New Twitter Consumes Their Own API

Twitter released a brand new twitter.com today with all kinds of new features. The feature that really stands out for me is now the main twitter.com web site runs off the Twitter API.

The Twitter mobile site and Twitter Iphone and IPad apps all run using the Twitter API, but now the most popular Twitter client does as well.

This is a very important practice for businesses to adopt. It will put you in the shoes of your developers and API consumers....essentially eating your own dog food.

In 2000 I started a web development company with my wife. I developed a custom content management platform for delivering web sites and applications for my customers. By 2006 I had reached version 3.0 running on Classic ASP and SQL Server 2000, and faced the challenge of migrating to .NET for my Version 4.0. I made the decision to move away from the Microsoft platform and went with PHP and MySQL for my version 4.0.

Over a summer I sat down to develop my Version 4.0. In addition to the language and database change I made another radical decision. I was going to start with the API.

My version 3.0 had 180 separate system I had hand coded, for version 4.0 I chose 75 of the most important and began to develop a set of RESTful web services to drive these systems.

Once I had the database and web services developed I began to create essentially a set of PHP SDK libraries and UI elements that consumed these web services. This became the version 4.0 of my content management system.

I remember several technical folks with partners I had at the time telling me that was the dumbest thing they've heard. APIs aren't for your primary systems? They are for 3rd party integration. I stood by my decision and developed several successful web applications.

Unfortunately I sold my business as part of my divorce with my wife, and when I was packaging up sites to deliver the code to clients I remember several other developers commenting on how strange my decision was. However I did get a couple folks say how interesting it was and were very happy with the architecture I delivered.

Very smart move Twitter, I recommend other companies to do the same with their applications.