Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Twitter triggers return to IFTTT

Screenshot showing a Twitter trigger on ifttt

Cast your mind back to last year when Twitter announced new rules for access to its API. Following this announcement, you may remember that IFTTT removed all of the triggers from its Twitter channel, thus making it ‘write only’. In other words, you could use IFTTT to post tweets about anything on other supported IFTTT services, but you couldn’t use content already on Twitter to trigger an action on another service. Well, now they’re back.

The main reason for this was the new requirement for how tweets are displayed outside of Twitter. Twitter mandated that any app which displays a tweet must also include reply, favourite and retweet buttons, as well as the handle of the Twitter user that posted the tweet. As IFTTT enabled all sorts of things involving the content of tweets there was no way it could comply with these visual guidelines.

Now, Twitter triggers are back. Well, some of them are. There are now four triggers – any new tweet by you, any new tweet by you with a particular hashtag, any tweet by you that contains an URL, and any tweet that you favourite. What you’ll notice about these is that three of these four only relate to tweets that you yourself have created. Only one applies to other peoples’ tweets, which is when you favourite them, but what you will notice when creating any recipes with this trigger is that you can’t embed the raw content of the tweet – only its URL, the code needed to embed the tweet or other metadata,

In other words, the majority of the re-introduced Twitter triggers on IFTTT relate to your own content – which, because it is your content, mean that you can do what you want with it. The other one, which could be used on any tweet, is limited in functionality.

I assume that IFTTT has been able to clarify its position with Twitter over the last 11 months and has come to a compromise. It’s still in compliance with Twitter’s new guidelines, but can allow its users to do cool things with their tweets – and the tweets of others, to a limited extent. Whilst I hope that more triggers will come in future (such as any new tweet with a particular hashtag), today’s announcement is a step in the right direction.

Yay, socks from @ifttt ! Thanks guys!

On a tangentially-related note, the lovely people at IFTTT sent me a pair of socks as a thank-you for beta-testing their iPhone app. Thanks guys!

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