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WordPress Plugin Developer Case Study: Social Sharing Plugin

I was brought onboard by SlickRemix as a WordPress plugin developer to update the code for their social media WordPress plugin, "Feed Them Social".

JavaScript JavaScript
WordPress WordPress

Feed Them Social – Powering Up The Social Experience

Feed Them Social is a plugin which allows a site developer or owner to embed a live feed of posts from the major social media networks – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (now `X`) and YouTube.

In February 2023, Twitter decided to shut down its free API service tier and replace it with a much more expensive version.

This unfortunately meant for SlickRemix (and many, many other WordPress plugin developers and app creators) it would potentially become unviable to continue using the Twitter API to provide content to their end-users.

Assessing The Requirements

With that in mind, I was asked to explore the following:

  • Whether we could keep the existing Twitter functionality, given the changes to Twitter’s API and terms of service.
  • If not, what the alternatives would be.
  • What code changes would be needed to work with the new Twitter API v2.0.

With my many years of experience as a WordPress plugin developer, I was in a strong position to figure this out and deliver on the project requirements and got to work sifting through the code to identify what needed to be updated and how.

I was brought on as a WordPress plugin developer to work on Feed Them Social
I was brought on as a WordPress plugin developer to work on Feed Them Social

Digging Into The Details

The results were initially reassuring.

It appeared that it would be possible to adjust the plugin to accomodate the $100 “Basic” paid tier, allowing plugin subscribers to continue utilising the API funcitonality, for a cost.

This was possible because the Basic tier allows for up to 10,000 “read” actions to be carried out through the Twitter API per month.

This sounds like a decent quota and for many hobbyist WordPress plugin developers, would suffice for basic functionality.

In our case though, we needed to make sure that 10,000 reads would be enough for what we needed.

Working Around Limitations

10,000 read actions per month would be sufficient for the Twitter feed portion of Feed Them Social to continue operating, as long as the site owner had an active API subscription.

Unfortunately, due to the high costs involved for Feed Them Social‘s end-users, potentially only affordable by higher-end business users, it was decided that the Twitter feed portion of the plugin would be placed on hiatus until such time that it becomes viable once again to work with the Twitter API, hopefully in the form of more affordable API tiers.

However, I was still able to spend time exploring the new version of the Twitter API, implementing the new functionality to allow for users to log in using an OAuth 2.0 flow as well as reading posts and all relevant metadata from a user’s Twitter timeline

This was a great learning opportunity and a chance to explore the potential (or lack of) in Twitter’s new API offering from the perspective of a WordPress plugin developer.

Sadly, despite extensive research no options remained open to us. But the Feed Them Social plugin still works great with the other major social networks.

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About the author

Robin is the dedicated developer behind Solarise.dev. With years of experience in web development, he's committed to delivering high-quality solutions and ensuring websites run smoothly. Always eager to learn and adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape, Robin believes in the power of collaboration and sharing knowledge. Outside of coding, he enjoys diving into tech news and exploring new tools in the industry.

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