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Relying on a third party to build your application

muyiwa profile image Muyiwa Olu Originally published at muyiwa.me on ・1 min read

ProTube, a popular YouTube alternative application with extra useful features, announced today that it was removed from the App Store after multiple requests from YouTube

As a consumer and developer of software, I’ve always been weary of spending money on applications that rely on a third party for the majority of their functionality. Ever since Twitter U-Turned on third-party developers by severely restricting their API usage, much to the outrage of the developer community, I learnt not to:

  1. Build any meaningful application on top of a third-party that paying them to build applications on top of their stack (free API or not) isn’t their primary or intended use case.
  2. Purchase or invest in applications built on top of a third-party where paying for building on top of their stack isn’t their primary or intended use case.

It seems ProTube learnt that lesson the hard way today, which is a shame because everything I’ve heard about the app was positive, and the developer seems like a nice person, too. I just couldn’t justify purchasing something I normally wouldn’t think twice about because I thought YouTube would come for it sooner, rather than later.

It looks like Jonas agrees:

I don’t know what my next project will be (although I can say it will not be an app that depends on a 3rd party 😑)

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Muyiwa Olu

@muyiwa

Technology geek, curious human, and fan of the Oxford comma.

Discussion

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I'm so happy there's still several Twitter-Clients out there. Their own clients are full of ads and polls and whatnot. The 3rd-party-apps still give you your normal chronologic timelines, and are able to show Instagram-Images. Let's hope it will stay that way.

Using Tweetbot on Mac and Flamingo on Android btw.

 

I agree. Third party applications allow you to get a different flavour that a first party may not offer, and with so many services these days putting things in front of you algorithmically, it's so refreshing to see third party applications like Tweetbot (I use Twitteriffic) which allow simpler and more obvious views, such as a chronological timeline.

The problem is with Twitter and similar services. If Twitter decides to stop supporting these third party applications for any reason (such as they don't make ad revenue from them, or can't justify supporting an external API), then there's not a lot the third parties can do. They're at the mercy of a company who aren't incentivised to support them if they decide they don't help them reach their bottom line.

Tweetbot and Twitterrific are special cases since they have a strong relationship with Twitter, which has allowed them to get a large number of user tokens, however other third party applications weren't so lucky.

The main point I was trying to make with the article was that if a company's primary or intended use-case is not aligned with supporting third-party applications, building on top of that company's API may come back to bite you, as the developer of ProTube sadly experienced first hand.