Facebook To Update Mobile Apps Every 4 To 8 Weeks

By Justin Lafferty 

On the same day that Facebook released a bunch of mobile updates for Apple and Android devices, the social network also announced that it will continue to offer new versions of the applications every four to eight weeks.

Facebook Release Manager Christian Legnitto wrote a post Thursday on the Facebook Engineering page, explaining the company’s commitment to providing a better mobile experience.

This falls in line with what Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been saying regarding Facebook’s new focus on mobile. At the TechCrunch Disrupt SF event, Zuckerberg said all departments within Facebook now have mobile responsibilities. What used to be mainly the job of one team has been spread throughout the company.

Legnitto wrote that in the past, Facebook’s mobile updates were more feature-driven. When Facebook finished up working on a new feature, it updated the app, but there wasn’t really a timeline for releases.

He also wrote that updating code for the desktop version of Facebook is a completely different animal than mobile:

Shipping mobile software is inherently different than shipping Web software — the stakes are higher. It’s easier for code to cause an app crash on mobile than to bring down an entire site on the Web. And with Web software, you can roll out gradually and make updates before you roll out to the majority of users. With mobile software, we don’t have these luxuries.  That means we have to hold ourselves to an even higher quality bar.

For instance, we only take targeted fixes after we’ve cut a release. We scrutinize every change closely and have to explicitly approve any changes. My colleague, Mike Shaver,put it best when he said that we “need a reason to accept, not a reason to reject.” We frequently say no, and if it becomes clear that a fix is too risky or a feature isn’t quite ready, we back it out or turn it off without a second thought. This keeps quality high and decouples finished updates from unfinished ones.

Readers: What else do you want to see from Facebook’s mobile apps?

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