Le Web is Here!

We’re at the Le Web conference in Paris this week to discuss the social Web and Facebook Connect, which launched one year ago this month. Whether you’re in town for the event too, or can catch the festivities via live stream, we hope you can join us.

Here’s our schedule (all times are Central Europe Time — GMT +1):

Wednesday, December 9th

11:00 AM – 11:20 AM – “Connecting in the Social Web” – Ethan Beard, Director, Facebook Developer Network

12:20 PM – 1:00 PM – Platform Roundtable – Ethan Beard

We will be sharing the stage with these social Web luminaries:

  • Cristian Cussen, Director of Business Development, Ning
  • Brandon Duncan, Director of Platform Engineering, LinkedIn
  • John Ham, Co-founder & CEO, Ustream
  • David Jacobs, Vice President, SixApart, Ltd.
  • Mike Jones, COO, MySpace
  • Ryan Sarver, Director of Platform, Twitter

Moderated by: Michael Arrington, Editor, TechCrunch

You can follow the event on Le Web’s live stream:

Free Webcam Chat at Ustream

Thursday, December 10th

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Facebook Developer Garage Paris – Alex Himel, Facebook Platform Engineer, will demonstrate a technical walk-through of Facebook Connect. He’ll be joined by French developers who will share the latest in Facebook Connect for the Mobile Web, Facebook technical how-tos, and case studies of French sites integrated with Facebook Connect.

Julia, who manages developer events worldwide, hopes you’ll follow the live stream of the Developer Garage on the Facebook Platform Ustream channel.

Facebook Connect: One Year Later

One year ago we launched Facebook Connect to enable developers to bring Facebook identities and the social graph to their own technologies. With the help of all of you, Facebook Connect has made thousands of websites, applications, consoles, and devices more social, and even made everyday actions – like watching TV, reading the news and playing games – more valuable with the addition of friends.

In the past year, Facebook Connect has grown in many significant ways:

  • More than 80,000 websites and devices have implemented Facebook Connect
  • More than 60 million Facebook users are engaging with Facebook Connect on external services each month
  • Two-thirds of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites have implemented Facebook Connect

From social widgets like the Comments Box, Share button and Live Stream Box to deeper integrations including log in, Facebook Connect is helping developers drive more traffic to their site, ease the registration process, and provide a more engaging experience for users. By adding social elements through Facebook Connect, websites in a variety of verticals are revolutionizing industries.

Here are some examples of services that implemented Facebook Connect in its first year:

  • Websites: Yahoo!, Huffington Post, YouTube, Bilde.de, MTV, MyVideo.de, Microsoft Live and MSN.com, CNN, Lufthansa, TVGuide.com, NBC.com, Lala, Orbitz, Netflix, Showtime, Yelp, iGoogle, Digg, and MasterCard
  • Mobile Applications: Many of the top iPhone apps, including Bejeweled 2, Tap Tap Revenge, USA Today, Scrabble, Rock Band, UrbanSpoon, Doodle Jump, Gowalla, Sportacular, and Movies
  • Game Consoles: Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo DSi, Sony PlayStation 3
  • Desktop Applications: iTunes, iPhoto, Seesmic, TweetDeck

As we enter a new year with a personalized and social Web, the possibilities for innovation with Facebook Connect are endless. Our friends will define and guide our experiences across the Web, with Facebook Connect as the underlying technology that powers real world social interactions online.

What will the next big Facebook Connect implementation be? We can’t wait to see what you do in 2010.


Ethan, who leads the Facebook Developer Network, wants to thank you for being a part of Facebook Connect’s first year.

Facebook Platform News 12/8/09

With this week’s code push we’ve released the Dashboard API and the family FQL table, updated some API calls so they work without session keys, and soon will start returning English-only strings for three fields in the user FQL table.

Breaking Change for non-English Applications Querying user FQL Table

In order to significantly improve the performance of certain FQL queries, in 60 days we will return only English strings for the relationship_status, gender, and affiliations.status fields in the user FQL table.

The performance gains far outweigh the value of translating the strings in the query because these fields contain static lists of constants. After 60 days, queries on these fields will return English strings only. If you specified a language other than English as your application’s native language or use the Translations application to indicate your application is available in another language, and you query one of those fields on the user FQL table, you’ll need to update your code so it can handle the English values of these fields.

Here are the values for each field:

  • relationship_status, which can be ‘Single’, ‘In a Relationship’, ‘In an Open Relationship’, ‘Married’, ‘Engaged’, ‘It’s Complicated’ and ‘Widowed’
  • gender, which can be ‘Male’ or ‘Female’
  • affiliations, which can be ‘Undergrad’, ‘Alumnus/Alumna’, ‘Faculty’, ‘Staff’, or ‘Grad Student’

For example, If your application is in Spanish and it has logic to check if a user is single, you should change your code within the next 60 days to look like this:

if ($result == "single" || 
    $result == "soltero" || 
    $result == "soltera")  {
 
    $status = single; 
}

Dashboard API

The Dashboard API is now available for testing, to prepare you for the upcoming launch of the Application and Games Dashboards. Use the Dashboard API to integrate your application into the Application Dashboard or Games Dashboards, which will help users discover and engage with your applications.

Note that there is no sandbox for you to test the API; however the calls are live and you can set dashboard information and retrieve it. Keep an eye on this blog and the dashboard roadmap for more detailed information, including when we’ll release the dashboards.

New family FQL Table

Get information about a user’s family relationships (relatives, their names, relationships, birthdays, and user IDs) from the new family FQL table. This table makes it much simpler and more straightforward to retrieve family data for a user instead of querying the user table.

While we’re keeping the family field in the user FQL table, the new table is more useful since you can query for specific relationships, which you can’t do on the user table.

Getting Group Information without a Session

You can query the group FQL table without a session key, which returns data about a group that is publicly available; that is, the query only returns a group that the logged-in user can see. If you don’t pass the logged-in user’s ID, the query only returns open groups.

Fixed events.invite without a Session Key

We fixed an issue with events.invite so you can now call the method without a session key.

Stay Informed

Remember to check the Developer Roadmap so you can have advanced notice of what we’re releasing for Facebook Platform. We also publish a weekly article that lists each week’s code check-ins that impact Facebook Platform.

We hope you start using these features and we welcome your feedback on the Developer Forum.

Pete, a writer on the Platform team, likes to start spreading the news.

Facebook Platform News 11/17/09

We’re releasing some updates to stream story formatting, FQL, and finding fans this week. These changes are going live with the weekly code push, which takes place Tuesday evening, Pacific Time.

Switching from the video Attachment Type

We’re removing all reference to the video attachment type in stream stories. You should use the flash attachment type, since the flash type gives you more control over how your stories render.

While we’ll continue to publish stories that use the video type, we strongly encourage you to start using the flash attachment type instead.

Finding Fans without a Session

You can call pages.isFan without a session key now, so you can determine whether a user is a fan of a Facebook Page without the user needing to authorize your application.

Ensuring User Privacy with FQL

You can help ensure user privacy in your applications by checking whether a given user has blocked the logged-in user. Select the is_blocked field when you query the user FQL table.

Rendering Stream Stories

As another reminder regarding the stream roadmap, next week we’re changing the size of stream story images so that their maximum dimensions will be 90×90 pixels.

Also starting next week, if you include more than one image in your stream attachment, Facebook will render only the first image in the array initially. We’re also adding a “See More” link so the user can see the remaining images. You can still include up to 5 images in a stream story.

We’ll make another announcement on the Platform Live Status page next week confirming this launch.

We hope you start using these features and we welcome your feedback on the Developer Forum.

Pete, the technical writer on the Platform team, is rounding up the news.

Update on Simpler Policies and Enhanced Enforcement

When we announced the Developer Roadmap, we also simplified our policies by replacing the Facebook Platform Guidelines with the new Developer Principles and Policies, and posted Examples and Explanations for guidance on putting policy into practice. Our goal is to make it easy to understand our policies, so you can invest your time developing great applications instead of puzzling over rules.

We’ve all seen applications build long-term businesses by staying focused on providing a good user experience, creating user trust and engagement. These apps help all developers succeed by attracting more users to engage with great applications, creating a virtuous cycle that benefits the whole ecosystem. To continue to support this focus on user experience, we’re investing in personnel and technology to help us better uncover and rapidly respond to policy violations. You’ll continue to be able to launch an application without prior approval — that’s an important part of our open Platform philosophy — but you should expect it to be proactively reviewed at any time.

Our Approach to Enforcement

Our aim is for the Developer Policies and Examples and Explanations to reflect the specifics you need to easily make decisions and manage your applications. While our policies will guide our approach, no document can itemize every way to generate a bad user experience, so we’ll be enforcing our broader principles as well. Those who try to circumvent the spirit of the policies or principles, or exploit a “loophole,” will be subject to enforcement.

When we find a violation, the action we take will depend on the developer’s compliance history, and the nature and severity of the violation. In many cases we temporarily suspend some or all application functionality, or permanently disable.

Timing for the New Policies

Most of the revised policies are simplified versions of what we already required, and are therefore fully in effect. But as we said last month, we’ve also incorporated additional requirements, some of which were previously expected only of applications within the Verification program (which is being retired since all apps must now meet those standards).

We realize that for most of you adapting takes time, so we won’t be universally enforcing the increased requirements on all developers until noon PST 16 December 2009. But we expect the largest developers to set a positive example by proactively complying ahead of time, and anyone may hear from us in advance of the deadline asking for particular fixes. You should carefully read the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and the Developer Principles and Policies to ensure you understand what’s required. To help, we’ve provided highlights of changes and clarifications in the Latest Policy News section of the Examples and Explanations.

As we progress through the Developer Roadmap and the product evolves, we’ll continue simplifying the policies and posting examples and explanations. Typically we’ll announce substantial policy changes in the Developer Blog, with a lead time before they go into effect. However, in cases where we see exploits that require quick action to protect the ecosystem, where applicable we will post an update to our Examples and Explanations document and post an alert on the Platform Live Status (subscribe by email here) announcing our intention to enforce right away.

Feedback

We hope you’ll share your questions and feedback with us and the community in the Developer Forum. And if you see violations please let us know using the “Report” link at the bottom of canvas pages and application profile pages.

We appreciate the great apps you build, and look forward to working with you in protecting the Facebook Platform ecosystem and keeping it a welcoming place for users.

Paul and the rest of the Platform Policy Team stay healthy by riding the virtuous cycle.

Join Us at Le Web!

The Facebook team will say bonjour to Paris at the annual technology conference, Le Web on December 9th and 10th, where we’ll discuss the latest in the real time Web.

If you plan on attending, we hope you can join us for a discussion with Ethan Beard, Director of the Facebook Developer Network, who is delivering a keynote on Wednesday. We’re also co-hosting Facebook Developer Garage Paris – Le Web edition with Netvibes, which is open and free to all developers. Please see our Facebook event for more information.

You can find the latest updates from conference organizers on the Le Web Facebook page. We’ll also post our own updates during the conference to the Facebook Platform Page.

We hope to see you in Paris or connecting with us online!

Julia, who manages developer events worldwide, is looking forward to crepes under the Eiffel Tower.