Developers who built applications for Twitter and generate money from them have been hard-hit by the micro-blogging service's many hours of downtime in the past day, as hackers pummel Twitter with an ongoing denial-of-service attack.
Although the site's functionality for end-users has been fairly stable on Friday after a lengthy outage Thursday, that's not the case for third-party applications that use the Twitter API (application programming interface).
[ Related: "Twitter still struggling to recover from DOS attack." | Learn how to secure your systems with Roger Grimes' Security Adviser blog and Security Central newsletter, both from InfoWorld. ]
Twitter acknowledged on Friday afternoon that some of the defensive measures it has taken to deal with the attack have negatively impacted third-party applications and thus the developers who created them.
TweetLater.com, which provides productivity tools to more than 100,000 Twitter users, came to a "virtual standstill" on Thursday and was operating in a scaled-back mode on Friday.
"We had to pause all Twitter account automation processes, and at time of writing those processes are still paused because the API is still actively refusing high-volume API calls," TweetLater owner Dewald Pretorius said via e-mail. "Our service makes in excess of 40 API calls per second, 24 by 7, during normal operations, and Twitter is still not allowing that type of volume while they are recovering from the attack."
Twitter could have done a much better job of communicating with the developer community, said Andrew Badera, president and CEO of Higher Efficiency, an IT consulting and software development company that has built several Twitter applications.
"The outreach was fair to poor," he said in an e-mail interview. While Twitter focused on providing updates about the performance problems affecting end-users, it was late in addressing specific issues with its developer platform, Badera said.
"Twitter worried about their infrastructure first, as was proper, then the media, before ever bothering to talk to the developer community in any fashion. And if it weren't for the third party ecosystem that has sprung up around Twitter, Twitter wouldn't have blown up the way it did, and the media wouldn't care about Twitter to begin with," Badera said.
Developer Jonathan Griggs calls the external application problems on Thursday and Friday "extremely disruptive" to his Twitcaps.com application, a real-time search engine for Twitter photos.
"The functionality of Twitcaps depends solely upon its ability to frequently -- once every several seconds -- poll the Twitter Search API for new results. Without that ability, no new images are coming into the site and it is no longer effectively 'real-time' in nature. Also, ad-hoc user searches are completely non-functional beyond what my application has previously cached," Griggs said via e-mail.
Griggs was also unhappy with the Twitter outreach to developers. "They gave us no warning that they would be throttling and blocking applications, and they gave us no direction for what we should do," he said.