Twitter Delays OAuth Migration

High traffic loads from the World Cup will push Twitter's total switch to its new authentication technology to August.
Because of the record load it is experiencing from the World Cup, Twitter will delay its total switch to OAuth, nicknamed the OAuthcalypse, until August 16.

"As you've all probably noticed, with the World Cup going on, Twitter is experiencing record load. We want to make sure that you all have calm waters to test your new codebases where you're not dealing with whales, robots, and whatnot," wrote Raffi Krikorian, a member of the Twitter Platform Team, in a company blog last night. "With the World Cup ending on July 11th, you will all have over a month's time of calm waters and site stability to finish the switch over."

OAuth technology enables applications to access Twitter on a user's behalf without asking directly for a password, providing more security, usability, and accountability, according to Twitter. Some developers already have moved to OAuth, and the deadline extension to Aug. 16 from the original switch-over date of June 30 gives providers more time to test and integrate their offerings, Twitter said.

"With the vast majority of media providers already switched over to OAuth Echo, you now also have an additional month of time to work out your integrations with them," said Krikorian.

On Aug. 16, Twitter will ramp-down the rate limits on basic authentication by roughly 10 calls per hour per day, ending on Aug. 31, he wrote.

"On the 31st, you won't be allowed to make any other basic [authentication] calls. In other words, if you don't do anything, you'll get more and more frequent rate limit errors as you approach August 31st," Krikorian said. "Starting on August 31st, any basic [authentication] request will get [an] HTTP 403 response back."

June has been a month of trials and tribulations for the microblogging site. Yesterday, Twitter continued to report problems, stating the site was "recovering" at 22:59 PST on June 17, according to the most recent update on the Twitter status site. About 30 minutes earlier, Twitter reported the site was unavailable.

So far, Twitter's seen a June uptime rate of 98.62% -- and the system has been down for 5 hours, 23 minutes -- according to Pingdom. In May 2010, however, the site had 99.88% uptime and was down for only 52 minutes, Pingdom said.

"From a site stability and service outage perspective, it's been Twitter's worst month since last October," said Sean Garrett, VP of communications, in a company blog. "Record traffic and unprecedented spikes in activity are never simple to manage. However, we were well aware of the likely impact of the World Cup. What we didn't anticipate was some of the complexities that have been inherent in fixing and optimizing our systems before and during the event."