Notes on creating Facebook Apps

Well, I just finished up my first facebook app, a simple rss feed for moonshine arts magazine. You can check it out here. In theory, it should have been much easier than it was, but as with any new venture, there is always a little bit of learning curve.

so, here are my pointers:

  • PHP: If you are using php, doublecheck the version of php you have loaded before you start coding. I thought I had php5, but I didn’t. So, that was a bit of a waste of time. πŸ˜‰ A very quick little online tool to check http headers including php version > here
    • Alot of the Facebook app development stuff seems geared towards php5, so if you are using any version of php4, you may need to modify code. A helpful little tool is > here.
  • Use a good tutorial. I like this one from howto forge. I know, it’s 5 pages, but by the time you have finished, you will understand a little bit about how to create facebook apps, FBML (Facebook Markup Language), and all of the other things you need. Very easy to follow. Really excellent.. but remember… that is for php5.
  • Make sure you have what you need. I needed to load magpie (rss) and the facebook libraries (both covered under the howtoforge tutorial). I also needed to load simplexml (not covered under the howtoforge tutorial). However, thanks to errumm I discovered the quick fix. I confess, this took some googling on the error message to find out what I needed to do.
  • RSS: If you are going to be working with a feed, doublecheck to make sure the feed is working and that it is outputting correctly. I didn’t really waste any time with this, as I remembered which feed I needed to use to pull in the whole site, but I could see how this could be a frustration.

I think that’s about it. There is alot of help out there, but unfortunately, it’s not always clear which version of whatever they are talking about. Keep backups and just keep at it. Don’t take the ‘experts’ at their word, either. I’ve found errors in php code posted in various forums, and I am in no way an expert. πŸ˜‰

Also, the facebook developers wiki about FBML is here

Oh, yeah, and you have to have a facebook account. πŸ˜‰

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