4 Things You Need To Know About Migrating to Version 1.1 of the Twitter API

Access to Twitter data through their API has been evolving since its inception. Last September, Twitter announced their most recent changes which will take effect this coming March 5. These changes make enhancements to feed delivery, while further limiting the amount of Tweets you can get from the public Twitter API.

The old API was version 1.0 and the new one is version 1.1. If your business or app relies on Twitter’s public API, you may be asking yourself “What’s new in Twitter API 1.1?” or “What changed in Twitter API 1.1?” While there’s not much new, a lot has changed and there are several steps you need to take to ensure that you’re still able to access Twitter data after March 5th.

1. OAuth Connection Required
In Twitter API 1.1, access to the API requires authentication using OAuth. To get your Twitter OAuth token, you’ll need to fill out this form.  Note that rate limits will be applied on a per-endpoint, per-OAuth token basis and distributing your requests among multiple IP addresses will not work anymore as a workaround. Requests to the API without OAuth authorization will not return data and will receive a HTTP 410 Gone response.

2. 80% Less Data
In version 1.0, the rate limit on the Twitter Search API was 1 request per second. In Twitter API 1.1, that changes to 1 request per every 5 seconds. A more stark way to put this is that previously you could make 3600 requests/hour but you are now limited to 720 requests/hour for Twitter data. Combined with the existing limits to the number of results returned per request, it will be much more difficult to consume the volume or levels of data coverage you could previously through the Twitter API. If the new rate limit is an issue, you can get full coverage commercial grade Twitter access through Gnip which isn’t subject to rate limits.

3. New Endpoint URLs
Twitter API 1.1 also has new endpoint URLs that you will need to direct your application to in order to access the data. If you try to access the old endpoints, you won’t receive any data and will receive a HTTP 410 Gone response.

4. Hello JSON. Goodbye XML.
Twitter has changed the format in which the data is delivered. In version 1.0 of the Twitter API, data was delivered in XML format. Twitter API 1.1 delivers data in JSON format only. Twitter has been slowly transitioning away from XML starting with the Streaming API and Trend API.  Going forward, all APIs will be using JSON and not XML. The Twitter JSON API is a great step forward as JSON has a much wider standardization than XML does.

All in all, some pretty impactful changes.  If you’re looking for more information, we’ve provided some links below with more details.  If you’re interested in getting full coverage commercial grade access to Twitter data where rate limits are a thing of the past, check out the details of Gnip’s Twitter offerings.  We have a variety of Twitter products, including realtime coverage and volume streams, as well as access to the entire archive of historical Tweets.

Update: Twitter has recently announced that the Twitter REST API v1.0 will officially retire on May 7, 2013. Between now and then they will continue to run blackout tests and those who have not migrated will see interrupted coverage so migrating as soon as possible is highly encouraged.

Helpful Links
Version 1.0 Retirement Post
Version 1.0 Retirement Final Dates
Changes coming in Twitter API 1.1
OAuth Application Form
REST API Version 1.1 Resources
Twitter API 1.1 FAQ
Twitter API 1.1 Discussion
Twitter Error Code Responses