Facebook open-sources developer tools for iOS

Parse may be gone for good, but Facebook still wants to help developers build apps quickly and easily.

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Credit: Facebook/IDGNS

Facebook’s annual F8 conference in San Francisco is geared toward developers, but the company’s biggest announcements so far have been way more focused on new stuff for Facebook’s users to dig into, like a camera that shoots 360-degree video, Messenger chatbots, and a Save to Facebook button for reading articles later. But the company also shared some developer news, like tools that make iOS apps easier to build.

During F8 on Wednesday, Facebook announced that it just open-sourced two tools for iOS developers so they can create apps much more quickly: Remodel, an Objective-C code generation tool that offers a quick way for developers to flow data around their apps, and the iOS Memory Management Bundle, which includes tools like the Retain Cycle Detector that will help you prevent memory crashes in your app. If memory is leaking, that tool will find the source early on in the coding process without having to hunt it down manually.

“Memory on mobile devices is a shared resource,” Greg Pstrucha wrote in a Wednesday blog post announcing the tools. “Apps that manage it improperly run out of memory, crash, and suffer from drastically decreased performance. Facebook for iOS has many features that all share the same memory space. If any specific feature starts consuming too much memory, it can affect the whole app.”

In January, Facebook shuttered its Parse, its mobile app development toolkit that helped developers focus more on building great apps and spend less time on back-end management. The network is focused on other efforts, like chatbots and live video, but maintains that helping developers is still part of its mission. This is stuff most of us don’t see, but is essential to how we use apps and our iPhones.

Facebook is all about open-sourcing just about everything—code, hardware, you name it and Facebook has probably opened it up for others to build on. Making it easier for developers to build Facebook-friendly apps puts more users in the Facebook ecosystem, which is an obvious win for the company as it works to make live video and chatbots more popular. Third-party support from apps and hardware makers is a key piece of those efforts. But the developer tools also presumably make those apps better to use, although the Facebook iOS app hasn’t been the most popular as of late—some have reported that the Facebook app still sucks up too many resources and drains the iPhone battery far more than it should, even after Facebook promised to fix it.

This story, "Facebook open-sources developer tools for iOS" was originally published by Macworld.

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