Facebook to Open Source the Platform? (Updated)

Facebook is likely to open-source the Facebook Platform APIs, FBML, FQL, and Javascript libraries soon, Techcrunch speculates this morning. Given the current “social platform wars” with Google, open sourcing Facebook Platform standards would create an alternative platform to OpenSocial for social websites to integrate rich third party applications.

Bebo has already licensed the Facebook Platform architecture for its own platform, and a flood of Facebook applications have been published on the Bebo platform since they run almost completely out of the box. By allowing anyone to adopt the Facebook Platform architecture, Facebook would hope to create greater entrenchment in the developer community on building on the Facebook architecture.

For containers, implementing the Facebook Platform standards is no easy task. In addition to supporting all the Facebook Platform features, you’ll have to maintain your platform over time to keep it in sync with Facebook’s standards. However, by adopting the Facebook Platform, you’ll be able to pitch developers of the over 25,000 currently published Facebook applications that they can reach your users with little to no further work.

For developers, the increased standardization of social containers will always be a good thing. However, as developers have learned with OpenSocial, just because different containers adopt the same architecture doesn’t mean that it’s always easy to port between containers. Different containers have different restrictions and extensions, so some changes will always need to be made.

2:00pm Update: A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the company’s plans, stressing intended benefits for developers:

“We’re working on an open-source initiative that is meant to help application developers better understand Facebook Platform and more easily build applications, whether it’s by running their own test servers, building tools, or optimizing their applications. As Facebook Platform continues to mature, open-sourcing the infrastructure behind it is a natural step so developers can build richer social applications and share what they’ve learned with the ecosystem. Additional details will be released soon.”

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6 Responses to “Facebook to Open Source the Platform? (Updated)”

  1. Jamie says:

    me feels they should call this the open fb platform for those non facebook users however not to alienate other social sites e.g. bebo (who use facebook platform already with an occassional change (from what heard)) calling it ‘facebook platform’ for sites who is not facebook or ‘open facebook platform’ namewise but maybe fp or OFP might be alittle better as otherwise all the sites using opensocial if it were called Google social non Google networks e.g. myspace will not be favorable to it.

    Would be nice in the end if opensocial and ‘openfb’ could be interoperable in the future allowing a type of open id feature across all social networks (like open id and live id is doing on the web authentication/ log in side) which one likely will win (even if it were live id microsoft should remove themselves from the dictating how the live id is run as everyone should have equal say) maybe under the universal open id brand (which no monolopy/ service controls directly across all web services that would give WAYN (a travel social network), ebay, facebook, google and microsoft etc all have the same level of say

  2. Facebook’s Open Source Play - Six Months Too Late? « tchblg says:

    [...] looks like Facebook is open sourcing their app platform.   So what does this mean?  Justin Smith on the Inside Facebook blog has some good analysis: For developers, the increased standardization of social containers will [...]

  3. Manü says:

    Will this open source plan also enable to share friends on other platforms?

  4. Facebook to Open Source Platform | Cow's Blog says:

    [...] Facebook reports that Facebook is to open source their developer platform. A spokesman from Facebook said: We’re [...]

  5. Inside Facebook » Facebook Open Sources the Platform says:

    [...] speculated and confirmed last week, Facebook today is announcing that it is open sourcing significant parts of the Facebook Platform [...]

  6. fbOpen, Facebook hará open source su plataforma « Rick´s Chronicles says:

    [...] carrera de atraer desarrolladores. Ahora bien, lo más probable – por las declaraciones que recoge Inside Fcb – es que lo que permitan sea simplemente acceder al código fuente, pero no usarlo (no sería una [...]

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