Marc Andreeson on Facebook's API

Marc Andreeson, founder of the original Netscape, has posted his thoughts on Facebook’s new API, which has created quite the storm of attention since it launched. This observation is quite interesting:

Analyzing the Facebook Platform, three weeks in

The implication is, in my view, quite clear — the Facebook Platform is primarily for use by either big companies, or venture-backed startups with the funding and capability to handle the slightly insane scale requirements. Individual developers are going to have a very hard time taking advantage of it in useful ways.

In short, creating a Facebook application with the API requires that you provide your own server resources to power the application. Facebook’s super-viral distribution of popular apps leads to crushing load on your web servers in a very short amount of time if you are (un)lucky enough to create a popular application.

The capacity to rapidly scale up server capacity is probably beyond even some large corporation’s ability unless they have specifically prepared themselves to do so. Your web application needs to be designed for scaling up the number of servers as well.

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2 thoughts on “Marc Andreeson on Facebook's API

  1. Marc indeed has a very valid point. Small developers most likely will lack the resources to handle launching a successful app that will continue to run.

    The server costs to deliver the services will be quite overwhelming for the solo coder without the proper financial and technology backing.

    We are publishing ratings and reviews of the new facebook applications at http://www,facereviews.com

    Rodney Rumford

  2. Yeah, this was an interesting read. It’s great that Marc can shed light from a technical perspective.

    Anyway, the answer is a service either Amazon EC2 or Opsware. Something where a small company can scale quickly with load. Naturally, they will get killed with costs, like he says, but at least their boxes can handle the demand.

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