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Facebook Cookbook by Jay Goldman

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What’s in This Book?

Like all good cookbooks, this one is intended to be pulled off the shelf and rifled through when you need to know how to embed an MP3 on a Canvas page (fb:mp3: see Embedding MP3s), how to look up friend lists using FQL (SELECT flid, name FROM friendlist WHERE owner = $uid; see Retrieving a User’s Friend Lists), or where to find inspiration when you’re faced with App Developer block (all around you; see Finding Inspiration). You’re welcome to read through it from cover to cover—and I hope you’ll find it entertaining and worth a few laughs if you do—or to use it as a trusted reference while you take over the Platform world.

This book is organized into 10 chapters:

Chapter 1, Introducing Facebook Platform

A general overview of Facebook, Facebook Platform, and an introduction to the incredible opportunity it represents.

Chapter 2, Ideation and Strategy

If you don’t have an idea in mind already for an app, this is the chapter for you. Learn about the Platform ecosystem, dig into the integration points and different strategies for using them, and pick up a few techniques for doing app design quickly and with the best possible results.

Chapter 3, Hello World

Time to get started building your first app! This quick chapter will walk you through the classic Hello World first programming example.

Chapter 4, Architecture and Design

This chapter covers the best architectures for Facebook apps, some solid recommendations for database performance, and an overview of the design and user experience of winning applications.

Chapter 5, Setting Up Your Environment

Learn about all the things you need to download, how to add apps to Facebook, the secret trick to setting up a test account, and how to get the lowdown on the latest and greatest from Facebook.

Chapter 6, Facebook Markup Language (FBML)

FBML is the magic that makes the Facebook Platform world go ’round. We’ll cover all of the tags, dig into some surprising behaviors you might encounter, and explore some great tricks for building better frontends.

Chapter 7, Facebook JavaScript (FBJS)

If JavaScript is the duct tape that binds the Web together, FBJS is the glue that makes Facebook apps stick (or something like that). This chapter explains why you can’t just use regular JavaScript in your app, how to build great Ajax-like interactions using Facebook’s Mock Ajax techniques, and goes into detail about all of the handy functions available to you.

Chapter 8, Facebook Query Language (FQL)

As FBML is to HTML, FQL is to SQL. We’ll take a look at the schema of the various database tables you have access to, and catalog some really useful (and fast) FQL queries you can use in your apps.

Chapter 9, Facebook API

Ah, sweet, sweet API. We would be nothing without you! This chapter will show you the real power behind Platform, digging deep into the code that connects everything together. We’ll go through each of the objects and methods you have at your disposal, and I’ll give you some tips and tricks for desktop apps along the way.

Chapter 10, Marketing Your App

Remember: if you build it, they won’t come—without persuasion. Marketing is the art of persuasion, and this chapter goes over some general marketing options for Facebook apps and some great techniques for measuring your success.

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