Today, we’re releasing a new version of our Facebook application for webOS. This application makes it easy to stay connected with your friends, share status updates, upload photos, check out your News Feed, browse your friends’ photo albums and profiles, get your upcoming events, and check your messages wherever you are. The app also integrates with other aspects of Palm webOS and Synergy, so you can instantly view Facebook info from the Contacts app, or use the Photo app to upload directly to Facebook.
New features include:
- Enhanced Inbox – Now, your inbox lets you compose, send, and reply, so you can always access your Facebook messages.
- Photo albums – Now you can view photo albums from all your friends, not just the photos in their news feeds. Uploading photos is easier as well, and includes the ability to add captions.
- Profiles – The new app lets you view users’ profiles, whether they are your friends or not. View and post to their walls, view their information, and see their photo albums (subject to privacy settings, of course).
- Events and birthdays – Now you can see upcoming birthdays from your friend list as well as upcoming events.
- Friend search – Easily find your friends using the Friend Search feature. This takes you to their profile, where you can see and post to their wall, view their information, and look at their photos.
This being the developer blog, what’s interesting to me is how this application was developed. The Developer Relations team took on the task of rewriting this application as a way to work on a “real” project and get a deeper understanding of how our developer tools and documentation work (and sometimes don’t work) for our developers.
Working on this application has given us a really detailed look at the current state of our tools and documents. Here in Developer Relations, we’ve been sitting down and evaluating the results and putting plans in place to remove as many of the speedbumps and potholes as we can, as quickly as we can.
I think you’ll be very impressed with the quality of this updated Facebook application. It’s even more impressive when you realize that while Ben and Dion, who did most of the heavy lifting on this update, are experienced programmers, they haven’t been webOS programmers very long. It’s a good example of how existing skills can transfer to the webOS platform and get a new developer up to speed and building good applications quickly.
Now that we have this rewritten-from-scratch version of the Facebook app out, we’re starting to look at what further enhancements we can add to it. We plan to continue using this application to push ourselves as webOS developers, and to step into the shoes of our developers and live with the tools we give them. We think that’s the best way to make sure those tools are the best tools we can possibly build. If we aren’t working with them daily, it’s easy to think they’re better than they are. By making sure we’re always creating “real” applications, we have no excuses not to make sure that our developer environment is the best it can be.
And that’s exactly what we expect it to be. We still have some work, but now we know what needs to be done, and we’re working to make it happen.