Facebook couldn’t fit all developers for its F8 conference into San Francisco’s Fort Mason any more, so F8 will take place at San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center on April 18th and 19th, 2017.
Registration hasn’t started yet but will follow the same rules as last year, which you’ll want to follow if you’re trying to get a seat since it always sells out quickly. Luckily it’s not just some first-come, first-serve chaos, but you can pre-sign-up here to get updates.
Facebook will personally invite partners, and everyone else will have to apply during the registration period with an explanation about why they want to go and why they should be there. Those selected will be expected to buy a ticket, which cost $595, about 1/3 the price of an Apple WWDC ticket.
The now-annual conference will feature two days of keynotes, typically structured with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s big talk and lots of core Facebook product news the first day, and deep dives into Facebook’s more futuristic 10-year plan technologies like VR and Internet connectivity on the second day. There will be over 45 sessions where developers can learn about how to take advantage of Facebook’s existing platforms and the new stuff it announces.
New Analytics For Apps Features
While Facebook frequently holds smaller press events and consumer product launches, it typically reserves big developer announcements for F8. However, it was supposed to hold a small event for its partners of its FbStart program, which hooks up developers with free credits for different development tools, plus extra access to integration assistance from Facebook.
But instead Facebook cancelled the event and told us the news it was going to announce. Facebook’s Analytics For Apps system is now adding support for web measurement and cross-platform metrics. It says “53% of people who own two devices switch between them to complete tasks or activities, and 77% of people who have three or more devices do the same.” That’s why developers will be able to understand user behavior across devices.
There’s also new features that let developers integrate offline information about customers such as demographics, CRM data, and profile information from a developer’s app. New Sharing Insights metrics will help developers predict which content will go viral, and advertisers can target users who shared something from their website with a revamped Custom Audiences feature. Expect more analytics features at F8 2017.
F8, Past And Future
It’s too far out to tell what Facebook will launch at its 2017 conference, but here’s a quick run-down of the biggest announcements from all the previous F8s:
2007 – The Facebook Platform for building apps and games
2008 – Facebook Connect for logging in to other websites with your Facebook credentials
2010 – Facebook’s Social Plugins including the Like button for sharing from external websites
2011 – The Facebook Timeline profile and the Open Graph platform for auto-sharing from apps
2014 – Facebook Audience Network mobile ad network for helping developers monetize
2015 – The Facebook Messenger Platform for building lightweight content sharing chat apps
2016 – The Facebook Messenger Bot Platform for building conversational chatbot interfaces
The 2017 plan should come into focus early next year, but here are two big opportunities for Facebook on the developer front.
It’s been rebuilding its games platform with a Steam-style desktop app originally called Facebook Games Arcade. Facebook could announce significant new capabilities for game developers, from ways to port games from other platforms to analytics to monetization to livestreaming gameplay footage.
Voice has the power to become a much more prevalent computing interface now that speech recognition has improved and wearable devices like wireless earbuds are proliferating. Facebook acquired voice and chat interface development platform Wit.ai last year and could possibly reveal new voice controls for Facebook and easy ways for developers to build these capabilities into its new apps.