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

06May2019

Insta­gram API changes and the wind­ing down of Pic Puller

TLDR

Here’s the short sto­ry. Pic Puller for Craft CMS ver­sion 3 will be avail­able for cur­rent users until the end of 2019. Pic Puller will be removed from sale from the Craft CMS Plu­g­in Store to pre­vent fur­ther sales as this ver­sion of the plu­g­in. This will give cur­rent users over 6 months to plan a transition.

Regard­ing future plans, there may be a future Insta­gram inte­gra­tion for Craft but, it is depen­dent on Face­book. The Face­book team has focused its Insta­gram API devel­op­ment efforts on Busi­ness Accounts only. The cur­rent, non-dep­re­cat­ed ver­sion of the API does not sup­port non-busi­ness users, which has been the focus of Pic Puller.

Some his­to­ry of Pic Puller

Pic Puller for Craft is the plu­g­in for Craft CMS that acts as a gate­way to the Pic Puller Insta­gram appli­ca­tion. The plu­g­in pro­vides Twig vari­ables for use in tem­plates, a field type for Craft, and dash­board widgets. 

The Github repo for the plu­g­in is here.

Pic Puller, the Insta­gram app itself, is an approved Insta­gram appli­ca­tion, mean­ing I’ve tak­en it through Facebook’s appli­ca­tion review process to received autho­rized access to the Insta­gram API

The web­site that serves as the home­page for the plu­g­in, https://​picpuller​.com also serves as the API end­point for the Insta­gram app. The Craft plu­g­in hits an end­point at the site which Insta­gram sees as an autho­rized end­point to han­dle authorization.

The news from Facebook

On April 30, 2019, Face­book announced a new way to cal­cu­late rate lim­its for all Face­book apps. The API announce­ment is a post for which com­ments are dis­abled. I was hop­ing to see how oth­er devel­op­ers were react­ing to this news.

The API rate lim­it changes will affect all apps start­ing July 29, 2019.” Face­book had pre­vi­ous­ly announced the end of the v1 of the Insta­gram API would hap­pen in ear­ly 2020” pre­ced­ed by a replace­ment API for basic access for non-busi­ness accounts in ear­ly 2019.” The replace­ment API has not emerged as of May 6.

The new API lim­it changes impact the devel­op­ment of Pic Puller, an app I’ve built and main­tained since 2011.

API changes and plan­ning for the future

As the API rules changed over the years, Pic Puller adapt­ed by chang­ing the types of requests it would make. I removed fea­tures, changed autho­riza­tion meth­ods, sub­mit­ted to app review, etc.

My goal was always to make Pic Puller a good cit­i­zen in the Face­book ecosys­tem. The penal­ties for vio­lat­ing the API rules were entire­ly up to Face­book. Unau­tho­rized API use or vio­lat­ing Facebook’s rules could have got­ten the app’s access revoked for all users. The worst-case sce­nario would have been hav­ing a user’s account suspended.

Face­book announced the Insta­gram API v1 was dep­re­cat­ed in ear­ly 2018. A replace­ment for the API had been promised in ear­ly 2019” for non-busi­ness users. The full ter­mi­na­tion of the API v1 is sched­uled for ear­ly 2020.” I felt that gave me the time and space to con­tin­ue devel­op­ment of Pic Puller.

The lat­est rate-lim­it update plus the lack of progress on a promised replace­ment API end-point for non-busi­ness Insta­gram accounts leaves me lit­tle room to maneu­ver when it comes to Pic Puller development. 

The API announce­ment, avail­able at this link, is as follows:

The Insta­gram account rate lim­it now uses a new Busi­ness Use Case rate lim­it­ing sys­tem for Insta­gram Graph API. This new lim­it is deter­mined by ana­lyz­ing the num­ber of impres­sions on the Insta­gram account. Please note that your rate lim­it will no longer be deter­mined by the num­ber of users on the app. If the app is owned by a busi­ness, it has its own ratio lim­it quo­ta that is not shared with oth­er apps access­ing the same Insta­gram account. If an app is not owned by a busi­ness, the quo­ta of the Insta­gram account will be shared by all apps. These changes apply to v3.3+, and will apply to all ver­sions start­ing July 292019.

The wind­ing down

This new dead­line of July 29, 2019, com­bined with no pub­lic progress on the API end­point for non-busi­ness users has put me in a no-win sit­u­a­tion. I can not work on a tran­si­tion for cur­rent users to an API that I don’t have access to.

Cur­rent Pic Puller users will con­tin­ue to have access to the app through the end of the year. I will leave the autho­riza­tion ser­vice up for all of 2019

New pur­chas­es of the app will be stopped so that all paid users will have at least 6 months to use the app while con­sid­er­ing options for the future.

Options

Depend­ing on your needs, oth­er Insta­gram plu­g­ins that might fit your needs for use with Craft CMS. None seems to use the Insta­gram API as far as I can tell.

Thank you

If you’ve used Pic Puller over the years, thank you for your sup­port. I’ve enjoyed talk­ing with many of you who’ve reached out to me. The shut­ting down of Pic Puller does not mean I’m leav­ing Craft behind. You’ll still find me in the Craft Dis­cord com­mu­ni­ty and in the newslet­ter for Craft I pub­lish, Craft Link List.

Archival screen­shots of announcements

The Face­book announce­ment links can change over time, so I’ve attached screen­shots below for posterity.

Facebook API rate limit, April 30, 2019
120 BA19 C D175 46 E8 9920 887351119106
BAAD7 DE3 6 E2 B 4073 8 D43 CD998624 F359
DD27 A850 2346 443 D 9057 8 BF06 D739 E7 C
F409 B9 E0 381 E 47 E5 B7 CB 66 E9262 CDA2 B