How does Facebook cram dozens of features into a mere 2MB application?

Tram Ho

Over the past few years, several major technology corporations like Google, Uber, Spotify and Twitter have been seeking ways to attract billions of mobile device users instead of desktop computers. To gain this new audience, big players have to optimize software services in developing markets such as inaccurate connection, slow Internet speed in cheap mobile devices.

Làm cách nào Facebook nhồi nhét hàng tá tính năng vào một ứng dụng vỏn vẹn 2MB? - Ảnh 1.

Facebook Lite gradually dominates its brother. Photo: Thenextweb.

So developers started designing a Lite version (less than 10 MB) that can run on most phones. The main reason is because many people often uninstall apps to make room for photos, videos or music. The software is also designed to use less network data and it even works when the connection conditions are less stable. As a result, many more compact versions than the main application were born.

Facebook Lite is born

Facebook Lite is a minimalist version of Facebook for users who are having limited devices, networks and data. Compared to the original, the functionality and interface of Facebook Lite is reduced and simplified like a rudimentary mobile website.

Làm cách nào Facebook nhồi nhét hàng tá tính năng vào một ứng dụng vỏn vẹn 2MB? - Ảnh 2.

The early Facebook Lite. Photo: Thenextweb.

Tzach Hadar, director of product management Facebook Lite, said that the first version was built with the purpose of not leaving users behind when using social networks. Facebook says most of them in developing countries use phones of 2013 or older. That class will use Facebook Lite.

In 2017, the group changed its approach to Lite because they wanted to bring a full but unobtrusive experience. That means Lite will give users all the features of the main application.

In recent years, this software has integrated more live video, interaction, and group stories. Now the Lite application is almost identical to the main application. However, it does not have some features like stickers in stories or dating.

All are handled on the server

To make Facebook Lite only 2 MB, Facebook has built a neat interface as well as information processing on the server. Lite transferred all user data to the server, not stored on the machine. This helps applications reduce large amounts of space.

Làm cách nào Facebook nhồi nhét hàng tá tính năng vào một ứng dụng vỏn vẹn 2MB? - Ảnh 3.

Facebook Lite through each year. Photo: Thenextweb.

Dekel Naar, chief engineer of the Facebook Lite team, said it was important to keep the application size low so it would attract a lot of settings on CH Play or the App Store. The company estimates that every 5 Byte drops on the app, they add and retain one user.

He said before Lite existed, people often uninstalled the Facebook app because of space restrictions on phones, even if they wanted to use it.

To reduce application size and test when new features are introduced, engineers use an internally developed bot pair called BuildBot and SizeBot. Buildbot provides information about the difference in capacity between different internal versions, SizeBot notifies developers about the size added features when they add it to the application. That helps product managers eliminate un prioritized parts.

Làm cách nào Facebook nhồi nhét hàng tá tính năng vào một ứng dụng vỏn vẹn 2MB? - Ảnh 4.

Lite will be the future for traditional Facebook. Image; The Verge.

The Naar team is usually proactive in implementing application size reduction projects. They built a special tool called Redex, which is an optimizer for Android files. Facebook used it with another open source optimization tool called ProGuard to reduce application size by 40% and improve run-time performance by up to 25%. After the success of this project, they were able to compress even more features.

Facebook Lite has brought convenience to users. In 2017, there were more than 200 million regular visits per month on the app. According to the statistics of SensorTower , Facebook Lite application has reached 1 billion downloads since 2015. In 2019, Facebook Lite has been downloaded 255.1 million times compared to 337.5 of Facebook.

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Source : Trí Thức Trẻ