Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Fabric – Mobile developer platform by Twitter (dev.twitter.com)
201 points by lalwanivikas on Oct 22, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 70 comments

Kind of underwhelmed after reading the Wired article:


It's... fine. But given Twitter's history of dev antagonism I am not about to create apps that rely on them as a backend. Sorry.

I think a lot of people are in the same boat. Would I use this after seeing how Twitter have treated people using their API in the past? No way.

Without the kinds of explicit committments in licensing or API access that no board of directors would ever go for, I have to think they're sowing the seeds for a round of acquisitions.

Thank you for saying that.

You hit the nail on the head. Twitter built an empire on the backs of devs using their API, then left them to rot or actively burned them directly as soon as the money got real.

As they say: fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

From reading the front page, I have absolutely no idea what this is. A cross-compiler? A build tool? Some pre-package presets?

In what language will I code? Can I reuse code across platforms? Is all this trouble Solved. when I use Fabric?

Exactly my thoughts. There are so many dev tools out there but I can never figure out what they actually do by reading the info on their landing pages. All I get is a bunch of buzzwords and empty promises.

Somewhere buried deep in this "experience" is a way to add twitter sign in to my iOS app. Can you just give me a link to the darn framework so I can download it and drag it into my XCode project like EVERY OTHER FRAMEWORK I EVER USE HAS? Why must I install some toolbar client and inject some script into my Xcode build process. Somehow these things are talking to each other. It got me into this state where it broke my iOS app build. And now im stuck.

I share your frustration. All it does it install a framework in the root of the project, then add a build script that calls `<executable> <some ID> <some other ID>`. Boths IDs are available on the website, so you can set up crashlytics without using their stupid toolbar.

The framework's available here as a cocoapod: http://cocoapods.org/?q=crashlytics

Yeah, using "platform" for just a bunch of libraries that are vaguely related is quite linkbaitish. This doesn't solve any of the issues a 'platform' or framework would solve. It just gives you an easy way to link said libraries to your project.

In other words, this is just native advertising.

That appears to be an invention of whoever posted this. They do not call it a platform on the site anywhere I can see.

Great questions and apologies that you're not getting all of those answers from the linked landing page.

There is a lot more information on the developer site http://dev.twitter.com/fabric and there are also now replays of the sessions from Flight available https://twittercommunity.com/t/missed-flight-we-got-you-cove... (YouTube playlist, blog posts and livestream replay linked from there)

They appear to be libraries for iOS and android.

No WP support from a tech company of this scale? Simply embarrassing.

Twitter's blog post on Fabric is much clearer than the linked page: https://blog.twitter.com/2014/introducing-fabric.

Fabric seems to be a brand under which Twitter offers modular 'kits', or SDKs for two of its major acquisitions (Crashlytics, MoPub) and the Sign-in with Twitter product. It's unclear if this is a new wrapper around existing SDKs/APIs, or a new, simplified SDK/API for these products.


I received an invite and installed it. The plugin is Crashlytics + Twitter and MoPub integration.

I'm sure Fabric (http://www.fabfile.org/) will be none too pleased about this name choice.

And Fabric.js!


And Jo-Ann Fabric: http://www.joann.com

And Fabric the night club: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabric_(club)

Also, lets not forget Fabric Engine (http://fabricengine.com/)

VMWare vFabric too (but discontinued last month) - http://www.vmware.com/products/vfabric/overview

If you choose a dictionary word to name your startup or library or whatever, you're just asking for a collision.

We are talking about Twitter here. They can't avoid collisions even inside their own company:

https://www.twitterflight.com/ and http://flightjs.github.io/

Well, because there's <ANY_WORD>.js. It's quite obvious that the links you copied have hardly any overlap, and I much prefer a simple generic name rather than a made up word which is hard to remember and doesn't make much sense.

Hijacking existing names is in vogue ever since Apple used Swift and Metal.

They updated the Wikipedia quite swiftly branding the actual swift as a "scripting language".

Well, at least it's not as bad as "Go".

That's very true, although I am proud that the language is the top result when googling for "go". Kind of shows all other professions their place.

Well, that's not true since Google has personalised results and for most people "go" will return pages about Go game.

Poor naming of this. What about popular python library and command line application (http://www.fabfile.org/)

It's hard to forget how Twitter treated 3rd party client developers with their surprise 100k max users limit per app.

I met the executive driving this project earlier this year. He explained to me that Twitter only cares about one metric: growth.

In particular they are hyper-focused on signing up new Twitter users and then "on-boarding" them so that they can follow other users, posts tweets etc. within the first session. That means that products using the Twitter platform need to be focused on that too.

Twitter wanted to position themselves around three core features:

* the feed itself * the platform (recent third-party hooks/features such as voting (World Cup) and payments (Stripe et al) are part of this) * developer tools

It was explained to me that the latter was needed because too often Twitter felt that social/twitter features were "bolted on" too often at the end of projects, meaning that the integration was naturally segregated from the other features.

Twitter felt that for developers to create products that were inherently social, they would need to provide the tools to build those products themselves, and that social integration would be encouraged early in the product development cycle.

Fabric appears to be the first output of this strategy.

Upvoted and thanks for your input.

I find this choice of name particularly egregious. It's not just the existence of current projects [1] and common use in technology prior [2], but the source.

Twitter, being Twitter could call this whatever they wanted.

"Yolk" or whatever would make just as many front pages.

I don't see how "Fabric" can do anything but serve someone inside Twitter who likes the name while being inconvenient / irrelevant to everyone else.

1: http://www.fabfile.org/

2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switched_fabric

How do you think these types of things should be resolved?

I believe trial by combat is the only reasonable option

SEO combat.

WTF. I click the link "Get started with fabric" and start the signup process, and then it says "we'll be in touch" like this was a beta invite-only thing? Seriously false advertising. I doubt I'll look at it, even if I ever do get confirmed now.

I'm sure little old me doesn't matter to them in the grand scheme of things, but I absolutely hate crap like this. Tricking me into registering by pretending to have a product I can try immediately is just plain stupid. I lose all respect for projects that do this as a first impression.

Agreed. It was pretty disappointing to sign up on a "Try it now" form and then be told I'm on a waiting list without mentioning that before. Was looking forward to trying the Crashlytics Beta offering, but I suppose I'll look elsewhere for beta distribution.

When I saw the name I was expecting a full mobile app framework like ionic or something that combines ui with build tools like cordova.

Looks just like a collection of backend services that you can include in your apps today without this framework if you really wanted them.

Hopefully more info will be released because I am not seeing anything here..

Same here - what I understood is this is "login with twitter"

Wonder if sign in tokens are still limited. There are so many horror stories about popular hitting the user limit and being unable to grow any more. Don't really trust Twitter enough to invest the time to read to find out after they've auto-banned some of my games for being able to Tweet scores and "being too much like a Twitter client".

This is all quite confusing. I decided to try it out: so I downloaded Fabric.app (OSX), and signed up for a trial account. Somehow I was put in a pre-existing group when I signed up, with 8 other members whose email address I didn't recognize. Then, when I fired up Fabric.app, it goes into the menu bar and sits there. Does nothing. Asks me to select an XCode project (only lists my existing XCode projects) and doesn't really go further until I login. That's very unfriendly so I decided to quit until I learn more about it - oh, there's no quit option in the menu. Seems like Fabric.app has installed itself and wants to sit there .. forever .. doing .. something? I see no need for that in an developer platform, so 'kill `pidof Fabric`' it is, for me .. until I at least RTFM and find out what all the fuss is about.

Bad Aji!

Hey there! Hmm seems strange -- I'm from the Fabric team and I'd love to chat more about this. Mind dropping me a note at support@fabric.io? Thanks :-)

Maybe it is a new social network? Congrats on getting 8 followers already ;)

Seems like it's a collection of independent SDKs for iOS and Android. Some of the back-end services that you can use with these SDKs are new, such as "Digits".

For Android, they also have an IDE plugin for configuring the libraries, which is nice... But does not quite make this a "platform" IMO.

"Our passion is building tools that make developers’ lives easier."

Is it? I thought it was distributing 140 character messages in an eventually consistent manner.

I've read the whole page and I genuinely can't tell what this product is. Is it like PhoneGap - develop once, deploy to multiple targets?

Watch the live stream at dev.twitter.com/flightlive.

@CharlesMerriam2 - more info will be published after the presentations happening right now.

I thought this was going to be more like Parse or Angular/Ionic but it's not even close. I can't envision a single usage scenario even remotely similar to the high level description.

This actually really bugs me as a Crashlytics user. I'd much rather they stop trying to bundle it themselves and just list these so they can be used by the already established package management out there - Gradle/Maven and Cocoapods. Having to install an IDE plugin just to get a library feels like the dark ages.

Releasing libraries tied to IDEs sound like an absolute nightmare to have to maintain over time. Package managers exist for exactly this reason - I have no idea how anyone at Twitter could have ever thought this was a good idea.

So this is unrelated to the Fabric tools for managing devices? There is zero information on the website before asking to agree to rather long legal agreement and give you permission to spam my email. You have an opportunity to improve your on-boarding.

So.. It will be like Cordova/PhoneGap/Ionic? It is so unclear from that page.

Curious why you need a menubar install for 3 dependencies. Really?...

Parse gets it, has an awesome cocoapod.

Also does anyone know if you use their Digits login solution if you get the phone number or do they store it? Couldn't tell from the docs.

Are there really so few words that have no real point or relation to a product that new ones can't pick a different word from old ones.


That logic applies to this too, unless it was the first thing called Fabric.

It only applies if you can list some previous technology projects called Fabric.

Sign up page not working in Chrome on OS X - Yosemite. Works in Safari/FF.

I couldn't make any sense of the landing page. What exactly is this?

"Our passion is building tools that make developers’ lives easier." Who is "Our" referring to?? Since when did Twitter become Atlassian?

That was probably said by the head of the Crashlytics team at Twitter.

so, will this be the mobile equivalent to bootstrap?

AFAIK, this is just an attempt to put Twitter products in mobile apps. Nothing revolutionary here

So they can arbitrarily screw them over later?

It was my initial thought, but this is a little different. It's to use in an existing app and not building an app for twitter. At least that's what I got.

Yet you still need a Mac to make iPhone apps.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact