The thing I like – really like – about the upcoming Twitter redesign is the way it turns the Twitter website back into something it should always have been: the best place to get the purest Twitter experience.
To date, Twitter’s website has always felt slightly weaker as an experience than some of the best Twitter apps out there, because it’s a website, and it’s had to make all the compromises a website has to make to be a website. The fact that Twitter had a full-fat API made it easy for independent developers to out-Twitter Twitter.
But I think one of the benefits of having a full-fat API is that it forces you to raise your own game. When we were discussing the API for guardian.co.uk that became, long after I left, the Open Platform, we always said it suggested that guardian.co.uk should not just be the place where you read the Guardian. It should be the best place to read the Guardian – the place that was more Guardian than anything else anyone might build. Sure, some people might build great apps around particular piece of content, but, by God, if people wanted the Guardian in the round there should only be one place for it.
(So, for instance, when Phil Gyford launched Today’s Guardian, I had an uncomfortable feeling that this might just be a better, more Guardian experience than guardian.co.uk. It isn’t, quite. But it very nearly is).
So, if you’ve got an API, make sure you’ve done the really difficult thing: being the best consumer of that API, the most creative, the most complete, the most robust, of anyone out there.