Facebook's iPad app was done in May, developer defects to Google

Facebook's iPad app has been reportedly feature-complete for five months now, but the company has been continuously delaying it. The lead developer has quit to go work for Google.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Facebook engineer Jeff Verkoeyen has quit and has taken a job on Google's mobile team, which he worked at for a few months in 2007. He said he made the move out of frustration over Facebook's failure to release its iPad app, which he led development for and says has been feature-complete since May.

This new information suggests Facebook's iPad app has been has been complete for five months. Verkoeyen was based in Toronto (ditto!) while working at Facebook between June 2010 and August 2011. He said he put in up to 80-hour work weeks to complete it for an imminent release that never came, for various reasons.

The original Apple iPad was released 17 months ago: in April 2010. An iPad version of the Facebook app has been expected since pretty much day one. Facebook is the most popular app on almost every mobile platform, if not all of them. Since there's no official version for Apple's tablet, there are countless third-party Facebook iPad apps that are very popular, even though most of them suck.

Apple isn't to blame here though – Facebook is. While Microsoft develops the Facebook app for Windows Phone, and Research In Motion develops the Facebook app for the BlackBerry OS, the social networking giant develops the dedicated Facebook app for iOS and Android.

In fact, RIM actually beat Facebook to the punch and released the first dedicated tablet app for the social network. If RIM can quickly release a decent Facebook app for its BlackBerry PlayBook, Facebook not doing the same for the Apple iPad is clearly not due to technical reasons.

Earlier this month, Facebook for iOS version 3.5 was released. In the new version, Facebook removed the unofficial iPad version that was discovered inside the app a few months ago.

This led to the latest rumor, which suggested we might finally see the official app at Facebook's 2011 f8 developer conference. Unfortunately, it didn't make the cut, again. Optimists think it may finally be unveiled during the rumored Apple event on October 4.

Verkoeyen's original post has been pulled, but the Facebook iPad app part has been saved. I've republished it below, courtesy of The Next Web:

I've had many people question why I would quit working for Facebook. It's a complicated answer, but it's related to the fact that since January of this year I was the lead engineer on Facebook's iPad app.

The app still hasn't been released, though it was infamously leaked via Techcrunch. It was feature-complete in May and for reasons I won't go into details on the app was repeatedly delayed throughout the summer. Over the past 8 months I dedicated a significant amount of time toward building this app, sometimes putting in over 80 hours of work in a given week in the hopes of meeting the "perpetually moving two-weeks-away launch date" every software developer fears.

After the app reached feature completion in May and I was told that it was going to be delayed yet again, I stopped working on the project entirely. A few weeks later I decided to focus my energy on the Nimbus project.

It is now nearly 5 months since the app was feature complete and I haven't seen it released except for when the project was leaked on Techcrunch. Needless to say this was a frustrating experience for me. The experience of working on this app was a large contribution to the reasons why I left Facebook, though that doesn't mean it wasn't a difficult decision.

I learned a lot during my time at Facebook. Facebook is truly an exciting place to work at and I am sad that my experience there was less than ideal. I had the great privilege of working closely with some of the best designers in the industry and shadowing David Recordon as we looked into the possibility of me working on their open source team. I spent a significant amount of time thinking about what I wanted to do and decided in the end that I needed to switch things up and step away from Facebook.

I wish them the best of luck going forward. Timeline was an incredible launch and I look forward to following the company's progress going forward.

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