Facebook to Developers: "You Decide"

By the time I hit publish on this 5 other bigger blogs will have probably already covered this, but this deserves some praise.  One reason I love the Facebook Platform is because they really seem to care about API developers.  They do things the “right” way.  For instance, they have a beta site where they always release new bug fixes and features before they go live on the site.  They always release new API features in “sandbox mode” before going live with them.  No other platform releases new features and updates in this manner!  Just today they upped their game even more, giving developers full control over this process by letting developers decide when new API features go live.

The service gives developers a new “Migrations” option in their application settings, enabling them to choose when things go live.  The first one of these they launched has to do with a bug they’ve fixed which formats empty JSON strings correctly.  To enable the feature you just go to your “Migrations” section for your app, and select “on”, and now all empty JSON strings will be formatted in the correct manner.  The power of all of this is that you get to decide when these features go live, but you can start trying them immediately!

Of course, all features will eventually go live, but what this shows is that Facebook is willing to keep developers aware of changes before they go live.  Facebook won’t be launching features into the wild out of the blue like many of their competitors do quite regularly.  Previously, changes would go live, and while they would often show on the beta site, developers had little notice and little time to test them before putting them into production.  These changes would break many apps the minute they went into production.

IMO, this small feature changes the game for many other app platforms.  NO OTHER major app platform does anything like this.  Kudos to the Facebook platform team for continuing to change the game in regards to API development.  Since the Facebook platform launched, they have always been ahead in changes like this.  I can only hope other API platforms can follow suite in giving developers more control like this.  No one likes their applications to break because of simple API changes.

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2 thoughts on “Facebook to Developers: "You Decide"

  1. Platforms and their API's are key to developers – it's about keeping them happy, FIRST! It's a double edged sword for many devs, especially on Twitter (from what i've seen).

    You can also take a look at $AAPL and how they've built fear around the app store. Ok it's not an API but you get my drift. Indeed FB is the leader here no doubt + lot's of friendly developers out there willing to help, you can always check out freenode too..

    Thanks for the post.

    Like

  2. Platforms and their API's are key to developers – it's about keeping them happy, FIRST! It's a double edged sword for many devs, especially on Twitter (from what i've seen).

    You can also take a look at $AAPL and how they've built fear around the app store. Ok it's not an API but you get my drift. Indeed FB is the leader here no doubt + lot's of friendly developers out there willing to help, you can always check out freenode too..

    Thanks for the post.

    Like

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