Facebook to begin bundling breaking changes quarterly

Facebook announced that it would replace its 90-day breaking change policy with quarterly updates that will encompass a number of breaking changes.

Previously, Facebook announced breaking changes throughout the year, each time giving developers 90 days to prepare their apps accordingly. Although the policy gave developers a decent window of time to complete a change, changes would sometimes add up over time and developers would have to update their app each month.

With the new quarterly policy, Facebook will bundle breaking changes together and make announcements at the same time each quarter. The social network is notorious for having a difficult platform to develop on. The company moves increasingly fast — now pushing new code twice a day — and developers regularly have to deal with resulting issues and bugs. The quarterly policy won’t necessarily improve the day-to-day problems developers face, but it should make it easier for developers to schedule their time and accomodate some of the larger changes Facebook makes.

The 90-day breaking change policy was implemented in 2011, as part of Facebook’s “Operation Developer Love” program intended to improve on the company’s sometimes turbulent relationship with its developer community. Most recently, in November 2012, Facebook introduced Developer Alerts to notify developers about important changes to the platform and the status of their apps.

The change to quarterly updates will start with breaking changes going into effect in April. Then in April, Facebook will announce the changes for July. The April 2013 changes include removing the ability to post questions on users’ behalf and removing the “version” column from the “group” FQL table and Graph API object.

More information about the new policy and upcoming breaking changes is available from Facebook’s developer blog.