Facebook: 200 Hours (of dev time) FREE!

The soup du jour in the Web 2.0/startup community is Facebook’s new API. StyleFeeder has an app on it now, because it made sense and it’s a good fit. You should try it out. Phil did most of the heavy lifting, and we should pity him for it, because it’s very poorly documented, not completely built, and nerve-wrackingly unstable. But it works, and it’s pretty cool to be able to get in to a place people feel comfortable and offer them something we think is useful, that Facebook never would have got around to building. Not everyone is impressed about the whole idea though:

Kottke obviously wasn’t doing any internet development in 1994 or he would have heard “why isn’t my website as nice as stuff I see on AOL?”

“What happens when Flickr and LinkedIn and Google and Microsoft and MySpace and YouTube and MetaFilter and Vimeo and Last.fm launch their platforms that you need to develop apps for in some proprietary language that’s different for each platform?”

It’s pretty clear what would happen. People would develop for Google and MySpace, people are already developing for Microsoft, and the others would be ignored. You need massive scale and a big carrot (Facebook’s is a massive, clean network of users), to pull this off. Everyone else puts their faith in the W3C. Eventually the Facebook API will be deprecated or ignored, and if there are any good ideas in it, they’ll trickle out into the mainstream.

Valleywag has a screed by someone who bought the hype and blames Facebook for it, and is now apparently trying to generate some backlash to justify to management why it didn’t work as promised. Keep in mind that the hype was not from Facebook, I didn’t get any emails from them, see any ads, it was solely driven by tech-pundits, bloggers and VC panic. This person is sad that they didn’t get millions of users overnight and that Facebook “undercut” developers by preventing them from spamming their apps all over the place. If your app is useful or fun, it’s going to grow on its own, just like any other software distribution method. Sure it may seem unfair that some people got in and got big before the rules tightened up, but it’s also unfair that my parents got a house with an acre of land for $32k before I could (I was 3).