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It has been a while since the last f8, and so much has changed within Facebook. At the last f8, things were geared towards new products and feature, with the big one being Timeline. This time around, you couldn’t walk around without hearing one word: Mobile.
Facebook has pivoted hard into mobile since the last f8 conference. It now boasts itself as a “mobile first company”. Facebook had to develop a ton of infrastructure, and tools in order to manage its growing portfolio of mobile products (ie. Paper, Messenger, Pages, Instagram, and obviously its core app). Since Facebook is all about people, they decided to open source a lot of these tools. This is amazing news for anyone developing on mobile, as they can use these tools in development with the comfort that these tools are backed by a very strong supporter.
I’d like to take some time and go over some of these tools that were talked about as they really help the mobile development ecosystem.
Origami (launched late 2013)
As the demand for richer experiences on mobile grows, the more difficult it becomes to design something within the constraints of existing mobile frameworks. Origami allows you to break free of those constraints when designing and allows you to do things in a more free form manner.
Pop (launched this week)
Pop pairs very nicely with Origami. Any values/parameters that were specified in Origami can be brought over into Pop. This help close the gap between design and implementation when developing a mobile product.
Asynchronous UI (coming soon)
Facebook also spoke about an asynchronous UI toolkit, that is under development and coming soon. This toolkit sounded amazing. One problem with current mobile frameworks is that they are single thread focused, and at times this results in a less than smooth experience. This asynchronous UI toolkit aims to reduce unnecessary views, offload expensive UI processes to a background thread, and improve rendering by rendering to a single texture, rather than each view rendering itself separate. I’m really excited to see this!
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure there are many more tools Facebook is developing. Facebook made it clear that they are going to be a solid source of mobile tools/frameworks in the years to come. I can’t wait to see what they come up with at next year’s f8!