Twitter on Thursday announced plans to change how its API handles Direct Messages. In July, the company will make it possible for people to send one another lengthy missives as it drops the limit of 140 characters per message. This means third-party apps that make use of Twitter's APIs will need to make updates of their own.
"In order to make this change as seamless as possible for you [we have] some recommendations to ensure all your applications and services can handle these longer format messages before we flip the switch," said the company in a blog post. It is applying updates to its REST API and Streaming API.
There will be three new "DM read endpoints" in the REST API for displaying sent and received messages. Developers will need to send a new query parameter to receive the lengthened DM test. Twitter warns if the new parameter isn't included, end users will only see a truncated version of the DM. There won't be structural changes to responses to the endpoints.
Twitter is also changing the "DM write endpoint." The text parameter will be updated to begin accepting text longer than 140 characters. The new limit is 10,000 characters -- enough for a novella.
The Streaming API will be updated with two minor changes. The user streams and site streams will automatically begin accepting DMs longer than the old 140-character limit. Unlike the REST API, Twitter says there won't be any additional parameters needed to accommodate these changes.
Twitter suggests developers review the API additions, update their GET requests so they'll be able to receive the full length of DM text, and adjust the app UI accordingly to handle the larger messages.
"We encourage you to test and deploy the above changes in advance," said Twitter, "but you won’t be able to send longer DMs until we launch in July. In the coming weeks though, we will include directions on how to test these changes, as well as a more specific launch date."
The Twitter that we all know and love will keep regular Tweets capped at 140 characters, so developers don't need to worry about making any adjustments to that portion of their apps.
Earlier this year, Twitter expanded the ability for users to message each other in private. Any users can now privately message those who follow them; the sender does not need to follow back. Users need to opt into receiving messages from those they don't follow if they wish. Twitter also removed limits on sending URLs through DMs and added a DM button to user profiles to improve the experience.
Thursday's news about the DM character limit change coincided with a change of leadership at the social network. CEO Dick Costolo will step down July 1 and founder Jack Dorsey will assume the leadership role until a permanent replacement is found for Costolo.