Thursday, July 22, 2010

[WP7Dev] Why there's no built in integration for Twitter and the people hub

Warning: This post is speculative and my own assumptions. It is not based on any inside knowledge.

When people hear that (in addition to Windows Phone 7 only currently supports Facebook as an integrated information store. They often wonder why there's no built in Twitter support/integration with the people hub.

I'm not aware of an official reason, but as the question seems to come up so frequently I thought I'd document my thoughts on possible reasons.

1.  To preserve battery life
This is the most obvious reason I can think of. If you're following hundreds of people all around the world and they're tweeting regularly that can be dozens of updates every minute. (If not more!)  All those updates will soon add up to lots of network traffic, processing to handle them and space to store them. Then there's the issue of propogating the most important ones to the users attention. These are issues that I think are better solved by third parties, thereby leaving Microsoft free to focus on other parts of the OS.

2. Because everyone else is doing it
My next thought is based on the fact that everyone and his dog seems to be building a twitter client themselves. For many this seems to have become the new "Hello World" app. With so many other apps already in existence and each offering different features, having something built in at best would lead to duplication or at worst could stifle innovation by causing people to not create something new when part of the functionality is already on the phone. Having to deal with the moving target that is the Twitter API can also be an issue.  If it introduced any new breaking changes or major changes it'd be tough

All that aside, I have heard reports that Microsoft are talking with Twitter about how integration could work in the future.


  1. I don't so much mind too much the lack of native Twitter support as the fact that it won't integrate very well with the workflow. I really liked the way they showed how well things flowed from idea to camera to post to facebook to commenting on something else and so on. It was really cool seeing how well things just flowed - no impediments, no breaking out of process to start a new app to do something different. If I take a picture, I can immediately send to facebook. However, if I take that same picture and want to send to (e.g.) Twitpic, I have to completely break out of process for that.

    I can kind of see the remote storage and changing API problems. That would be annoying. I don't necessarily agree w/ preserving battery life, but mainly because you can configure how often to get updates. If you choose real-time polling, you should be warned that your battery life can likely be measured in minutes rather than days. :)

    I'd love to see a good workflow for a Twitter app that just "feels" integrated into the WP7 experience. That's the biggest lack to me.

    I saw something similar about MS chatting w/ Twitter. I hope something good can come of that. Native Twitter support is far more important to me than native FB support.

  2. Peter
    With regard to Twitter and photo integration as part of a workflow. This could quite easily be done with a Photo Extra application.

    Yes hopefully native support will come in the future. I suspect that as there are more Facbook users than Twitter users (globally). Plus Microsoft own a piece of Facebook. That's probably why that is there first.

  3. Good point. I'd forgotten about the MS / Facebook deal. Still hoping for better Twitter support in the not-too-distant future. The lack of this on Day 1 kind of surprised me.

    Looking forward to seeing what devs do w/ Twitter apps. I haven't played w/ the Zune app so can't say if it's good or bad.


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