Big Moves

Big Moves

With the announcements last week from Twitter (acquisition of Tweetie and announced intentions of additional mobile space moves) and the information dumped this week from Facebook F8 (Dropping of Facebook Connect Branding, new APIs, Credits, removal of the 24 hour limit for data retention, etc.), one wonders:

How do these big moves affect you?

As a user, in many ways this means that your user experience across a number of your favorite sites will become more integrated.  It will also mean that things you thought were “private” aren’t really.

I think the fallout / shakeout from these big moves will become crystal clear over the course of the summer as startups and companies adapt to the changing landscape.

As a developer, these announcements provide an opportunity to differentiate and innovate.

But at the same time, the announcements are a continuation of a recurring theme at Facebook, particularly with regard to its API and application development – namely, Facebook’s constant changes means your implementation work is never really done and every six months or so they’re gonna break your shit.

Place me squarely in the “let’s see how this really shakes out” camp.

I’m less than enthralled with the prospect of so much having to go through a single gatekeeper, benevolent or not, who may decide to capriciously cut me off from the trough, on a whim.  In the case of Facebook, they’ve yet to prove that they can reliably be trusted with this type of stewardship.

So, hunker down and prepare to hear  an avalanche of gushing about how Facebook is going to “change the game” and how Twitter is “getting serious.”

And be sure to set your B.S. filter to “high.”

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2 thoughts on “Big Moves

  1. David, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have been working on an iPhone app for a client and Facebook integration is a large part of the feature set. I had to send the unpleasant email that he may want to delay the launch of the app for a few weeks to a month to see how the changes to the API pan out. In addition, if any changes are made the iPhone SDK, which I am sure there will be, then his cost just went up for me to go back and refactor that logic. Granted I am happy to hear that Facebook is simplifying that labyrinth of thing they call an API it still causes quite a headache when, as you stated, every six months I have to go back and update FB related code.

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    1. Cory, I feel your pain. I have a slew of iPhone AND Android apps that I’m about to have to go back into and un-break (um… RE-FACTOR) because of this breaking Facebook Connect change a-coming.

      This has been my biggest complaint with the Facebook application platform since the get go; they have no compunction about applying breaking changes with little or no notice. When I was doing a lot of Facebook application development, one of my weekly “to dos” was to review each and every one of my apps to insure that Facebook’s weekly platform push didn’t introduce a breaking change (and in the early days, it was a given they broke something every other week).

      In the case of mobile applications development, this isn’t as simple as just changing code on the server and being instantly “fixed.” As you rightly point out, these decisions have real dollar and cents impact on developers who have already bought in to the platform – and wonder what the real ongoing cost of investment will be.

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