With Tuesday's release of Flow, an open source static type checker, Facebook engineers are continuing their recent efforts to seed the community at large with tools built in-house.
Facebook has been busy of late developing tools and contributing them to the community. Flow follows the revelation of Facebook at Work, a collaboration tool to compete with similar technologies from Google, LinkedIn, and Microsoft. Like Flow, Facebook at Work is in early stages of testing. The company also recently open-sourced its Chef "cookbooks" for devops with more to come.
This summer, Facebook revealed intentions to offer via open source a library for building native Apple iOS application interfaces, called AsyncDisplayKit. Previously, Facebook's HHVM source code transformer for PHP, also known as HipHop Virtual Machine, drew the backing of PHP founder Rasmus Lerdorf. Facebook even developed a PHP spinoff called Hack that leverages HHVM.
"[Facebook is] trying to create a platform of services and connect developers to it," analyst Jeffrey Hammond, of Forrester Research, said in an email on Tuesday. "In some ways they are like Salesforce, but where Salesforce knows a lot about customers, Facebook knows a lot about potential customers. And the more developers connects value-added services and content to Facebook, the more likely they will be able to attract and keep users."