How do you make amends with a development community after taking away some of their tools and rendering at least a few of their products unusable? Try offering them the keys to a much bigger kingdom, for starters. That seems to be just what Twitter’s Jack Dorsey is doing in new blog posted Thursday (via TechCrunch), in which he asks for developer feedback and talks about the near future, where “anywhere there’s an iPhone or an iPad, you’ll always find Twitter.”
Dorsey’s post, in which he points to a new discussion thread opened by Twitter in order to gather feedback about what tools and materials developers are looking for from the company, seems like a bit of a peace offering aimed at smoothing relations with a community that might be understandably skittish. In April last year, Twitter raised developer suspicion by acquiring Tweetie, a client for the service that had been independently operated by developer Atebits. Then earlier this year Twitter implemented new limits on third-party applications plugging into the system that prevented developers from accessing any of the real value of the Twitter ecosystem, as Mathew Ingram noted at the time. The company also bought another client, TweetDeck, in May, seeming to indicate that it wanted control over all major app and web-based access.
Twitter has been trying to turn the relationship around, introducing a dedicated site for platform developers in June, but it has a lot to make up for to win back developer trust. Persistent, system-level iOS integration could go a long way toward winning them back, but for that to happen Dorsey and Twitter need developers on their side as much or more than developers need Twitter.
For Twitter to capitalize on iOS 5 integration, it needs to make sure iOS app developers take advantage of that integration by building sharing options into their apps. System-level login will help put Twitter in front of many more users, but the service still depends on active sharing to exist, and third-party apps are the key to providing users with something they want to talk about.