Twitter launches app tool to mend developer relations

Twitter is attempting to mend its strained relations with developers by launching Bootstrap, an open-source app-development tool. Originally created as an internal tool to create coding uniformity across Twitter’s apps, Bootstrap aims to enable developers to quickly create web-based apps compatible across many different browsers. Twitter is seeking to create greater uniformity across its vast ecosystem as it attempts to shore up its business amid murmurings of a possible IPO in 2012. There are reportedly more than 1m third-party apps related to Twitter, created by more than 750,000 developers.

Bootstrap arrives a month after the launch of Twitter's developer portal, aimed at creating a more centralised platform for third-party developers. Powered by Drupal, the network offers a discussion forum and a blog that will include API announcements, events and tips, as well as an updated app manager and improved search functions. Twitter engineer, Mark Otto, is calling on developers in a blog post to assist in developing the platform further, decreasing Bootstrap's online footprint while increasing its capabilities.

Relations between the microblogging website and developers have been fraught of late as Twitter attempts to gain more control over its "fragmented" ecosystem. Twitter's director of platform, Ryan Sarver, warned third-party developers not to create any more Twitter clients that make use of its timeline and tweet output, claiming that it is "not a good long-term business". Sarver's comments prompted co-founder Biz Stone to clarify the situation amid a developer backlash, telling the BBC: "The question for developers to ask themselves is how they can best serve the users." It is thought that Bootstrap will also assist develop a standard among Twitter apps, key in the firm's mission to create a more consistent user experience across the various platforms from which people can access the service.

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