Teaching how to build Facebook Apps

Interesting piece of article many people read and quoted from Read/Write Web blog this week.

Dr. BJ Fogg and Dave McClure taught a class last semester at Stanford on Building Facebook Applications. In 10 weeks, the 80 students had created 50+ applications and in total had over 20 Million installs – with 5 having more than 1 million users. At today’s Graphing Social Patterns conference, BJ and his two teacher assistants shared 10 tips they learned from the experience. Here they are:

  1. It’s never too late to create a winning app
  2. Simplicity & clarity are key to app success
  3. Aim for speed & flexibility in launch and iterations
  4. Community cooperation leads to success (in other words, the most successful students shared the most)
  5. Individual opinion about apps are worthless, you need to get out there and see what happens
  6. Copying success is a cheap / fast way to succeed
  7. Metrics do matter, but today’s tools are too weak
  8. You CAN learn to create a winning app
  9. Success comes from the CHAOS / CONTROL Cycle
  10. Mass Interpersonal Persuasion is finally here

I really appreciated this follow-up post on the Disruptive Conversations blog.

To that end, what a great way to use Facebook to teach application development! The students:

  1. Can very easily see their end result (their app) in usage;
  2. Can compete with each other to see whose app gets more usage (which may drive further development/innovation);
  3. Can get real feedback from users outside their regular sphere (i.e. « regular » Facebook users not just Stanford students);
  4. Gain excellent experience and job skills for post-college employment;
  5. Potentially get job offers now if their app is cool enough;
  6. Learn all the other skills outside of just programming, such as metrics, marketing, customer interaction, etc.

I wonder what kind of topics and technologies are now teached during the Software Development Project at my University.


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