May 05, 2009, 11:38 AM — MySpace developers can now make their applications available for testing to anyone who is on their list of friends at the social-networking site.
With the move, MySpace hopes to instantly expand the pool of testers for applications that external developers are building for the site.
This in turn should help developers accelerate the sometimes lengthy pre-release testing of applications, as MySpace tries to ramp up its developer program.
Until now, only developers registered with MySpace could share and test each other's applications. "This has made testing apps on any large scale prior to release difficult," reads a post on the official MySpace Developer Team blog.
Developers will now find an interface in the section where their applications are listed allowing them to add friends as testers.
This is the latest improvement MySpace has made to its developer program, which was launched in February of last year.
MySpace lagged behind its archrival Facebook, which nine months earlier led in showing that the creation of applications by external developers made its site more attractive to end users.
Playing catch-up, MySpace and others hitched their developer programs to OpenSocial, a project Google had launched in October 2007 to create a set of common APIs (application programming interfaces) for building social networking applications.
OpenSocial, which many saw as Google's attempt to counter Facebook's early lead, is still very much a work in progress.
Facebook has opted so far not to tie its developer platform to OpenSocial, the goal of which is to simplify the porting of applications to different sites through the adoption of some baseline APIs.
While Facebook critics charge that it is sticking to a proprietary approach, its developer platform continues to be the most popular.
Others believe that MySpace's decision to bind its developer program tightly to OpenSocial has slowed down its progress.
To date, developers have created about 52,000 applications for Facebook and about 8,000 for MySpace.
In recent months, MySpace has taken steps to make its platform more attractive by loosening up restrictions on applications' abilities to generate notifications and invitations to end users.