I’ll be frank: the bit of code for importing flights from our friends at FlightMemory to OpenFlights has long been riddled with bugs, and that’s why we’ve at long last thrown out the bulk of the plumbing and rebuilt it with shiny new pipe. This has already fixed a number of bugs (most notably, accented characters getting lost), but there may be loose fittings somewhere, so please let us know ASAP if something’s leaking on the floor somewhere. The next roaches in queue to be swatted are this (can’t handle ICAO codes for airlines) and this (duplicates in database). And if you’d be really keen on one-step imports (that is, give the site your FM password and it’ll slurp up all your flights), now would be a good time to say so!
Like many other developers, I have hated the way Facebook handles applications for a long time: the APIs are buggy as hell, poorly documented, change constantly, crippled beyond belief, completely proprietary, a vast pain to test and debug, and increasingly obviously geared towards moving everything off the open Web and into Facebook itself. But with several thousand OpenFlights users happily using the app, we put up with the pain.
But now the camel’s back is broken. Only a few short weeks ago, Facebook announced that profile boxes were doomed and that all applications had to migrate to profile tabs. We duly did so, only to get smacked in the face with another wet trout: as of today, profile tabs are also gone. Their replacement? Nothing: all applications have to live on their own pages within Facebook, and users aren’t allowed to attach them to their profiles in any way, shape or form. Too bad if you want to share your flight map with your friends, because as of now, you can’t.
So we’re going to do the only thing we can: say a nice, big hearty “fuck you” to Facebook and start looking for alternatives. Any suggestions?
(And just to be clear: the part of the OpenFlights Facebook app that feeds your flights to your Wall is not affected and not going away for the moment. However, it’s a matter of time until Facebook breaks it again, and at that point we’ll probably nuke the app for good.)