Facebook Application Development
Create memorable user experiences through interactive, engaging and media-rich
A custom developed Facebook application can allow your users to create quizzes, participate in trivia, send gifts, role-play, run a fantasy sports league, rate stuff, find true love, or simply blow things up. It’s all within your reach.
Whether you have an existing idea, which you would like transformed into reality, or have goals you would like to meet via a social media application, we are the right people for the job.
Our goal is to help you meet your goals and go beyond. Not only will we work closely with you during the entire process, we will help you identify areas where your application concept could be improved by leveraging social media behavior commonly found amongst users.
Sample Facebook Application
Apps on Facebook.com
Building an app on Facebook gives you the opportunity to deeply integrate into the core Facebook experience. Your app can integrate with many aspects of Facebook.com, including the News Feed and Notifications. All of the core Facebook Platform technologies, such as Social Plugins, the Graph API and Platform Dialogs are available to Apps on Facebook.
In this document we will explain the following concepts:
- Canvas Page: The Page in which your app is loaded.
- Social Channels: The key channels that help you grow your user base and re-engage existing users.
- Analytics: Accessing analytics for your application.
If you wish to start building an App on Facebook now, please refer to our getting started tutorial. If you want to build an app to add to the tab of a Facebook Page then you should refer to Page Tabs.
Apps on Facebook are web apps that are loaded in the context of Facebook in what we refer to as a Canvas Page. You can build your app using any language or tool chain that supports web programming, such as PHP, Python, Java or C#.
Canvas for your app
iframe on that page. This results in your app being displayed within the standard Facebook chrome.
The canvas chrome is 760px width by default but you can set it to be a Fluid Canvas so that it is left aligned and takes up the full width and height of the user browser.
If you want to get started with building an App on Facebook right away, please read the getting started tutorial.
Bookmarks for quick re-engagement
Once a user starts using your app, we create a bookmark to enable users to easily navigate back to your app from within Facebook. These Bookmarks are available on the Facebook homepage as well as on the Canvas Page on the top right corner.
These Bookmarks are ordered based on how often and recently the user used your app. The red counters on the bookmarks notify users of outstanding Requests 2.0 related requests for your apps and encourage them to respond.
To drive more traffic to apps on Facebook, we enable various channels that enable new users to discover your app as well as existing users to re-engage with your app. Each channel is designed to help engage users and our algorithms help surface the best content for each user. The current channels include:
Bookmarks enable users to easily navigate back to your app from within Facebook. Bookmarks are automatically added for your app after the user engages with your apps. The bookmark will appear on left column of the homepage as well as on the top right of a Canvas Page. Users can add a bookmark to ‘favorite’ which pins them to the top. Bookmarks also show a counter next to them which represents the number of outstanding requests for the user for your app. The
more link next to the app bookmarks takes the user to the app dashboard which shows the outstanding app requests as well as the full list of apps the user has authenticated.
Notifications on Facebook are meant to provide prominent but lightweight heads-up about interesting changes to content relevant to users. Requests from your app may trigger a notification to users who will find it relevant.
Requests are a great way to enable users to invite their friends to your application. You can also use requests to have a user notify their friends to take a specific action in your app, such as accepting a gift or helping the user complete a quest.
There are two types of requests that can be sent from an app:
- User-generated requests: These requests are confirmed by a user’s explicit action on a request dialog. These requests update the bookmark count for the recipient.
- App-generated requests: These requests can be initiated and sent only to users who have authorized your app. You should use these requests to update the bookmark count to encourage a user to re-engage in the app (e.g., your friend finished her move in a game and it’s now your turn).
You can learn more about how to enable users to send request from your app in our getting started tutorial
The News Feed is shown immediately to users upon logging into Facebook, making it core to the Facebook experience.
Facebook shares stories with friends when a user starts using a new app or first installs a new game. These installation discovery stories show up in friends’ News Feed and enables users to discovery popular apps their friends are using.
In addition, Facebook also generates aggregated ‘playing’ stories by default. These stories show up in friends’ News feed. Gamers and non-gamers alike will see stories that list games their friends are playing the most. These stories are designed to bring new users and significant re-engagement to games by encouraging users to discover games their friends are playing.
Developers of app associated with more personal behavior such as dating, weight management or pregnancy, can turn these stories off by disabling the social discovery field in the Developer app in the ‘On Facebook’ tab under the ‘Canvas’ section.
In addition you can publish content to the stream using the Feed Dialog. You can prompt users to publish stories about what they are doing in your app. If a user chooses to publish, the story will appear on the user’s profile and may appear to the user’s friends’ News Feeds. Stories published from your app will include a link to your app, and can optionally include a rich attachment. You can learn more about how to enable users to publish stories from your app in our getting started tutorial.
On the Application Settings Page users can control the maximum audience each app can share with on their behalf. So if users want people to see that they are playing one game, but not another, they can control that.
The user’s Timeline deeply integrates a user’s top game activity over a given period of time. This Games Timeline unit highlights the games users play the most, as well as top scores and achievements, allowing for quick re-engagement for the user and discovery among friends.
Developers of apps categorized as ‘Games’ can publish stories by using the Open Graph built-ins for achievements and scores. These stories are only shown to users, when using an app categorized as ‘Games’.
The achievements API allows you to publish stories about the user and their friends achieving a set of achievements you define for your app. The scores API allows you to publish stories about the user and their friends passing each others’ scores in your app as well as High Score stories when the user earns a new high score. The user needs to grant your app with the
publish_actions permission before you can publish a user’s scores and achievements.
In addition the Timeline also showcases recent game activity for the user.
When your App reaches 10 monthly active users it will be automatically queued to be included in the search index the next time we rebuild our search index (we rebuild every 2-4 weeks). After the index is rebuilt your app will be discoverable via Search.
Additionally, you can create a Facebook Page for your App from the Dev App. Simply visit the Contact Info section in the Advanced tab of the Dev App and click on the “Create Facebook Page” button to create a new Facebook Page.
Hitting Confirm on the next dialog associates the new Facebook Page with your app.
The Page differs slightly from regular Pages; it will have a “Go To App” or “Play Game” button, as well as the following App-related links:
- Block App
- Remove App
- Contact Developer
- Report App
By default, the Page is titled “[YOUR_APP_NAME] Community”. You can modify this name at any time subject to the same rules that govern all Pages.
Games & Apps Dashboard
Facebook has a Games and Apps Dashboard that allows users to see outstanding requests as well as recommended Apps and Games to enable them to discover new games as well as re-engage with existing games.
Users can also access all their apps and games feed in one place here.
Use Insights for your app to track how users are interacting with your app to build the best possible experience for your users. For app administrators, Insights includes feedback for stream stories, referral traffic to your app, a breakdown of what user actions contribute to active user count, demographics on authorized users and active users, and the number of times permissions are prompted and granted.
In addition, it provides diagnostics for your app so that you can track API errors as well as get access to allocations and throttling information.
- Get started with building an App on Facebook by reading our tutorial.
- To learn more about our Game APIs, read the achievements and scores API docs.
- Please read about our core concepts – authentication, Graph API, Social Channels.
- To learn how to build Facebook Page tabs, start here.
- Learn about using Facebook Credits to get started with using payments on Facebook platform.
- To learn more about the Facebook platform, watch the Facebook Platform Overviewcourse.
Over 425 million users access Facebook from a mobile device every month. Facebook Platform lets you bring these users and their friends to your mobile apps, creating a more engaging and personalized experience for your users.
Seamless Social Experiences
Facebook Platform enables seamless social experiences across a large variety of devices.
- Distribution. Users can share with their friends using Requests, News Feed, and Open Graph.
- Engagement. Bring users back to your app through a bookmark or search. Keep them there by letting them connect with their friends.
An overview of Platform on Mobile is below. If you’d like to skip it and go straight to building, check out the tutorials for iOS, Android, and web.
Authenticated referrals is a new authentication mode for Facebook applications that ensures all referral traffic from Facebook to your application is already connected with Facebook.
This means that visitors arrive on your app already “logged in” and with whatever data permissions (email, likes and interests, etc.) you requested in the Required Permissions section. You can use this information to provide a personalized experience for Facebook visitors the moment they land on your app.
The flow below shows what happens when a user receives a Request (more on that below) and taps on it.
One benefit of using Facebook Platform is the potential reach you have when Facebook users share content from your app or website with their friends. Because of the strength of a friend’s endorsement, communication through Facebook Platform can help high-quality products grow tremendously. When users tap on links, they are deep-linked directly into your app.
All of the screenshots below illustrate a Mobile Web App integration running on iPhone. To understand the availability of each channel across web apps, iOS and Android, view the mobile distribution support doc.
Requests are a great way to enable users to invite specific friends to play a turn in a game, complete a task, or just generally use your app.
Timeline and Open Graph
After a user adds your app to their Timeline, app specific actions are shared on Facebook via the Open Graph. As your app becomes an important part of how users express themselves, these actions are more prominently displayed throughout the Facebook Timeline and News Feed.
When users log into Facebook, the News Feed is the first thing they see, making it core to the Facebook experience. The screenshots below show you how a user can post to their own wall, which will appear in their friends’ News Feeds.
Bookmarks are automatically displayed to the user within Facebook once they login to your app. On our mobile web site, users can now navigate to web apps via bookmarks. Similarly, on our iPhone and iPad apps, users are now able to navigate to native iOS apps. This list of bookmarks is in sync across desktop and mobile so the apps you use most frequently are there when you want them.
User can also search for your app within Facebook, whether they have already logged into your app in the past or not.
Social plugins let you see what your friends have liked, commented on or shared on sites across the web. The Like button allows your users to easily share interesting content from your app back to Facebook. The Comments plugin allows users to easily comment on your content. Comments and Likes appear on the user’s Timeline and in their friends’ News Feeds which drives more traffic to your site. Currently, the Like button and the Comments plugin are the only social plugins available for use in mobile web apps.
When the user authenticates with your app, you can ask them for the
Facebook Credits allows you to accept payments for digital goods or services within your app.
See our Credits API doc for information on how to integrate Credits into your mobile web app. Credits is not supported within iOS native apps or web apps running within the Facebook iOS app.
If your app does not accept or require payments of any form (e.g., a social new reader), then the simplest way to reach the most number of users is to write a mobile web app. We link to these apps from m.facebook.com, Facebook for iPhone, Facebook for iPad, and Facebook for Android.
If your app requires any form of payment (e.g., for a virtual good), keep in mind accepting payments is different on iOS.
- On the mobile web (including mobile web apps linked from Android), you must use Facebook Credits.
- On iOS, you must build a native app and use iTunes payments.
On Mobile Web, you can quickly setup Facebook Payments by following the steps found in our documentation.
On iOS, you can quickly build a native app from your web app by using a tool like PhoneGap.
Get maximum distribution by integrating social into your mobile web app across all iOS and Android phones and tablets. It will even run in the Facebook iOS native app.
You can also ship mobile web apps in native app stores by using the PhoneGap Facebook plugin.
Check out some of the great mobile experiences that developers have built using Facebook Platform.
If you already have a native iOS app (iPad, iPhone, iPod), then Facebook Platform enables you to integrate with Facebook login and APIs to create personalized experiences for your users and drive engagement and distribution for your app. You can also use Single Sign-on to let users sign into your app using their Facebook identity. They’re signed in immediately, without having to enter their username and password, if they are already signed into the Facebook iOS app.
If you already have a native Android app (phone or tablet), then Facebook Platform enables you to integrate with Facebook login and APIs to create personalized experiences for your users and drive engagement and distribution for your app. You can also use Single Sign-on to let users sign into your app using their Facebook identity. They’re signed in immediately, without having to enter their username and password, if they are already signed into the Facebook Android app.
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