Facebook Platform Team Formalizes 90-Day Breaking Change Policy, Improves Beta Tier Testing

Facebook has shared a few updates to its “Operation Developer Love” program, intended to further improve on what has been a sometimes turbulent relationship with its developer community.

Most prominently, it has said it intends to stick to a “90 day breaking change policy,” meaning it will give developers 90 days to adapt before making platform changes that cause applications to break. Examples of these types of changes include the deprecation of FBML and the REST API, or SDK. However, major product updates and urgent privacy and security fixes are, as one would expect, not included in this policy.

Facebook has also been giving developers more ways to test their applications against Facebook’s weekly Tuesday code updates. It’s been giving developers earlier and earlier access to test against the new changes for any bugs or other issues. It’s now also providing a Push Status feed to help developers more easily follow Facebook’s daily and weekly schedules of changes. It also now returns HTTP headers for API calls that identify the version number of the running code, helping developers more easily isolate version-specific issues.

Developer relations head Doug Purdy, who authored today’s developer post on the changes, also notes that his team has been busy improving the documentation, building out the developer support team, and moving to fix bugs more quickly – three of the biggest issues that developers have cited in past years. These latest updates aren’t going to be enough to make every developer happy (a very hard job), but they’re a step in the right direction.

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