techy person and asked why their feed had stopped working during the blackout. For others, this will come as a unfortunate shock, and they will be left making panicked calls to their web designer.

The solution

For most people this will involve a different plugin for WordPress, or to call their technical friend and offer them some beer and a bashful smile. It reminds us all that even in this world of easy to use technology, gestures, simple big buttons and integration, developments in the technical world can still bring it all to a grinding halt and remind people that the nerds are still the ones in the background keeping it all running smoothly.

So, next time you pass someone with a penguin on their t-shirt or the I.T guy at your office, remember to thank him for making your life that little bit easier.

Steven is Engage Web’s go-to man for all things web-related, bringing his knowledge of current trends in web design and development to the team.

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