Facebook is tapping into two of its favorite things with the news it is open sourcing one of its mobile development products.
That product is Infer, a static program analyzer originally built to identify bugs before mobile code is shipped.
Infer is touted to be able to find more complex problems in an application built from millions of lines of code as fast as within minutes.
Within Facebook, Infer has been used for analyzing edited code when submitted for review. So far, Infer has identified "hundreds of potential bugs" on a monthly basis. The fix rate is said to be around 80 percent.
Among the apps within Facebook's portfolio already using Infer include the standard Facebook apps for Android and iOS, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
Facebook software engineers Cristiano Calcagno, Dino Distefano and Peter O'Hearn explained further in a blog post how the code testing process is actually "mobile platforms than on the web."
The team elaborated:
When a bug is discovered on the web, a fix can immediately be shipped to servers, but in order for a bug fix to take effect on mobile, people have to update their apps. There is thus added value in catching bugs early, before they are shipped to people's phones. Combining static analysis with automated tests helps Facebook find crashes and memory leaks before they are shipped, helping us to keep moving fast on mobile.
By making Infer available to the masses, Facebook's team said mobile developers won't have to spend as much time on testing and fixing bugs.
The added return for developers (and Facebook, which holds mobile everything close to its heart and bottom line) would ideally be more free time for building yet even more mobile products in the long run.
Although Facebook currently only deploys Infer for Android and Objective-C code on its apps, the bug bot could be deployed for different future products being that Infer can already analyze C projects and Java code that is not Android.
Infer is available to download directly from Facebook now.