July 31, 2012 11:42 am
by Greg Carron
Developer Updates on the Facebook Platform
Facebook is constantly working on expanding their platform to enable developers to build new and exciting social apps. We keep an eye on their official developer’s blog to see what changes they make, and share their extensive tutorials with our own social networks. Today we’d like to take a look at some of the recent developer news from Facebook, but first we’ll throw out some interesting stats that are sure to excite developers to create the next generation of social apps and games.
Facebook recently announced, in their first ever earnings report since going public, some outstanding stats about their platform including that there are “955 Million Monthly Average Users” and “543 Million Mobile Monthly Average Users.” Not surprising, that there are more than “230 million people playing games on Facebook.com every month” and, more than “130 games on Facebook have more than 1 million monthly active users.” With the growing expansion of mobile and 3rd party tools to develop these social apps, users are sharing, posting status updates, and playing more than ever before. It doesn’t matter if your app lives on mobile (iOS or Android) or on their website Facebook.com, developers are finding that there are multiple beneficial ways to plugging into the network, via the News Feed, Timeline, Requests, Bookmarks, Search and more recently the App Center. The ability to “deep link” in both iOS and Android apps is an important feature as it let’s developers generate links in stories that start on the Timeline and bring users to the appropriate content within your application.
In June, Facebook lead users to iOS apps (from their official mobile app) 134 million times, and to the Apple App Store 83 million times. More than 4,500 timeline apps have launched since January 2012,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. With the acquisition of Instagram, photos have been an important and integral part of the experience on Facebook. On that note, finding out that people upload an average of more than 300 million images to Facebook every day was astonishing. By incorporating the Open Graph, new photo apps like PicCollage, Cinemagram, Hipstamatic are seeing tremendous user growth and engagement. By having multiple sharing points, developers can integrate many of Facebook’s engagements tools such as the Comment box, Like button plugins and notifications to allow users easy and efficient ways to share their personal photos.
With the help of the Open Graph, developers are building new social activities that let their friends know about the types of games and apps they are playing in real time. Being able to create new “Actions” that clearly depict what users are doing in your apps is not only valuable and social information but really opens up the possibilities to engage with your friends and brands that are connected to you. It was recently announced that 1 billion ‘things’ are shared via Open Graph daily and that’s an incredible statistic that we shouldn’t overlook.
Best Practices for developing solid, social mobile apps and games include some of the following features:
1) Login with Facebook
2) Provide Simple Controls
3) Built-In Like buttons
4) Open Graph Photos API
Here are some other recent updates from the Facebook developers blog that we can use to enhance our social apps and games.
Introducing the Recommendations Bar:
A new social plug-in that helps people find articles based on what their friends like and share from your site. Recommendations are based on content that friends have explicitly liked and shared in your app or website and integration is easy and takes just a few lines of code. (more info)
Facebook SDK 3.0 Beta for iOS:
This version also adds iOS 6 integration support for the latest iOS 6 developer seed, iOS 6 beta 3, from Apple.
App Center expands to more countries:
Facebook’s app center applications discovery portal has now been expanded to include seven more countries: Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey.
A tool that adds a social layer to a campaign’s website and matches Facebook friends with information from voter registration records.
Developers can use this tab to submit translated assets for App Center, as well as any other content that can be translated in their app.
You can now tag an Open Graph story with location provided by an external location database like Foursquare.
It’s refreshing to know that Facebook is constantly working on building their platform that, in turn helps developers build social apps that can bring families and friends together online. We’ll be sharing more developer news as it comes in, so in the meantime, remember to have fun and stay cool while coding!
BNOTIONS is proud to be a Facebook® Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD) and will benefit from the program’s best practices and product guidance including knowledge of the platform’s evolution and how it will impact clients. If you have any questions regarding the Facebook platform and how to build within, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.