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Modern software can only be built in terms of existing software. The roots of programs we use every day stretch back to the earliest days of computing. Like all infrastructure, the value of this shared structure as a supply chain, and as a conceptual framework, is tremendous. Facebook explicitly takes advantage of these economies by employing “The Hacker Way,” which favors quick, loosely coupled iterations based on existing solutions, over extensive planning and coordination. We have demonstrated that this is a remarkably effective way to develop and improve our products.
At the same time, the requirements for our software products change more quickly than our software environments. Mismatches between product features and the infrastructure we build them on gives rise to bloat and inefficiency in our applications over the long-term. Facebook’s product infrastructure is intended to plug these gaps in order to help product teams to move faster, without sacrificing too much in efficiency or performance.
The most recent shift from a golden age of web-delivered desktop software, to the brave new world of mobile development, has widened many of these gaps, creating room for Facebook projects like React Native, GraphQL and Relay to deliver significant value. This talk will explore some general ideas about how we develop product infrastructure at Facebook, and also how these specific technologies fit together and what that implies about the next generation of mobile infrastructure.
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