Twitter and Facebook will hold their developer conferences this Wednesday (April 13) and next Wednesday (April 21) in San Francisco. It’s a juxtaposition that begs for comparison, so here you have it. We’ll also have coverage from both events throughout the next week.
Twitter’s first Chirp event comes at a time of tension with its developer community. The company is clearly under pressure from its investors’ and its own lofty expectations to become more of a money-generating product and less of an open platform. In the last week Twitter has made clear its intent to compete with Twitter-based startups by buying a select few and building competing branded products. Developers are still getting themselves organized, but they’re meeting today at a Pre-Chirp event and there’s also some momentum to move off Twitter to an open federated standard.
Facebook’s third f8 conference, by contrast, comes at a more stable time. The company roadmapped many of its planned changes in advance, and others have leaked out. But you never know, Facebook isn’t immune to community and developer revolts; the site could always make another privacy preferences change or prune back developer access further.
Twitter is of course launching its Sponsored Tweets product, which it started talking about openly last night. It will also presumably be clarifying and responding to criticism of its relationship with developers.
Among the features Facebook is expected to launch are: location functionality, a fire hose feed, and “a ‘Like’ Button For the Whole Darn Internet.” Also expected is the further opening up of its platform.
Both events are sold out, but will be available through live video streams. Twitter is using Justin.tv and the stream will be available here. Facebook is using Livestream and the stream will be linked to and/or embedded here.
Chirp is notably Twitter-heavy, with a full day of content coming mainly from four of its top execs (CEO Ev Williams and COO Dick Costolo are each speaking twice). It will have just two panels including outsiders, with VCs and people in government and crisis management represented.
Facebook has one name on its agenda so far: Mark Zuckerberg — though its scheduled afternoon tracks on new tools, best practices, industry strategies and its open-source projects will presumably include a range of other speakers.
Twitter is hosting a 24-hour Hack Day that starts after the main Chirp agenda and goes into the next day. It will include a variety of office hours by Twitter employees and talks on more specific topics like Cassandra, the mobile web, and Twitter and the media. Apps developed at the event will be showcased at the end. Tickets are still available and they’re cheaper than the full pass.
Facebook, by contrast, is hosting an “intimate” day-after hackathon to which you have to apply.
The Chirp pass base price was $469 with Hack Day-only passes at $140. f8 tickets were $425 or cheaper with an early discount. Chirp is at the majestic Palace of Fine Arts (which is really a theater setting) with the Hack Day at Fort Mason. Facebook is at the The Concourse at San Francisco Design Center on the south side of the city.
(Then, if you want to see how a massive public web company does a developer conference, stick around till next month’s Google I/O, which is at the big-daddy conference location Moscone.)
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