As a company, Facebook goes by the saying, “Move fast and break things.” Now it’s planning to move even faster with new code pushes for Facebook.com twice a day and Android app updates every four to six weeks.
The social network previously pushed changes to the site once a day, no small feat for a site of Facebook’s scale. Now with a recently hired release engineer in the company’s New York office, Facebook will push new code twice a day. That means more new features, tests and bug fixes, but it could also mean more breaking things. Third-party developers often have trouble keeping up with all of Facebook’s changes and bugs.
At the TechCrunch CrunchUp event on Friday, Facebook VP of Engineering Mike Schroepfer announced that the company is moving to a four to six week release cycle for its Android app, and that it hopes to do the same for iOS later this year. This could benefit users who often complain about the apps’ slow performance and bugs. Schroepfer and Director of Product Peter Deng said Facebook had previously been focused on scaling its mobile presence to accomodate the 7,000 different devices that access the social network every day. Now the company will be concentrating on individual platforms to take advantage of native features and provide better user experiences.
In a note on the Facebook Engineering page, release engineer Chuck Rossi said the addition of a New York code push will give more power to the company’s engineers who are on different time zones. It will also give California engineers two chances to get code shipped and features launched each day. Rossi says that when he joined the company in 2008, he was the only release engineer, supporting about 100 developers in Palo Alto, Calif. Now his team supports hundreds of developers in Facebook offices around the world, who are producing 6 times the amount of code per week. He says the twice-a-day code pushes will keep the company’s release process as efficient at 1000 engineers as it was at 100.