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Developers relate a tale of woe with Facebook's API

Breathless change leaves developers dangling
Fri Aug 12 2011, 16:46

THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook is doing a bad job when it comes to its application programming interface (API), according to a survey of developers.

Facebook's API allows third party developers to create applications that Facebook users can interact with. It is often cited as one of the major driving forces that increased the popularity and more importantly the time users spend on the firm's website. However, according to a survey, developers complained about Facebook's API more than any others.

In the survey one developer said of Facebook, "They release half-baked stuff that doesn't work, shut down existing functionality without replacing it, and never document anything correctly." Others claimed poor documentation and repeatedly cited Facebook's rapidly changing API as a source of headaches.

Google didn't fare much better, though, with respondents mentioning Google's Buzz API as a problem and the fact that Google's recently launched social network, Google+ doesn't even have an API.

On the whole documentation was identified as the biggest issue for developers. It is a sad fact that even though would-be developers are taught the benefits of good documentation, the well paid developers at Facebook and Google seem to forget that others have to work with their coding decisions and documentation.

Although APIs are important parts of applications development, it is clear that the web's big brands need to work with third party developers in order to help them code applications that generate revenues for both sides. Developers should have a right to expect that this report will serve as a wake-up call to companies like Facebook and Google to up their games. µ


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