A blog probably of interest only to nerds by John Morton.

09Feb2018

Keeping up with the Instagram API

On January 30, 2018, Instagram posted a deprecation notice for The Instagram API Platform. There is a newer API called the Instagram Graph API. The newer API’s focus is for businesses, not individual accounts though.

This is the 2nd major change made to the API. The first major change was in November 2015. If you’re curious, here’s the announcment. The changes introduced a new app review process and limited 3rd party access to the API.

At that time I had a plugin for both ExpressionEngine and Craft CMS called Pic Puller that helped developers create their own Instagram apps and use the full Instagram API which was then integrated into their CMS.

The Instagram app review process and restrictions to API led me to stop development of Pic Puller entirely. Since Pic Puller at that point helped people make their own app I felt that the requirements of the review process placed too much of a burden on the users of Pic Puller. I didn’t want people to buy my add on and then need to go through the app review process and then have the potential for an unapproved app. That scenario felt to me like placing too big of a burden on my users to justify keeping Pic Puller alive.

After several submissions of my own to the Instagram review team, I finally received approval for an API key for Pic Puller which lead me to a complete rewrite of the plugin so that all users would use the Instagram app authorization I’d received. For this new version of Pic Puller I focused solely on Craft CMS. Expression Engine had transitioned from EE2 to EE3 during that period and I had not been using it enough to keep current with how it was changing.

The most recent major announcement by Instagram on January 30, 2018 means the v1 API is going away entirely.

The access Pic Puller has is the "basic" level of access. This allows Instagram users, both personal accounts and business accounts, to access their own media they have created. According to the deprication notice, the "basic" access to the v1 will continue to work until "early 2020." That means Pic Puller in its current form will work until then as well.

Pic Puller is used by hundreds of people though, and I would like to continue to help people bring their media into Craft after that time. The Instagram announcement does promise a solution is coming though:

Future updates on the Instagram Graph API will include:

Support for Non-Business Profiles [FUTURE]: Basic permissioning for non-business profiles will be supported in early 2019.

A promised API that is a year out isn’t the safest bet for the future of any app, but I don’t have much choice except to hope for the best.