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Facebook Revives Its Annual F8 Developer Conference

Facebook Revives Its Annual F8 Developer Conference
By Barry Levine

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"Building a hit app and finding people who will love it is really hard," said Ilya Sukhar, CEO of Facebook's mobile back-end service Parse, in a post on Facebook's blog. Making that app into a money maker is "even harder," Sukhar said, and helping developers solve these problems "is why we're doing F8" again after a three-year hiatus.

Facebook, which used to hold annual developer conferences and then stopped, announced this weekend that the conference is on again.

The conference, called F8, had been held yearly in San Francisco from 2007 to 2011. Like many other company conferences -- such as ones held by Microsoft, Google or Apple -- F8 was an occasion for Facebook to announce news. The last several conferences were skipped, as the company focused on its transition to mobile.

The Facebook Timeline and Open Graph platform, for instance, were debuted at the 2011 F8 conference and the Like button at 2010's. The 2011 conference, focused on desktop applications, also included comedian Andy Sandberg doing an impersonation of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

What Will Facebook Show?

The reinstating of the conference means that speculation will now commence as to what Facebook has up its sleeve for this year's occasion.

The gathering will occur April 30 at the San Francisco Design Center and will focus on mobile. As the center of computing has turned to mobile devices, Facebook has increased its mobile presence.

In a posting Saturday on the Facebook blog, Ilya Sukhar, CEO of Facebook's mobile back-end service Parse, said that "building a hit app and finding people who will love it is really hard," and making that app into a money maker is "even harder." He added that helping developers solve these problems "is why we're doing F8."

The conference will feature a keynote address in the morning, and smaller sessions about getting started, technical best practices, infrastructure strategies, advertising tips, and engineering "deep dives."

Facebook told news media the company will go "back to our roots" and have a "pure developer conference."

New Look for Pages

In other Facebook news, the company announced Monday it was rolling out a new look for its business-oriented Pages for the desktop. The new design is intended to make it easier for users to find information and for admins to find tools.

Key new features include a right-side column of the timeline that shows all of the posts for the Page, and a left-side column with information about a business, such as a map, hours of business, phone number, photos, videos and Web site URL.

There are now new navigation options on the top of the Page, and a Build Audience menu provides direct access to the Ads Manager account. Admins also have access to a new Pages to Watch feature in the Page Insights tools. On the Facebook for Business blog, the company said that Pages to Watch "allows admins to create a list of Pages similar to their own and compare the performance of their Page with that of the business they care about."

An Overview tab offers key stats about the Pages being watched, and a Posts tab enables the viewing of the "most engaging posts" from Pages being watched.

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