What Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover Means for Developers
One story has dominated the headlines this week: Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. But what does it mean from a developer point of view? The Twitter development team put up a blog post this week claiming that its mission “to build an open developer platform that serves the public conversation” has not changed after the acquisition news. But the post seemed to be aimed more at Musk than the developer community, with statements like “our roadmap remains the same, and our dedication to our developer community is unwavering” sounding like a plea to the new boss. Please don’t make us turn off the API firehose again!
WHO DID THIS pic.twitter.com/M7mIOr1hLm
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) April 25, 2022
Bear in mind the uphill battle Twitter has had to convince developers to build on its platform again, after the betrayals of yesteryear. Twitter’s Amir Shevat (Head of Product, Developer Platform) sounded a little nervous about the situation in this tweet:
You know something is happening when your keyboard autocorrect automatically suggests “crazy times”.
— Amir Shevat (@ashevat) April 25, 2022
Another intriguing question is what will happen to Twitter’s Bluesky project, the non-profit initiative Twitter launched in 2019 to create an open and decentralized version of itself. The Bluesky Twitter account went into thread-mode this week to address this question, given what it termed “the surge of interest in Twitter’s future.” It went on to stress that Bluesky was an “independent company” that “is owned by the team itself, without any controlling stake held by Twitter.” Whew! That’s a relief then. Wait… it’s a company?! So it’s possible that it too could eventually be bought by Musk? Yes, but regardless, as Bluesky CEO Jay Graber tweeted this week, “we need protocols, not platforms.” And open protocols are what Bluesky is dedicated to building.
Elon is just testing the limits of what he can get away with in this reality to see if it is, in fact, a simulation.
— Jay Graber (@arcalinea) April 26, 2022
It should also be noted that Bluesky is still very early in its development. In an update post earlier this month, before the Musk news came out, the team noted, “We’ve started writing code to validate ideas and iterate on something concrete, but everything is still fully experimental.”
This Week in Development
State of Frontend 2022 Report
The Software House has released its State of Frontend 2022 report, based on a survey of 3,703 developers. No surprise that React came out on top in the “most used and liked” frameworks, although Angular has taken a step back (and was also ranked the highest in “most used and disliked). Svelte and Remix were rated the two most promising frameworks for the future.
Elon Musk is buying Twitter.
— Horse JS (@horse_js) April 26, 2022
Finally, for deployment of apps, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is now top-ranked, replacing “my own / client’s server” since 2020. The big mover though was Vercel, which has now drawn equal to Netlify in popularity.
React 18.1.0 and Counting the Kilobytes
The latest version of React was released this week, 18.1.0. It appears to be mostly a bug fix of v18.0, released at the end of last month. Microsoft’s Alex Russell (spoiler alert, he’s not a fan of React) did the math:
Just checked and React grew another 3K in the last release (43.4K -> 46.4K, concat + gzip).
LitElement still hanging out at 7K (or 11K for all the extras). lit-html (just reactivity) is *3K*.
Stencil is < 2K of runtime.
Y’all are paying too damn much for the basics. https://t.co/NJj6ggehma
— Alex Russell (@slightlylate) April 27, 2022
Fosstodon Overrun by Twitter Migrants
Fosstodon, a Mastodon-based community “of like-minded people who enjoy Free & Open Source Software (FOSS),” says that it was “effectively DDoS’d by Twitter migrants following Elon’s purchase of Twitter.”
“Because we’re one of the biggest technology focussed instances on the Fediverse, a lot of people requested an account on Fosstodon,” the community blog complained this week.
The “fediverse” is a growing federation of social media protocols and products that use open standards to interconnect. “We managed to prevent Fosstodon from falling over,” continued the blog post, “but to do that, we have had to triple the capacity of the server and our hosting fees have risen from $90/month to $220/month. This means that our usual 6-month float of funding has reduced to around 3 months.”
Mastodon is bit by bit becoming the new de facto place for FOSS stuff. I’ve been interested in Mastodon for several years but had mostly resigned to it being niche with everyone on Twitter. So glad to see traction here!https://t.co/MeT55zYBSE
— Scott Williams 🐧 (@vwbusguy) April 28, 2022
It goes to show that running a social network at scale is never easy, but good on Fosstodon for welcoming all its new users with open arms.
W3C Wins an Emmy
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Fonts Working Group has won a 2021 Emmy award, “for standardizing font technology for custom downloadable fonts and typography for web and TV devices.” It’s the third time the W3C has won an Emmy in the ‘Technical and Engineering’ category over the past seven years. In 2016, it won for the Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) standard “that helps ensure that the needs of people with disabilities, particularly people who are deaf or hard of hearing, are addressed,” and it won again in 2018 for “enabling a Full TV Experience on the Web, bringing videos to the Web with HTML5.”
Accepting the 73rd Technology & Engineering Emmy award on behalf of the W3C WebFonts WG pic.twitter.com/sLgeGN5E6B
— Chris Lilley (@svgeesus) April 26, 2022
Dev Tweet of the Week
A bit of earworm to end the week. Who knows where all you Twitter escapees will end up…
MySpace, who can tell
Tumblr let’s have a look
Twitter’s on the lam again.
And the list goes on and on
🎶We didn’t start the fire🎶
— J. Dianne Dotson (@jdiannedotson) April 26, 2022