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The great Twitter takeover: How your favorite apps are putting Fabric to work

Caitlin McGarry | Oct. 29, 2014
Twitter has long had an uneasy relationship with developers who want to tap into the network's wealth of information to make their own apps better. (See: the 2012 API changes.) But the company's new suite of tools, called Fabric, is designed to do just that: it offers Twitter's crash analytics tool, access to Twitter's mobile ad network, and a kit full of ways to put Twitter itself at the heart of any iOS or Android app.

Twitter has long had an uneasy relationship with developers who want to tap into the network's wealth of information to make their own apps better. (See: the 2012 API changes.) But the company's new suite of tools, called Fabric, is designed to do just that: it offers Twitter's crash analytics tool, access to Twitter's mobile ad network, and a kit full of ways to put Twitter itself at the heart of any iOS or Android app.

The network opened its Twitter kit to developers ahead of launching Fabric last week. Already tens of thousands of developers around the world are using the tools, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said during Monday's third-quarter earnings call. Early launch partners are putting the new tools to good use, reaching more than a billion iOS and Android users already, Costolo said. So what does an app looked like all decked out in Fabric? 

Turning weddings into trending topics

Kind of like Zola, a wedding registry app for iOS that was looking to Twitter for help building out new social features.

Since launching last year, Zola has drawn more than 30,000 couple who have registered for wedding gifts and honeymoon trips. Those couples have hundreds of friends and relatives as guests at their wedding — so basically, a lot of people have used Zola to prep for a wedding. But CEO and cofounder Shan-Lyn Ma wanted couples and their guests to use Zola after the wedding, too. So the app's team used Fabric's Twitter kit to pull hashtagged tweets and photos into the app for easy viewing.

All Zola's couples have to do is create a wedding hashtag before the big day and tell all their friends. Then they sign in to the app with Twitter after the fact to relive the experience. Zola's developers hooked into Fabric to enable Twitter sign-in and communication with Twitter's API. The result: A stream filled with candid photos and hilarious tweets from wedding guests that the happy couples might've otherwise missed.

"At Zola, our focus is on how we can provide innovative ways using design and technology for couples to really personalize and showcase their passions around their wedding," Ma told Macworld. "Wedding hashtags are a growing trend across all social channels, so we wanted to find a way to easily pull those tweets and images into a single place our couples could see in the Zola app. By lucky coincidence, we learned [Twitter was] working on a way to make this use case simple."

And it was super simple, she said, taking just days instead of weeks to build out the new feature, which was ready at Twitter's Fabric launch last Wednesday. Following the Twitter hashtag integration, Zola added Instagram to its wedding stream. After taking a look at Fabric's other tools, Ma said Zola will adopt Crashlytics.

 

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