LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE ASIA CONGRESS 2011: David Lim, mobile partner engineer, developer relations at Facebook, said that the app industry “has to solve a problem, which is the fragmentation problem.”
Speaking in an App Planet session this morning, Lim (pictured) noted that: “For all those successful apps today, there are two characteristics you can find. The first one is that they are very viral, they are leveraging the social network or any kind of viral distribution channel very successfully. The second characteristic is they are cross platform. From desktop to tablet to smartphones, to even legacy phones.”
“But these two characteristics, they don’t come free of charge. You put in a lot of engineering effort, and marketing efforts to build on these two characteristics,” he said.
Lim noted that despite the size and profile of Facebook, the company faces the same fragmentation issues as the smaller developer: “a lot of you may say that Facebook is a big website, that we have a lot of engineers, that we see it differently. But we are actually exactly the same as all of you guys. We are facing the same problems as you. It’s fragmentation. Every time we add a feature or fix a bug, we have to do it four times. The low end website, the high-end website, for iPhone, for Android.”
“And we also wait for App Store approval, which we hate. It sucks. It really sucks,” he continued.
In order to drive the transition to a web-based architecture, Facebook created its own private platform, called Faceweb, which Lim described as an “elder brother of HTML5.”
“At a time when HTML5 is not mature, we feel we cannot wait. We just wanted to move ahead, so we crafted Faceweb. As HTML5 is getting more and more mature, we are shifting some features back into HTML5,” he continued. “We strongly believe that web is actually the future."
Lim also used the event to highlight its recently-announced efforts to open its social networking channels to app developers.