Monday, June 2, 2008

Facebook, we are more Open than Google

As everybody expected, facebook today open sourced a significant part of their platform. I guess this is in direct competition to OpenSocial. Off course, facebook was feeling the heat by not being part of OpenSocial. This is definetly a big move for the company that was keeping everything so closed all this time. It’s a big leap. Nevertheless, what is missing here is the partnership, OpenSocial had some of the big players like yahoo, MySpace,bebo alongside. Apparently, facebook has not been successful in getting some big players on board to support the open source platform.

Some snippets from the announcement today

As Facebook Platform continues to mature, we’ve been hearing from a lot of you that you’d like more tools and better information on how Facebook Platform actually works. As a starting point, we’re open-sourcing a significant part of Facebook Platform, including most of the code that runs Facebook Platform plus implementations of many of the most-used methods and tags.

The goal of this release is to help you as developers better understand Facebook Platform as a whole and more easily build applications, whether it’s by running your own test servers, building tools, or optimizing your applications on this technology. We’ve built in extensibility points, so you can add functionality to Facebook Open Platform like your own tags and API methods. We’re also hoping you use Facebook Open Platform in ways we’ve never thought of – just as you showed off your creativity with Facebook Platform, we hope this lets you be creative with the foundation of the platform itself.

Developers or any third party developers can download the source code. Today, I downloaded the software just to play around with. Lot of C++ and C stuff has been used to write CSS,HTML and JavaScript.

Some questions that is not yet clear to me:
• What’s the rationale in opening up the facebook platform source code. Counter OpenSocial or something more than OpenSocial?
• Who benefits from this platform.
• The code looks more of FBML, what else can we build using this code. In other words, using OpenSocial, developers can build app that can be run on multiple platforms supporting OpenSocial interface

I think the social networking arena is becoming more and more interesting. It’s a cat and mouse game between Google and facebook. This is good for users and developers. Fun times ahead. More innovative apps for users and more platforms for developers.

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