Facebook open sourcing Paper's animation engine Pop

With F8 on Wednesday, this is likely only the first of many mobile-related reveals from Facebook this week.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Facebook is kicking off the week with opening up and sharing a framework behind one of its newer products, Paper.

The backbone of Facebook's digital news reader app stems from its 2011 acquisition of interactive iPad book maker Push Pop Press.

Thus, aptly named "Pop," the animation engine is responsible for all of the transitions and animations displayed on Paper, including all scrolling, bouncing, and unfolding effects.

Software engineer Kimon Tsinteris, who co-founded Push Pop Press before joining Facebook, highlighted in a blog post on Monday how iOS is particularly supportive of these static animations.

The innovation of touch interfaces has ushered in a new wave of software design. Direct manipulation of on-screen elements has removed one level of indirection, which in turn has raised our expectations of the screen as a medium. If objects respond to our touches, they should also respond to the velocity of our flick.

Tsinteris explained further that Pop was designed to serve as an "an extensible framework," so that developers could integrate their own animation codes for producing unique effects.


Still only available for the iPhone after launching earlier this year, Facebook executives touted during last week's earnings call that Paper is already a success in its first few months — although user numbers and activity metrics have not been divulged.

Facebook has been more frequently open sourcing a number of products from its developer and engineering teams, much of which can be traced back to the social media behemoth's commitment to the Open Compute Project.

It's going to be a big week for the world's largest social network.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company is moving the spotlight up to San Francisco on Wednesday with its first developer summit in three years.

Following up a stellar first quarter earnings report last week, which saw revenue — fueled by mobile ads — triple, Facebook is expected to unveil a mobile ad network of its own that would be pegged against the likes of Google and Twitter.

Screenshot via Facebook

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