Facebook’s Favorite Hacks Of 2013


AirTrafficControlFacebook hackathons have led to many new features that were incorporated into the social network, and Facebook Engineering shared its favorite hacks of 2013 in a note on its page.

Facebook Engineering said in introducing its list:

Every six weeks or so, Facebook employees come together for hackathons to code on projects they are passionate about. Historically, hackathons would happen overnight, but this year, we started doing three-day, daytime hacks so everyone — regardless of team, project, or personal obligations — could get a chance to build something meaningful outside their usual day job.

Some well-known Facebook products have come out of hackathons, including chat, Timeline, video, tagging in comments, and even the like button.

And the winning hacks were:

  • Air Traffic Control (pictured above): Open-source software was used to simulate specific network conditions for mobile devices and record traffic, in an effort to improve the Facebook experience in developing countries or areas with poor connectivity, and Facebook engineers use Air Traffic Control to test application behavior and optimize bandwidth and battery usage.
  • Shared Photo Albums: This feature, which was rolled out to all Facebook users in August, allows multiple users to upload photos to the same albums.


  • Power Player: This tool helps Facebook engineers quickly visualize how CPU usage, network access, and GPS usage each corresponded to different slopes of battery drain for iPhones.




  • Self-Upgrading Network: A tool built by a group of Facebook engineers to automate infrastructure maintenance evolved into a system allowing engineers across all teams to perform push-button upgrades with a scheduling mechanism.



Readers: Which hack was your favorite?