Facebook Developers Face A Challenge

This morning when I walked into my office I stopped to chat with the developer who is creating our application. We discussed some of the features we were working on and also something that has been the primary issue with developing on the platform: a lack of documentation. The existing documentation for the platform is sufficient for developing applications but that is about as far as it goes. Additionally, there is much discussion on the developer forums but many people don’t seem to have answers. The only conclusion I come up with is that those developers that figure out how to make something work on the platform have little incentive to share that information with other developers. While the Facebook development platform is nowhere near open-source, it does have a massive community of developers that can help to support each other.

Why then are they not helping as much as they often do in an open-source environment? The only conclusion that I can draw is the monetary incentive of developing a successful application. If a developer can protect their information for as long as possible, it provides a competitive advantage. Maybe I’m wrong on this though since I’m not highly active in the developer forums. Additionally, Facebook has opted to provide the bare minimum amount of information when describing their API. All I can say is that they are not making it easy for application developers as they constantly update the API. Perhaps this is simply the downfall of developing on an everchanging platform.