The buzz has been swirling around the Twitter developer-sphere about a bug that has been going on for almost a full day now. Louis Gray reported it first at around 12am MST last night, and the first post to the Twitter development mailing list went up at around 2am MST last night. But Twitter is no where to be found, and it’s really starting to hurt some developers. So much that the very popular TweetStats, by Damon Cortesi has completely had to shut down until the service is re-enabled.
The bug is surrounding the display of the source app via both the API and in the Web UI showing which application a Tweet has come from on Twitter. Currently, according to TweetStats, 100% of the messages on Twitter are displaying they are coming from the Web. Developers and bloggers are complaining but no one is being heard.
In fact, according to Twitter, both Evan Williams (founder of Twitter), and Alex Payne (Twitter’s API Lead) are both in Maui on unrelated trips (Alex’s is for vacation – it’s unclear why Ev is there), posting pictures of the frozen drinks they are having and talking about the massages they are getting. Alex even stated he doesn’t have his laptop with him. Of course I don’t expect him to be reading this, and I congratulate him for being able to have some very deserved time-off–but what do we do when the API goes down?
Twitter developers have asked repeatedly for a paid API service which they can be guaranteed more up-time and more API access, along with a higher tier of support. Even Iain Dodsworth, the developer behind TweetDeck has mentioned in conversations on FriendFeed that, with unlimited API access, they would be able to deliver some of their “dream functionality”, and would “pay a lot” for such. As the developer behind SocialToo, I firmly agree with his statement – it would be a cost-savings for me. Regardless, there is still no good way to get Twitter support when their API goes down. Developers need some sort of Emergency Response System, and I think Twitter should charge for this level of service.
In times where developers’ apps go down many livelihoods are at stake. Money is not being made, and with a very poor support system by Twitter as is, and no way to guarantee support during such circumstances, developers are putting a lot on the line writing for such a service. Currently, the only means is via the Developer mailing list, and as we can see there is yet to be a response from Twitter via that means, and at least one entire application has been put out of business because of the issue.
Will there be a time we can see a prioritized service from Twitter that developers can pay for and guarantee service? I think with today’s example this option has just become a lot more important. The free service simply isn’t cutting it any more.
What do you think Twitter should do?