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MySpace Set to Launch Developer Platform

We knew it was coming -- the only question was when.

MySpace has started accepting pre-registrations for its developer platform, and plans to take the developers' site live next Tuesday, Feb. 5. Starting then, MySpace will provide developers with open APIs and documentation to begin building widgets on the world's most popular social network.

Once it launches, developers will be able to test their applications in a live environment.

Widgets should begin actually appearing on MySpace sometime later -- the company is expected to announce this week how long the trial period will be before the platform opens to the public.

"The MySpace Developer Platform will be the world's sandbox, allowing developers large and small to come together and easily build creative, user-enriching applications," the company said in a statement.

MySpace also said it would work actively to help developers promote and monetize their widgets.

On Tuesday, the company also will hold a kickoff event and workshop for developers at its San Francisco offices.

Overseeing the platform will be Amit Kapur, recently named chief operating officer. Kapur will lead MySpace's global business initiatives and partnerships that the site looks to foster through its developer program.

MySpace in October first announced its developer platform plans, which some initially viewed as an effort to play catch-up to Facebook. MySpace's fast-growing rival has enjoyed considerable success with its own platform, which began offering third-party developer support in May.

In December, Facebook moved to open that platform, enabling developers to easily transfer their applications to Bebo and other participating social networks.

Last week, Facebook opened further, removing the server-side code requirement from its JavaScript client library so that any site running static HTML would be able to host Facebook applications, company developer Wei Zhu wrote on Facebook's developer blog.

MySpace, meanwhile, has said its developer platform would support OpenSocial. The initiative, launched by Google in November, aims to spur the industry to embrace compatible APIs, so that applications could run on any social site that adopted the standard.

Speculation has swirled over Facebook's positioning of its platform as a competing standard to OpenSocial.

Both OpenSocial and Facebook have dispatched representatives to the DataPortability Working Group, an open source consortium dedicated to interoperability and common data standards.