Twitter’s Platform head, Ryan Sarver, has warned third-party developers to avoid building apps that merely mimic the microblogging site's existing user interface.
"Twitter will provide the primary mainstream consumer client experience on phones, computers, and other devices," explained Sarver on a mailing list.
“Developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no,” he said.
Developers had a mixed reaction to the new guidelines, which came as Twitter pushes out its own iPhone, BlackBerry, iPad and Android apps, and tightens control over who has access to its application protocol interface (API).
Sarver said this was to standardise the Twitter experience, which had become fractured by some third party developers.
“We need to ensure that tweets, and tweet actions, are rendered in a consistent way so that people have the same experience with tweets no matter where they are.”
“If there are too many ways to use Twitter that are inconsistent with one another, we risk diffusing the user experience.”
He warned Twitter would continue to crack down on apps that violate its terms of service. The company showed it meant business last month, suspending UberMedia’s widely used UberTwitter for BlackBerry and twidroyd for Androids, allegedly for breaching its terms.
"Twitter will always be a platform on which a smart developer with a great idea and some cool technology can build a great company of his or her own," said Sarver.
Third party apps that Sarver pointed to that fit that profile included FourSquare, Instagram, SocialFlow, Mass Relevance, Seesmic and HootSuite.