Need to Fetch User Timeline Without User Authentication


My iPhone app (FRC Tracker) fetches data from a Twitter timeline (@frcfms) to get real time data on a series of 83 robotics competitions (FIRST Robotics Competition, aka FRC) played around the world in the spring of each year. For the last four years, I’ve been able to read this data without requiring my users to have Twitter accounts.

The FIRST organization uses the twitter feed to share this data around the world. This data is publicly available to anyone via a browser: Likewise, using the v1 Twitter API, my app can access that data stream without requiring anything from my users. My app has been updated to use max_id and since_id to efficiently fetch the latest results.

The release notes for the v1.1 API say that certain endpoints will be allowed to use application-only authentication in “the following weeks.” It seems like the user timelines for public Twitter account would be a highly desirable candidate for this type of access.

Now, v1 is set to be disabled on March 10th, but there’s apparently no way to get this publicly-available information via the v1.1 API. At this point, it seems like my options are:

  • Encourage FIRST to stop using Twitter for broadcasting live competition results.
  • Scrape the @frcfms timeline web page.
  • Drop Twitter support for my app.
  • Limit my userbase to people who have Twitter accounts.
  • Create and host a service to rebroadcast those Tweets.

None of these are appealing. Is there some method by which my app can read this public timeline via an official API?

Best regards,

Tom Saxton