What is Facebook F8

F8 is Facebook’s annual developer conference, in which the company presents their plans to improve the existing areas of their platform, as well as how they are taking advantage of the newest technologies and algorithms (e.g. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual / Augmented Reality, Computer Vision, Machine Learning).

The 2017 Keynote

This year’s keynote will take place in the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, 365 S Market St. San Jose, CA.

Get Directions

Watch Online

If you are interested in attending remotely, you can catch the livestream at the Facebook F8 Website, starting at 1:00PM AST.

What to Expect

I am looking forward to hearing about the new advancements in their:

  1. Mobile App Ecosystem
  2. Web Development libraries and frameworks
  3. Platform Products and APIs

Announcements

The keynote has officially come to an end. Some of the most relevant topics covered in it were:

Augmented Reality

Facebook is bringing Augmented Reality to the built in Camera, on your smartphone app. It relies on three (3) key features to provide a more appealing experience:

  1. Information: Allowing you to gather data on the contents of the image
  2. Digital Objects: As seen on Pokémon Go
  3. Enhancements: Improve the quality and usability of the captured media

Augmented Reality Building Blocks

  1. Precise Location: via Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM)
  2. 3D Effects: Allowing you to Capture & interact with scenes in 3D with high precision
  3. Object Recognition: Bringin Real-time visual understanding

Computer Vision

Mike Schroepfer, the CTO for Facebook, announced the new Computer Vision enhancement coming to the camera app known as Style Transfer. This feature gathers the texture and characteristics of an image or object and applies it to the target in the viewfinder.

Tooling for Augmented Reality

Deb Liu, VP of Platform and Marketplace, presented the Camera Effects Platform, which connects art and technology to build new experiences for the Facebook camera, and brings Augmented Reality features such as:

  1. Face Tracking
  2. Hashtag Voting
  3. Touch Gestures
  4. Data Integration
  5. 3D Rendering

In addition, she also announced two new useful tools to help you get started building and designing for Augmented Reality, allowing developers to create immersive experiences for all users. These are:

  1. Frame Studio: which uses the Camera’s Effects Platform to bring frames and decorations to images and video to make posts memorable and even more meaningful
  2. AR Studio: allows for the creation of animated masks and interactive effects that respond to motion and data

Messenger

Facebook Messenger is currently the most popular messaging platform, immediately followed by WhatsApp. It currently has 1.2 Billion active users, with over 100,000 chat bots built to take advantage of the many features the Messenger platform has to offer, such as, but not limited to:

  1. One-on-one messaging (IM, SMS, MMS)
  2. Group messaging
  3. File sharing (audio-clips, documents, images, video)
  4. Audio calling
  5. Video calling
  6. Making payments / transaction processing
  7. Chat bots
  8. Gaming
  9. Account linking
  10. Analytics
  11. Conversation Ads

Companies Using Messenger

Many companies have adopted the Messenger platform APIs in their mobile and web applications and have seen a significant increase in conversions and revenue after doing so. To name a few:

  • Sephora, the french chain of cosmetic stores has developed two chat bots. The first of which being a Reservation Assistant that allows customer to book appointments for makeovers at stores worldwide; The second bot, consisting on a Virtual Artist that scans any photo and instantly provides the closest lipstick color match from Sephora’s entire assortment.
  • SnapTravel, a company set to redefine booking, have designed a bot that allows you to find and book the best hotel deals over Facebook Messenger and SMS.
  • Activision, one of the largest American video game companies, has published titles such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for Facebook Messenger.

React

Tom Occhino, the engineering manager at Facebook, discussed the advances made on React over the course of the 2016-2017.

For reference: React is a declarative, efficient, and flexible JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It was open sourced in 2013, and has greatly grown in terms of popularity and usage across platforms.

React currently has:

  • 100+ engineers working on it
  • 30,000+ components published
  • 400+ screens being used across mobile apps

Companies are not only using React in their production apps, but they are also contributing to the project’s growth and helping the team fix issues so that it leads to better user experience. Some of these contributing companies are:

  • Microsoft: which has built a framework for building native UWP and WPF apps with React.
  • airbnb: which uses React in their Listing, ReservationCard, and ReservationItem components.
  • Pinterest: changed their templating engine in from Nunjucks to React, in 2016.
  • Twitter: which published their Twitter Lite PWA, built using Node, Express, and React.
  • Stripe: has a collection of pre-built elements for use with their API.
  • Khan Academy: built their website using React

React Fiber

Facebook took the task of rewriting React from scratch. The result of this effort is what they’re calling React Fiber. The benefits of doing this include:

  • A smaller file size
  • Is entirely Flow-typed
  • Has better error boundaries
  • Produces more descriptive errors / warnings
  • Allows the return of arrays and strings from render

To stay up to date on React Fiber’s status you can visit: http://isfiberreadyyet.com. The team made this website to keep track of their progress during development. As more unit tests are passing, the Heat Map nodes beneath the chart change color to green. At this point in time, they are at 92.2% of completion.

F8 Video Source: The Evolution of React and GraphQL at Facebook and Beyond

My Promise to You

I will continue to update this blog post as the time progresses. So stay tuned, and thank you as always.

Outro

If you enjoyed this blog post or found it helpful in any way, make sure to follow me on Twitter to find out when a new one is available.

Twitter: @giovanni0918

Github: giovanni0918

Website: giovanni-orlando.com