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Programming The Internet IT Technology

Facebook Opens Pages to Outside Developers 76

prostoalex writes "Facebook is now allowing third-party developers to create pages within the site. Developers can use a combination of the Facebook API and a subset of HTML to create interactive pages accessible from within Facebook. Users retain complete control over which applications they want to have installed, and which applications they want to see on other people's profile. Developers can build on top of Facebook's social grid, and in case of a popular application gain distribution through Facebook newsfeed."
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Facebook Opens Pages to Outside Developers

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  • by simong ( 32944 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @05:10AM (#19267135) Homepage
    The ability to make home pages look as shitty as Myspace. I hope they've implemented a taste filter that prevents fluorescent green paisley backgrounds is all.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You cannot change the backgrounds outside of app's own box, i.e. the widget itself.
  • MySpace, anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ninjafirepants ( 1077233 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @05:10AM (#19267139)
    So this is where Facebook takes a stab at MySpace's success. People like MySpace because they can do whatever they want with it. Pink text on red background with four movies and three songs all going at once? Why not make the page blink, too? Yes, friends, it's all possible via MySpace.

    Now, it looks as though Facebook wants in on the game, too. What I loved about Facebook was the simplicity of design that it keeps losing with every new feature and redesign. The site slows down and becomes less usable. Time will only tell if it stays clean and modular like the screenshot in the article shows, or if it's one more weapon in Facebook's arsenal of bloat.

    At least Facebook still works, unlike the piece of crap they call MySpace. Seriously, Tom needs to learn how to make stuff that doesn't break without fail every time I try to use it. Until then, he's not my friend.

  • Facebook OS (Score:5, Informative)

    by rinkjustice ( 24156 ) * <{rinkjustice} {a ...}> on Friday May 25, 2007 @05:15AM (#19267169) Homepage Journal
    In an article in Fortune [], Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said "We want to make Facebook into something of an operating system so you can run full applications". Is this why he consults frequently with Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie []?

    I assume even bigger changes are ahead.
  • Hmmm.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Solokron ( 198043 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @05:30AM (#19267253) Homepage
    Although MySpace customizations can be very annoying, it is also part of its success. Being able to customize your profile to better reflect your tastes is part of what has helped MySpace skyrocket over competitors. Taking a plain, boring, white background profile and making it your own can be very gratifying. People can spend hours upon hours customizing their own little site testing it out, MySpace banner ads get more and more impressions, that person then in turns shows it off to all their friends (or people they just have on their list as friends), and MySpace continues to accumulate ad impressions. Although there are more crappy MySpace profiles, there are some profiles that really capitalize on dhtml and flash knowledge and even with limitations imposed, are very impressive. Any feature that keeps people coming back to their website is really what they want and Facebooks direction makes perfect sense.
  • MS-Facebook 2.0 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Speedracer1870 ( 1041248 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @05:44AM (#19267315)
    Does this mean that facebook will become as crappy as microsoft or will they just start storing all my info for *undisclosed* purposes? I knew as soon as facebook opened up to the public it would be more than just kids at my own college stalking me...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You control the information you dislose to the app.
  • If the codebase can be kept clean. I have a couple of ideas for plugins all ready.
  • Facebook != Myspace (Score:5, Informative)

    by beset ( 745752 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @05:52AM (#19267347) Homepage
    Queue all the "OMG FACEBOOK WILL BECOMES MYSAPCE!!!!1" comments...

    Under it's current ownership I can't see that happening. The site is run by developers (which is great in my opinion).

    If you don't believe me go and check their blog. Failing that try and change your name and you're presented with...

    # Your Facebook profile must be attached to your real name.
    # You must include your full name.
    # Celebrity names, nicknames, or other fake names are not allowed and will not be approved.
    # Obscenity, curses, and swear words are not allowed and will not be approved.
    # ISn't~ ThIs 3 AnN0YiNg 2 ReAd? Non-standard capitalization and special characters are not allowed and will not be approved.
    # Do not try to combine sentences into one word; Jane Lookatmysupercoolnewnickname Smith will not be approved.

    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      There's more to the hatred of MySpace than their naming convention. It has a lot to do with hot cluttered and horrible-looking nearly every page is. Facebook seems determined to give people the ability to do that on Facebook as well. Honestly, most people don't care what someone's nickname is on the site. They care a lot more about how the site looks and runs.

      Another post here has a quote saying they want to make it more like an OS and let you run applications on the pages... If that isn't the worst id
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually, the restrictions they've put in seem to be, on the whole, fairly well-balanced.

        Each app stores any of its own data on its own hosting. However, IP addresses of users are not exposed to the external hosts, as Facebook basically acts as a go-between for all requests of the app. Each app that a user adds to their profile has the option of writing some static markup* to its own section of the profile (any CSS is edited to only apply to that app's section of the page, and no JS except for a few specifi
    • Rules or no rules, there seem to be a lot of Jack Bauers, Supermen, and Jesuses. And from personal experience, the mail alias system at my alma mater allows you to set up nearly anything as your e-mail name, which in turn makes it possible to call yourself pretty much whatever you want in facebook.
    • Ok, so rather than facebook=myspace, it's more - Facebook with added OMG PONIES!!1!

      Reading those restrictions you've listed for us, actually makes it very easy to see why Facebook is not the success that MySpace is. In fact, my first reaction to seeing that list was, OMG FASCISTS!!!1!

      It seems curious that with all the hyperbole about safety, child protection, and privacy on MySpace, that Facebook's primary flaw is it's zealous determination to ensure that you will NOT be anonymous on Facebook. Faceb
    • Uh, what? I replaced every vowel in my name with umlauted versions, and the B's with ess-sets. I know people named Pterodactyl, Admiral Ackbar, and Slutface.

      And this was before they let in the high schoolers, much less people not associated with a school.
  • ...all in one! think of facebook as an open identity that will connect freely with any web app. this is what i've been waiting for!
  • Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers.

    Watch out, if I say it any more times I'll attract the chair-throwing monkey boy and then Facebook has no chance!
  • I've read the Forbes article and it doesn't sound like Facebook will become a MySpace soon... but still, do we still care for all these proprietary social networks merely striving to lock-in users? Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Orkut, Friendster, localized networks like Hyves (big over here in .nl)... they all want more eyeballs (== more $$$), it's just that their way to generate more pageviews is different.

    Maybe I'm just getting old (queue the GOML-quotes), but I don't see the point in investing time into d
      • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

        You must log in to see this page.
        When trying to use bugmenot to get around this crap:

        Site Blocked
        This site has been barred from the bugmenot system.
  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <> on Friday May 25, 2007 @07:10AM (#19267697) Homepage
    Facebook has become so popular among us 20-something crowd because it is NOT MySpace. It is a way to connect that is clean and organized, and not full of crap and clutter from tweens who think they know anything about web design. It is simple, slick, and does it's job very well.

    I fear that going down this path they may be descending into MySpace-hell. I hope this is not the beginning of the end of the usfulness of facebook.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by natedubbya ( 645990 )

      It's this kind of attitude that separates the innovators from us normal people. The easy viewpoint is to isolate the one reason you use service A over service B, and then complain that A is changing their interface. The innovator has the viewpoint that you chose their service A because it was different from B, and hence, another competitor C can come along and make yet another simple change to make the drones move over to C.

      Facebook is innovating, they realize they can't stand still. And yes, the large

      • by brunes69 ( 86786 )
        I did not care when facebook added news and classifides. In fact I really like the new redesign and all the new features.

        What I am saying is the whole concept of a user mucking around with the layout IS THE ANTITHESIS of why we use facebook.

        I am all for innovation - but if "innovation" means "copying an attribute of something I hate" I will jump ship, and I am sure many others will jump with me.

  • by Nim82 ( 838705 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @07:41AM (#19267845)
    Myspace, Bebo etc wouldn't be half as bad if you could choose to render all the sites you view in either your own chosen theme, or as a generic preset - overriding the shite. I use ffox extensions (such as stylish) to nerf most crap on these sites currently, but would much rather there were just a tickbox in the user pref's that would provide a similar result.

    Alternatively, lock the style and offer some sensible preset colour schemes, like most web forums do.
    • That seems to be a good idea, but what about individuality? If you ask me, that is one of the big reasons Myspace grew to such enormous numbers (I'm sure others would agree.) Individualism is an important aspect of life, if you have ever read something like Fahrenheit 451, you would see a prime example. If everybody's page is parsed and looks the same, well, what fun is that?

      Contrary to what I mentioned above about individuality, I enjoy Facebook because it is bare and elaborate at the same time. They manag
  • by Anonymous Coward
    it's a shame that a social networking site that was actually somewhat useful and cool is becoming a huge money venture instead of just being a good tool for keeping up with people. as it grows more complicated i (and other users too perhaps?) get fed up with all the extra crap everywhere and the extra demand one is placed under to simply maintain a presence there. how much longer is it going to be until everyone who doesnt want a myspace is going to have to leave facebook for that reason?
  • They launched the Facebook API months ago.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by macbort ( 224663 )

      This is new [], and quite a bit different than the API that has been around for awhile.

      Now, instead of just using the API to integrate Facebook with external apps, developers can use the platform to run their apps right inside of Facebook. For example, a Flickr app could be made that would replace the built-in photo tools.

      There are already 30 or so apps [] available to add.

  • Not Like MySpace (Score:4, Informative)

    by the cheong ( 1053282 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:27AM (#19268807)
    The Facebook API was released many months ago, and it does not lead to pages like MySpace. The Facebook pages itself do not change at all; the layout will be consistent throughout the whole networking site, as it always has been. The API allows developers to access facebook's information and create applications OUTSIDE of Facebook. For example, one application might make a powerpoint photo slideshow of all your photos on facebook. Or another application might use information to match up people into relationships.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      RTFM. This allows apps with custom HTML, etc., within Facebook pages. I'm not quite clear on who/what/when/how people can develop for this, though. E.g., will it just be a collection of approved and vetted third party components people can select from to put/use, in among other places, on their profile pages? Or will anyone effectively able to develop and deploy custom modules, but where/how they are deployed is a tightly controlled and distinctly separate environment?

      See: []

    • by Bri3D ( 584578 )
      The new API changes give applications "write access" to Facebook which they didn't have months ago.
      Applications can publish news feed stories, create a box on profile pages, and create their own Facebook-integrated and Facebook-URLed FBML "canvas" page, or *embed an iframe into the Facebook layout*.
      This is a new change that I see going in terrible directions (imagine giant flash-powered ugly userboxes from hell and 10,000 "BOB IS USING FACEBOOK CUSTOMIZER 1.0" news feed advertisments).
      • Ah, I see. I replied too hastily and didn't realize that the API changed in that way. I used the API a few months back and I thought that's what they were talking about.
  • facebook faq (Score:2, Informative)

    by babooo404 ( 1019760 )
    fyi, the list of all participating companies plus a faq on the platform is here: t-facebook-platform []
  • Trying to log in to facebook at the moment give me this response:

    Hey, your account is temporarily unavailable due to site maintenance. It should be available again within a few hours. We apologize for the inconvenience.
    In the past I have found facebook to be fairly stable, do you think that a rush of 3rd party plugins could of just been too much and brought the site down. Or is it just a strange coencidence?
    • I have seen this a few times in the last several months. On the other hand, I've had several of the new apps fail on me upon install (I blame NoScript).
  • Love 'em or hate 'em but Microsoft has a cool idea with Popfly in that they're providing a tool for NON-DEVELOPERS to build applications for "platforms" like Facebook. Drag and drop a few objects written by real developers and connect them and modify them in ways that you want and you have an application. This is markedly different than Yahoo Tubes which is clearly targeted at coders. I'm not sure if Facebook will be a huge success as a platform but if MSFT can make Popfly easy enough for anybody to use the

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev