Twitter has unveiled a new platform, called Fabric, to allow developers to build better apps.
The announcement shows the company’s greater push to integrate with more apps. Since Twitter went public in 2013, it’s been criticized for not growing as fast as expected. The move to work more closely with developers aims to change that and get them closer to where they want to be.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced the new free platform to help developers scale and monetize apps during its Twitter Flight conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. Early partners include McDonald’s, The Wall Street Journal, Spotify and Jawbone. While attendees of the conference will have access to Twitter Fabric sometime today, it will be rolled out to the greater developer community “over the next few days.”
Fabric, which Costolo called “the future of mobile software,” will let developers focus on users and growing that database, so companies can focus on their core mission and not spend so much time fixing crashes and overcoming common challenges. Twitter will be using tools from Crashlytics, which the company acquired in 2013, and MoPub, a mobile ad management firm it also acquired in 2013, to help developers manage these issues.
The platform consists of three Kits that address some of the major issues faced by developers, such as stability, distribution, and revenue and identity.
Twitter Fabric will give developers crash reports aggregated by and ranked by importance. According to Crashlytics founder Jeff Seibert during the presentation, the industry is becoming more tolerant of crashes and this can ruin businesses. In addition to giving developers access to what’s happening behind the scenes with crashes, there is a greater push for cross-platform compatibility.
“The goal is to build products that are exactly the same on both platforms,” he said. A native Twitter SDK for developers if coming to both iOS and Android.
Once an app is working, strong content is needed to keep users engaged and keep coming back for more, Twitter said. Among the Fabric features to enable users to do so include the ability to embed tweets in an app with just a few lines of code. If an app has a different aesthetic, it’s possible to control the colors and appearance of it within the app, too.
Twitter also teased an entirely new native mobile signup to make signups “frictionless.” Users will be able to add a “Sign In with Twitter” function to apps, with also one line of code.
It also launched a tool called Digits, which lets users log into apps with just your phone number — taking away the need for a password. To register for the process, users tap in their phone number,their home country and wait for Twitter to send an SMS message for confirmation.
For example, McDonald’s is using Digits to get new app users — if one user sends a coupon for a free coffee to a friend and get that user (not necessarily an app user) to engage with the app and McDonald’s.
Digits will come to iOS and Android and also the web. It launches today in 216 countries and 28 countries.
Meanwhile, MoPub will also make it easier for developers to put native ads within apps.
Twitter Flight is the company’s first mobile developer conference. The agenda is largely focused on app development and what it can offer other apps rather than Twitter as a consumer product.
For more information on Twitter Fabric, click here.