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Published May 2011
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,494,576
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A fun and easy guide to creating the next great Facebook app!
Want to build the next runaway Facebook app like Farmville or Mafia Wars? Interested in leveraging Facebook app development as part of a marketing strategy? Whether you want to build your own Facebook app from scratch, extend an existing Facebook app, or create a game, this book gets you up and running in no time. Master the Facebook toolkit, get acquainted with the Facebook Markup and Query languages, navigate the Facebook API'''even learn how to make money with your new app!
GDNet Staff Review:
My first impression of Facebook Application Development for Dummies was incredulity. After all, aren't those "for dummies" books just manuals for people who are daunted by the thought of figuring out software for themselves and who never figured out that their app has a "help" key? I have seen enough beginner-programmer titles that just ended up being a long-form tutorial on some kind of game building "wizard", and I wanted to see what kind of facebook integration we would be learning here. Also, "Facebook Application" covers a wide range, going from simply merging an existing page into Facebook's main frame to applications like Farmville that have tendrils so deep into Facebook's operations that the distinction between Facebook and the game itself is blurry. Facebook integration is a many-layered thing, but all of the layers seem to fall under the rubric of "Facebook Application".
Facebook Application Development for Dummies covers both of the primary forms of Facebook integration, Facebook-hosted and self-hosted in addition to things like using Facebook as your handler for user logins.
Note that despite this being a "For Dummies" title, it doesn't start completely at ground level. I was braced for long discussions of what HTML is and how you can edit it with Windows Notepad (that's a text editor that comes with Windows, you know), but it didn't start that simply. The examples are simple, but it didn't stop to explain every little thing. While that probably leaves the "I know nothing about programming, but I want to make Farmville" crowd with some prerequisites, the rest of us who understand how the web works and what a client-server database is won't have to wade through pages of elementary stuff that is easily found in another book.
Heck, the book has a whole chapter on OAUTH. And if you can figure out OAUTH from a "For Dummies" title, you have officially graduated from "dummy" to "not dummy.
Most topics are broken up nicely and logically in a way that is not so easy to find in Facebook's developer documentation. Something as simple as "how to access a user's email address" gets its own section. Ditto for "how to create a like box", "how to create a login button", etc.
Also very welcome is a chapter on integrating Facebook into iOS and Android mobile devices. As you undoubtedly know, these are the biggest social platforms in existence right now, and restricting such a text just to hosted websites would not be covering all you can do with Facebook. There are plenty of socially-enabled apps out there that integrate Facebook for logins or posts or access to your social graph. And you should plan for that.
The book ends with a couple of appendices covering a few successful Facebook apps as well as some websites that will be of use to Facebook developers. It was welcome to see that Facebook's own documentation and forums were not all there is.
Facebook Application Development for Dummies was a very pleasant surprise for me. I was braced for some kind of horrid tutorial on how to put your "Bob's Transmission Repair" website into an iFrame in Facebook, but it was far deeper than that. I am hanging on to this one.
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