Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why, Facebook?!?! Why?!?!

I think the development team at Facebook recently had a collective brain aneurysm. I've been on a number of development teams, so I know a little something about how to roll out software and especially about rolling out updates to existing software. The number one rule is don't break things. That seems to be pretty obvious, but I don't think the Web 2.0 programmer dudes understand it. Facebook, at its most basic, is about seeing status updates from a group of people that I selected. The new Facebook makes that at best a chore, and at worst impossible. I now have to sift through literally hundreds of "updates" that aren't. I honestly don't care which of the people on my friends list just friended someone I've never met in my life. I don't care who just became a fan of "Ice Cream" or "Pet Shop Boys" or "Humping My Pillow". And if all that wasn't bad enough, they seem to have broken the entire update display function. Sometimes I get a few updates that display automatically. Sometimes I have to hit the Home button. Sometimes I have to hit a random number in a little oval at the top of the screen. Sometimes I have to hit F5 to reload the whole mess. Sometimes I have to log completely out of Facebook, then log back in. Sometimes I have to do all of the above repeatedly with each action displaying a few new random status updates mixed in with ones that were already displayed. And then there are the people that Facebook just doesn't like, because no matter what you do, their status updates just don't show unless you go to their wall.

And what's with the Suggestions? This used to show me one or two people that were friends of friends that were not in my friends list. That was reasonable. Now it only shows me people that are already friends with suggestions I should give them on how to make their profile less lame ("Suggest a photo that doesn't make their ass look so fat"), or how they seem like friendless dorks and maybe I should help them out a little by sending a few suggestions their way. And what is the percent-active thing supposed to tell me other than not everyone in the universe has given up all productive activity and devoted 100% of their life to Facebook? Who, other than a complete attention whore, would want to be "100% active" on Facebook?

Why did they eliminate the New Requests box? Now when someone sends me an invite or friend request, the only way I can respond is to bring up the e-mail I get from Facebook and click on the link it provides. Otherwise, I have no idea how to get to the Requests screen. I'm sure if I poked around I could find some back-door way to get to that screen, but why should I have to? Having a link show up at the top of my Home page when I had outstanding requests was a perfectly adequate way to notify me and gave me an easy way to deal with it. Why that was removed or moved to some obscure corner is beyond me.

And whoever works on the Notifications pop-up needs to be horsewhipped. Showing me a list that is taller than my browser window without a scroll bar is just plain sloppy. If I had done something that stupid and shipped it to a customer, I'd have been fired on the spot.

Now I know there are people out there that will take me to task, saying things like "Yea, well just a couple years ago, there was no Facebook" like that is some sort of excuse for faceplanting a roll-out. I'm not complaining about the inevitable flaws of a brand new product. What has my panties in a bunch (and they're very pretty pink panties with lots of lace) is breaking features that already existed and already worked. That is nothing more than sloppy coding combined with lax or non-existent testing and a management team that has become too busy with their power lunches to mind the store.

This post will also mark a change in how things I post here will cross-post to Facebook. The standard way of accomplishing that just wasn't working for me. Both of our blog posts were showing up in my Facebook leading to all sorts of confusion, and the hatchet job Facebook did to our posts that contained anything other than plain text were just too painful for me to look at. So for now, I'll be cross-posting to Facebook by purely manual means.

And it's bed time.


Debbie said... I am very HAPPY to not have drank the Facebook Koolaid!

(and nah...he doesn't have pink lacy panties ... they are hot purple and lime green!) ;-)

GreatMatt said...

That's weird! I'm not really having any problems. I just have to click on the Live News Feed, and I get everything. And you can download a greasemonkey script for FireFox that hides basically everything but status updates. I haven't had any of the other problems you mention. Not sure why. Oh, and my new requests box is showing at the upper right, just like it always has. I think the real question is how did they break it so badly for some people, but not others?

Ric said...

Actually, today wasn't bad. The Live Feed actually is and things in general seem to have stabilized a bit. I'm still annoyed at the poor signal-to-noise ratio, but I'll look into the script and see how that cleans things up. I guess I just get grumpy about being used as an alpha tester by lazy and/or incompetent organizations.