Twitter Uses Its Own APIs For New Mobile Site

Adam DuVander
Dec. 03 2009, 11:43PM EST

Twitter announced a beta version of its mobile site with a cleaner look, new features and a backend powered by the microblogging site's popular API (our Twitter API profile). The new site is running in tandem with the current mobile site, though Twitter plans to phase out the old site. What makes us excited is how they built it.

New Twitter mobile interface

The Twitter mobile team is proud of their "dogfooding" the platform team's work:

It's probably no secret that Twitter has an active developer community, using our APIs to create fantastically innovative apps. Nor is it a secret that Twitter and mobile phones go together like birds and flight... So, the mobile team here built a brand new mobile web client from scratch, using only Twitter APIs, and we'd like to share the results with you.

Either to keep things simple or release the preview of the new site quickly, Twitter didn't include some of its newer, innovative APIs. ReadWriteWeb says that's a deal-breaker:

There are no support for Twitter Lists in this interface. Twitter without groups of some kind is a cluttered mess if you have a lot of people you're following. This new interface is going to be best suited to people who make casual use of Twitter.

Also missing is the geolocation API, which is most useful on a mobile device. On one hand, this is curious, but this follows suit with Twitter.com. Geotagged tweets were rolled out to the API first. So, even though Twitter is proud of its use of the API to create the new site, it's still very much a Twitter product.

Twittme Mobile Twitter

Interestingly, we have 13 Twitter mashups tagged mobile, including the newly-listed Twittme Mobile Twitter profile.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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