Facebook Releases Several New Open Source Tools for Video, VR

Like most 21st-century companies, Facebook is all about the user experience, or UX. That's what all the new tools help create.

F8.2017

Facebook, itself built on layers of open source code and hardware blueprints, has made it a point to serve as a wellspring of sorts for the open source community--even before it came into money from its IPO in 2012.

The social network demonstrated this commitment once again April 18 on Day 1 of its F8 Conference at the San Jose Convention Center, when it released several new open source tools that the open source world undoubtedly will welcome.

The new releases are designed to help developers handle the largest problem Facebook has faced in the last three or four years: providing effective, secure management for video and virtual reality content inside its huge ecosystem.

This also applies to content producers. As more and more people come online each day, and at varying network speeds, the challenge to produce simultaneously accessible and bandwidth-consuming content—mainly in video—grows for all Facebook users and developers.

It's All About the User Experience

Like most 21st century companies, Facebook is all about the user experience, or UX. So, in order to maintain a faster and more efficient UX--while at the same time preserving a top-flight developer experience--Facebook engineers created the following scalable frameworks for app, video and VR content, which were all released April 18.

These projects include:

Litho:  This is a declarative framework for building efficient UIs on Android. This framework aims to greatly increase Android user interfaces. Go here for more information.

React Fiber (also look for React 16.0):  This is a backwards-compatible rewrite of React Native's core, which will enable developers to use React's flexible code to produce content-rich experiences for people using low-end devices.

Facebook has rewritten React, its JavaScript library for building user interfaces. The company has been quiet about this project for a long while, but it’s apparently ready to talk about in more detail now. Facebook plans to release the new version when React 16.0 is launched later this year.

Relay Modern (also look for GraphQL): This is a new version of Facebook's Javascript Framework, designed to simplify API (application programming interface) requests. Go here for more details.

React VR:  Released April 18, this new library will allow any JavaScript developer to build and deploy compelling VR experiences. Go here for more details.

The F8 2017 conference concludes April 19.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...