[Social] Facebook and XMPP?

Adam Nemeth aadaam at gmail.com
Wed Feb 25 03:31:45 CST 2009

Hi Aaron,

I'm mainly a web developer too. Let me clear some of your issues.


Facebook is a web company.

They don't have too much knowledge on how XMPP protocol works as a
company, but they have really a lot of knowledge on how to scale web
applications. Facebook chat itself is also scalable it seems, with its
REST-fashion. Not bad.


Facebook does not have interest currently on direct federation.

Federation is done by friendfeed in that world. Therefore, Facebook
has no interest in providing s2s for us.

Second and a half, not to mention, we have no numbers on how much this
chat is actually used. It's really likely that not too much. It's a
bit hidden, unreliable, and neverless the subnetwork of my friends who
I actually communicate with daily is already on my IM list.

As a direct consequence of our second point:

Facebook would be only interested in c2s support.

Third: Since Facebook Chat was reverse engineered by this clever guy:
http://coderrr.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/facebook-chat-api/ - and since
that, Adium, and later pidgin / libpurple implemented this REST-based
API. Therefore,

the major multi-IM clients now has / can have support for facebook chat.

As a direct consequence, there would be no business advance for
facebook to continue its XMPP project.

You need to understand that REST protocols are so common nowadays that
a lot of people understand them. You need to understand that XMPP is
an overly difficult protocol sometimes compared to those. (Look at
getting an avatar via vcard vs. having an image url).

And, to say some good news at the end at last,

the Bluendo team has done a facebook transport

(since they both understand XMPP well and have a knowledge on REST
protocols), so soon you'll be able to use facebook chat from any XMPP
client hopefully.

So, I think, this is how the world goes for now. it's an economic
downturn after all: you don't want to pay for something which would
have no business advantage for you. And, in some - less enthusiastic -
level, there's nothing wrong with this.

I'll maybe expelled from the church for this :) but I still do believe
in XMPP, however, our original approach seem to collapse... (have you
heard that facebook inbox nor myspace mail has no SMTP support nor
federation? have you heard teenies use this instead regular email? and
there's no too much spam on them because of this closedness?)


Kevin, please, don't mix microblogging here. This has nothing to do
with people chatting with each other. And it's already embarassing
enough that we seem to shift focus...

On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 9:34 AM, Aaron Miller <aaron at bookglutton.com> wrote:
> Seems to point to a larger issue. With over 100 million users, we need them
> in the game. Otherwise, it's just Google on the numbers. Why isn't this
> protocol important to Web communities? I'm primarily a web developer, who
> has integrated XMPP through BOSH on my own network, and even integrating
> with Google is a difficult prospect, since they only implement a few
> extensions. Not just that, but the social aspect of it: people associate
> XMPP with IM, and this is somehow antithetical to the old in-out missionary
> style of server-client HTTP. Personally, I don't believe this, but from
> contact with the Web community, I know it to be true.
> I like XMPP, but seriously, from the Web side of things, I think the
> perspective must be that this is somehow competing with more HTTP-centric
> things like Atom, APP and REST. Or just that this is too difficult and/or
> buggy to deal with. Personally, I think it could bring a new dimension to
> the Web. And I think a lot of Web folks think so. For a bit, it seemed that
> Twitter was almost going to do it, and a few others too. But something
> always rears its head to deter people from experimenting too much with XMPP.
> I'd like to see something happen to change this. I know that's kind of what
> this list has been about. Just throwing  this out there as a tidbit from the
> other side, since the list has been quiet for so long ... food for thought.
> Aaron
> On Feb 24, 2009, at 10:56 AM, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
>> Steffen Larsen wrote:
>>> So I belive that they only use XMPP internally and haven't opened' it up
>>> to the public?. Anyone know why?..
>> My understanding is that it's not a high-priority project for them and
>> they don't have a developer to dedicate to it.
>> Peter
>> --
>> Peter Saint-Andre
>> https://stpeter.im/

Aadaam <aadaam at gmail.com>

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