Sad news for Twitter – it seems that the developers of some Twitter clients are turning their gaze and attention to another upstart platform, Mastodon. Could this be because of the changing of policies, such as Twitter quietly updating its developer policies to ban third-party clients from its platform, since Elon Musk’s takeover? 

Mastodon is a decentralized social network comprised of independent servers organized around specific themes, interests, or topics. 

Recently, Tapbots, the studio behind Tweetbot, launched Ivory, a Mastodon client which is based on its longtime Twitter app.

Not only that. Matteo Villa, the developer behind Fenix, another Twitter app, is testing a Mastodon client of his own called Wooly.

Also, Junyu Kuang, the independent developer behind Twitter client Spring, is working on a Mastodon app called Mona. 

Moreover, Shihab Mehboob, developer of another Twitter app, Aviary, is soon about to launch another Mastodon client called Mammoth. 

These one-time Twitter developers are joining an interestingly growing group of indie app makers who are beginning to embrace Mastodon, which has seen explosive growth since Musk took over Twitter. 

This decentralized social network now has over 1.5 million users across nearly 10,000 servers. That, together with Mastodon’s open-source, “API-first” approach, has attracted several developers eager to put their own spin and take on the service. 

One of the developers of Tweetbot and Ivory, Paul Haddad, said Tapbots began working on a Mastodon client late in 2022 as they started to grow nervous about the future of Twitter’s developer platform. 

“They [Twitter] had absolutely been making huge strides and opening up their API platform, but clients like ours were always going to be second- or third-class citizens,” Haddad to the media. “Whereas with Mastodon, that’s absolutely not the case.”

Furthermore, Thomas Ricouard, the developer behind Ice Cubes, another Mastodon app that launched earlier this month, said he had considered creating an app using Twitter’s API before but decided against it because it was “looking more and more limited as the days passed.”

Simultaneously, he said he noticed fewer and fewer familiar faces on his Twitter feed. 

“Loving open source software, I quickly saw the opportunity [for Mastodon],” Ricouard said.

It was on January 19th when Ice Cubes launched in the App Store, and it has already gained the praise of many reviewers and has several contributors on GitHub. To tell you, even Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, who has been more active on Mastodon lately, also uses the app.

On its part, the decentralized social network has welcomed developer interest despite it maintaining its own mobile apps. 

Mastodon founder and CEO Eugen Rochko spoke to the media, saying, “It’s exciting because it means that a lot of very talented people are investing their time and resources into building on the platform and ecosystem that we have built up. Third party applications are incredibly valuable for a platform because that’s where the power users go … it benefits everybody because the power users are the people who create the content that everybody reads.”

Contributions from developers also have the potential to influence the platform’s direction itself. Just as Twitter’s earliest developers had an enormous impact on the service, some developers are now seeing an opportunity to similarly influence Mastodon – like how they did on Twitter.

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