Twitter's Flock Developer Series & Hatch Contest: What You Need To Know

Chris CrumDeveloper

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Twitter is wooing developers more than ever in 2015. It's hard to believe, but the company only recently held its first-ever developer conference, Flight. The October event saw the unveiling of Twitter's Fabric developer kits and Digits sign-in.

There are three modular kits that address stability, distribution, revenue, and identity. Fabric combines services from Twitter itself, as well as its Crashlytics and MoPub offerings and other things. The Crashlytics kit is for stability, The Twitter kit is for distribution, and the MoPub kit is for integrating ads into apps. Digits is a phone number-based sign-in, and is part of the Twitter kit. More on all of that here.

Now, this year, Twitter is going on the road with a new developer event series called Flock.

The Flock Takes Flight

"Since we unveiled Fabric at our first mobile developer conference, many of you have started using the Kits to address some of the most common challenges facing app developers: stability, distribution, revenue and identity," says Jeff Sandquist, Head of Developer and Platform Relations at Twitter. "We hope to meet many more of you over the coming months, so we’re hitting the road on a worldwide tour we’re calling Flock. We believe the next great app can come from anywhere so we are going everywhere we can to help you learn how to use Fabric to build great apps."

Flock is to consist of two phases. The first one is a road trip across the U.S., which will see Twitter's team of developer advocates traveling in a Fabric bus from city to city to host meetups and seminars.

The second phase will see the team of Fabric engineers and developer advocates traveling around the world to host a series of half-day events. Here are all of the dates:

Los Angeles, CA: Jan. 21-25
Las Vegas, NV: Jan. 26-27
Denver/Boulder, CO: Jan. 28-31
Kansas City, MO: Feb. 1-4
St. Louis, MO: Feb. 5
Nashville, TN: Feb. 6-9
Chicago, IL: Feb. 10-11
Detroit, MI: Feb. 12-13
London: February 19
Berlin: February 26
New York City: March 11
Tokyo: Spring 2015
Seoul: Spring 2015
Hong Kong: Spring 2015
Shanghai: Spring 2015
Bangalore: Spring 2015
São Paulo: Spring 2015
Southern Hemisphere Autumn 2015

Fabric Gets Some Updates

Since Fabric launched at the October Flight conference, Twitter has made several updates to the kits. For one, they upgraded the beta distribution tool with share links and crash-to-tester identification. This was announced in December. Share links enable you to create onboarding links for each build and invite testers through various media.

"Within your share link dashboard, you can manage all your links in one place — with complete control over who can access your builds," explained Jason St. Pierre on the Crashlytics blog. "Share a public link with the press or your investors, or create a private link for internal dogfooding by setting domain restrictions. We also automatically point your internal links to the latest build so your testers can always access the latest from one reliable place."

"No need to worry about manually adding new testers either!" he added. "With share links, you can automatically assign new testers to a group when they sign up via your link. This ensures that everyone will receive your updates in the future, as soon as you send them out. On top of that, you can now create specific groups ahead of time based on where you plan to post your links. Organizing testers have never been easier."

The crash-to-tester functionality lets you instantly identify the tester who experienced a specific crash from within your crash reports. You can then immediately contact testers for feedback and work with them to reproduce the issue at hand.

Twitter also added a new self-service app installs tracking feature called Answers. This is available for free as part of Fabric. It provides real-time, optimized app analytics.

“Answers gave us the analytics to track thousands of installs for free from our mobile app promotion campaigns and helped us meet our cost-per-acquisition goals," said Greg Schwartz co-founder & CEO of calendar app UpTo.

"We love having the free mobile measurement solution from Fabric to track both app installs driven by our users sharing content on Twitter, as well as app installs we drove through Twitter Ads," said Path marketing manager Ana Larue. "This solution gave us the visibility to track the 100,000+ installs we drove via Twitter in November."

Organic installs measured by Answers are available in Card Analytics.

Last month, Twitter also launched theming support for Digits. This lets you make Digits blend into your iOS and Android apps.

"We understand how crucial your app’s sign-in experience is to growing and retaining your user base," said Digits engineer Israel Camacho. "Digits can already be launched from any button anywhere within your app to optimize that experience. Now, with theming support, you can match Digits exactly to your app’s ambience so the Digits sign-in flow looks indistinguishable from your app. The look and feel of your background, call-to-action button and select text are all customizable."

Finally, in the MoPub Kit, Twitter shipped support for MRAID 2.0 and specification to enable rich media ads in banners and interstitial ad units.

Expect to learn how to get more out of all of this stuff at the Flock events.

The Hatch Contest

Along with the Flock developer event series, Twitter just announced a new contest for startups called Hatch. With this, the company is calling on developers to tell them about their apps, and they'll pick a winner, who will get meetings with Twitter execs as well as opportunities to meet with potential investors. They'll also get some funding cash. There will be ten finalists, who will fly to San Francisco to present their startup ideas at the first annual Hatch Gala in July. Here's a look at the prizes and what it takes to be eligible:

Submissions for Hatch are open now. The deadline is June 5, which will be followed by the first round of judging beginning on June 8, and the second round on June 15. The finalists will be announced on June 22, and the finalist event in San Francisco will take place on a date in July to be announced.

Image via Twitter

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.