Viticci On Twitter Apps And Twitter Cards

10 December 2014

MacStories:

Twitter Cards aren’t available to third-party clients over the API, which has forced Tweetbot and Twitterrific to come up with their own custom integrations to display tweet previews for web content. The result is that the timeline shown in these two clients will look different and out of place after you get used to the richness of previews in the Twitter app.

This isn’t completely true. Twitter Cards are implemented through metadata tags in the website source. All the information for cards are described by this information. The Twitter app crawls the linked URL to strip out this info and displays it as a ‘card’.

Whilst the Twitter API won’t expose the formatted data inline, there’s nothing stopping third-parties from crawling URLs themselves and accessing the same information. With a little bit of work, Tweetbot could mirror the ‘cards’ functionality 1:1. Twitter might balk at it but I haven’t seen anyone toe the line yet to find out. I don’t think there is a rule (yet) that prevents it.