Twitter’s new SDK: social giant wants to tear up the Fabric of the apps planet

23 Oct 2014

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Twitter's logo adorns the front of the New York Stock Exchange in New York on the day of its IPO, 7 November 2013. Image by Anthony Correia/Shutterstock.com

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Twitter has created a new SDK that will make it easier for developers to build apps, authenticate users and ultimately make more money by integrating ads into their apps.

The move is perhaps Twitter’s most audacious ploy yet, transforming Twitter from being a messaging ecosystem that fastens most people’s attention anyway to being a kind of digital arms dealer for total online domination.

And ultimately the likelihood is that no matter how far ranging an app you create, Twitter will benefit in the long run.

The new SDK was revealed at Flight, Twitter’s annual shindig for developers, and focuses on a number of core areas: Crashlytics (a stability kit for apps), Twitter Kit (tools for growing your following on Twitter), MoPub Kit (tools for growing your revenue from apps), and Digits (identity management).

The various threads of Fabric

The Crashlytics Kit gives developers greater insight into why apps crash, test the app thoroughly before it is distributed, and isolate the root cause of problems causing apps to crash. In the past 30 days, the platform, according to Twitter, has identified more than 5.5bn crashes and finds the problem down to the exact line of code.

Twitter Kit is intended to arm developers with the tools they need to achieve greater distribution and uptake of their apps. It has three core areas: Native Tweet embeds, Tweet composer and Sign-in with Twitter. With Native Tweet embeds, the ability exists to put tweets inside apps in seconds, something that used to take developers hours. Tweet composer lets people send tweets from apps, such as game scores or comment on a TV show, and Sign-in with Twitter allows people to use their Twitter profile to authenticate themselves to access an app.

The Holy Grail of revenue is addressed through MobPub Kit, which makes it easier for developers to integrate ads into their apps with just a few clicks and maximise ad revenues through access to the MoPub Marketplace. MoPub supports all major ad formats, including banners, interstitials, video and native ads.

Digits is an identity management tool that allows developers to implement authentication using phone numbers rather than email addresses and passwords.

“When we started working on what would become Fabric over a year ago, our goal was to take what we learned from building Crashlytics, MoPub and Twitter itself, and apply those lessons to a host of issues all mobile app developers face,” explained Jeff Seibert, director of product at Twitter.

“We’ve learned first-hand the challenges to building great mobile apps, and in talking to app developers like you, we’ve learned how pervasive these challenges are. Our mission is to build great developer products that help solve those challenges.”

Twitter on Wall St image via Shutterstock

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com