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FBML Essentials

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Programming 85

stoolpigeon writes "Facebook became the largest worldwide social site in the middle of last year. If their current pace holds they will pass MySpace as number one in the US some time next year. Those numbers have led a number of people to strike out and develop Facebook applications, hoping to grab a piece of that huge audience. One aspect of writing such applications is knowing Facebook Markup Language, which has been described as the icing on the Facebook API cake. FBML Essentials aims to be the resource that provides hopeful application writers with what they need to use FBML successfully." Keep reading for the rest of JR's review.FBML Essentials is a slim little volume in the world of massive technical books. The author, Jesse Stay has accomplished something many projects and authors can't seem to avoid, scope creep. This little book stays right on target providing FBML documentation with a few extras as book-ends. One will not be forced to spend half their time with the book skimming over information not directly related to the topic at hand.

The reference portion of the book, as I said, is the bulk of this guide. This section does provide more thorough information than what one would find at the FBML tag section of the Facebook developer wiki. (Which sometimes holds contradicting information for the use of some tags.) There is not only a brief explanation and example but more detailed coverage of options and ramifications. Tags are also grouped in a way that takes into account functionality and what a developer may want to do. This means that while it might not be a thrilling way to go about it, one could read through the reference material in a topical manner while learning how to use FBML in applications.

The first two chapters, before the reference section begins, introduce Facebook applications, walk the reader through prerequisites for development and html considerations within the Facebook environment. This book assumes a solid understanding of markup and specifically html. There is an extremely brief treatment of hosting and general architecture of the Facebook platform.

The introductory material also steps through creating an application with nothing more than FBML. I thought that this was interesting because it means that it is possible to develop and launch an application rather quickly as there is nothing required beyond what is in this guide. This is backed up with an introduction to the FBML Test Console, a tool that allows developers to check their markup without requiring a server.

The last chapter after the reference is a quick introduction to Facebook Java Script. FBJS is a limited form of javascript and Stay does not spend much time with it. There is a quick list of methods, listeners and dialogs with a small amount of illustration on how they might be used as a whole. There are not examples given for each.

There isn't a whole lot here and that ought to be encouraging to anyone who would want to write a Facebook application but doesn't want to invest a huge amount of time. Stay gives an example of building a simple application using nothing more than FBML. It's nice to know that such simple functionality can provide one with an entre into a huge community of potential users. I am also glad that Stay was able to resist the urge to start pulling in every possible aspect of development for Facebook. Instead of a bloated guide the result is a compact and efficient guide to FBML, keeping costs down and avoiding wasted time trying to find what the reader needs.

The index is solid and I highly recommend this handy reference to anyone doing Facebook application development. Of course the use here is limited to Facebook and as they are constantly developing and changing the product, this reference has a definite shelf life. (Though I don't know exactly what that might be.) So this is not a timeless or ground breaking title, but is extremely practical right now.

You can purchase FBML Essentials from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews — to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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First Ninnle Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26696997)

Ninnle for the Win!

Re:First Ninnle Post! (0, Offtopic)

Ninnle Linux (1460113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697293)

Can I help you?

Excerpt from chapter one (4, Funny)

onion2k (203094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697023)

A free excerpt:

Chapter One: Naming Your Application.

In order to gain rapid popularity your application's title must be as insipid and uninspiring as possible. Prefably choose something with a ridiculously inaccurate adjective such as "amazing", "super", or "w1cked", and follow that with a descriptive synonym that maps your application to a real world equivalent; this will inevitably be "wall".

note to developers (5, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697089)

Note to developers: It appears that if you make your application as silly and insanely annoying as humanly possible, people will use it and continuously sent me messages with it. While you might make money doing this, I have spoken to God and you will in fact be going to hell.

Re:note to developers (0, Offtopic)

sorak (246725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697691)

Note to developers: It appears that if you make your application as silly and insanely annoying as humanly possible, people will use it and continuously sent me messages with it. While you might make money doing this, I have spoken to God and you will in fact be going to hell.

You know, I asked god the exact same question and got his reply on video [youtube.com] .

I guess God can be annoying too...

Re:note to developers (0, Offtopic)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697999)

Na, this neat video is much more God's style... video [upenn.edu]

Re:note to developers (1)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700293)

Yes, but you know, I'll be using my heaping piles of cash to make sure *YOU* go with me... so I can continue to bombard you with messages from various applications... because that will be HELL for you.

2 cents,

QueenB.

Re:note to developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26704123)

That was the lamest reply ever. Seriously, that was just fucking stupid. Next time just keep quiet.

Or just dive in (4, Informative)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697231)

Using the instructions here:

http://developers.facebook.com/get_started.php [facebook.com]

Re:Or just dive in (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26699571)

The thing they never tell you is that FBML is a straight-up nightmare, and using an iframe is far easier and faster.

necessary anyway (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26699913)

With how often Facebook changes their API and makes subtle, app-breaking changes to how existing stuff operates, you won't really be able to rely on anything in a published book.

Re:necessary anyway (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700317)

Yup. Remind you of someone?
*ducks chair*

Silly (3, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697419)

The first time I heard 'facebook' I thought of type-A jocks and stuck-up 'faces' at college. And myspace is the same thing but for a younger set - airhead teenagers and their fanboi's (as well as the younger set of jocks and 'faces')

Additionally, the code on the VERY few myspace pages I have had the misfortune to have accessed proves that *no one* associated with myspace, either as a user or developer/admin, has ANY clue how to put together an html page that isn't painful to look at.

Re:Silly (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697901)

The whole app thing is a good indicator that MySpace and Facebook have jumped the shark. It's a desperate grasp at the attention of more savvy users and its result is the spamming of everybody with floods of annoying, worthless minutiae(moreso than usual, if that's possible).

Yes, it's possible to opt out of many of those annoyances but everything that's bad for your privacy and your sanity is enabled by default so you have to play whack-a-mole trying to find what annoying "feature" is coming from where before you find the checkbox to turn it off.

Wired: Handwritten letters, telephone conversations
Tired: E-mail
Expired: "Social" networking

Re:Silly (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700681)

everything that's bad for your privacy and your sanity is enabled by default so you have to play whack-a-mole trying to find what annoying "feature" is coming from where before you find the checkbox to turn it off.

My sister loves that kind of stuff and there are more people like her in the world than people like you or me.

Re:Silly (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698757)

The first time I heard 'facebook' I thought of type-A jocks and stuck-up 'faces' at college.

Bitter much?

Just FYI, my circle of predominantly CS-graduate friends is linked up on Facebook. Why? Simple: we've all grown up, moved away, and in a few cases, had families, and FB makes it easy for everyone to stay connected.

Remember, just because you're angry and convinced that <insert popular thing> is silly, doesn't mean it actually is.

Re:Silly (2, Interesting)

WraithCube (1391567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26699613)

I once found somebody who bothered to write down all the myspace code and actually figure out how to make it look decent. I was so stunned that I felt out of my chair when I viewed a myspace page and no music started playing, nothing flashed, the color scheme was readable, and the page was easy on the eyes. Of course, the guy did it just for the challenge and happens to be Mike Davidson the creator of newsvine. http://www.myspace.com/mikeindustries [myspace.com]

So it actually can be done. Just not without spending way too much time trying to figure out what things like this mean and how to change it:

table table table table td, table table table table tbody td { background-color: transparent !important; padding: 15px !important; }

Holy crap (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26705025)

Wow. That is the only nice looking myspace page I've ever seen.

Re:Silly (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26703899)

OK, OK, mister, I'll get off your lawn!

Scope creep? (1, Redundant)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697435)

The author, Jesse Stay has accomplished something many projects and authors can't seem to avoid, scope creep.

I'm not sure that scope creep is a praiseworthy accomplishment.

Facebook: The choice of serial killers... (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697479)

Or at least Butchie... [choppingblock.org]

*snicker*

Markup language != programming language (4, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697481)

Writing a few lines of a data markup language does not make you a programmer , you have not "developed" anything and hence what you have written is not an "application". At best its a description of functionality but it is NOT the implementation of it which is what the word "develop" in the programming sense means. FBJS may well be a programing language (albeit a noddy one) but FBML is not and I get a teensy bit tired of idiots people pretending they're some amazing app developer because they can grasp how to use *ML. Lets get this straight - a friggin chimp could code in a markup language given 2 hours training.

Re:Markup language != programming language (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697763)

I have to agree with you here. If you spend any amount of time with middle / high schoolers you will inevitably run into one that claims to be a "coder" or "programmer" because they wrote a few lines of CSS to make their MySpace page look like hell.

Re:Markup language != programming language (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698277)

people pretending they're some amazing app developer because they can grasp how to use *ML.

To be fair though, there are quote a few *ML [wikipedia.org] dialects that aren't exactly trivial to learn...

Re:Markup language != programming language (1)

neo (4625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698307)

The to primary things that most Markup Languages are missing that keep them from being programming languages are:

* Iteration
* Conditionals
* Variables

But that's changing and some ML now contain all three. These, IMO, are the three requirements of a computer language. What do you use as criteria for a programming language?

Re:Markup language != programming language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26698853)

Markup languages aren't programming languages. They aren't intended to be programming languages. They're languages to describe data. You don't "code" a markup language.

These comments only serve to make you people look stupid and uneducated.

Re:Markup language != programming language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26699493)

No, they serve to make people who describe themselves as "HTML programmers" look stupid. But not as tupid as you.

Re:Markup language != programming language (1)

MonkeyOnATypewriter (1361269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698867)

The ML are just responsible for the View part in the MVC architecture.
To make a complete application, you need also the Model and the Controller.

Re:Markup language != programming language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26698971)

No. The MVC analogy is stretched, but let's go with it. You people are too used to thinking of MLs from the HTML viewpoint. HTML does it wrong -- it conflates behavior with meaning.

A markup language is supposed to be behavior agnostic. Behavior is provided by "something else" -- i.e. hardcoded behavior (like base HTML), or a stylesheet, or some other interpreted programming.

That makes ML responsible for the Model part of MVC, if you want to go that route.

It's much more accurate to think of MLs like database structures than programming languages.

Re:Markup language != programming language (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26701593)

The ML are just responsible for the View part in the MVC architecture. To make a complete application, you need also the Model and the Controller.

You added nothing to counter the parent poster's attempt to claim Markup Languages are soon to be programming languages.

The MVC paradigm is language agnostic.

Nevermind the fact that the entire thread from the grandparent poster devolved into a lesson of how poorly most english speakers write in the english language, it's not surprising that the discussion of what is or is not a programming language quickly devolved into snippets of non-sense.

Re:Markup language != programming language (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26727633)

The ML are just responsible for the View part in the MVC architecture.
To make a complete application, you need also the Model and the Controller.

Not all applications use MVC architecture, and markup languages can certainly be used outside of the MVC architecture, and can certainly be used for a lot more than views. Example: XML is a fairly well-known markup language. It can be used for things that are certainly view-oriented (XHTML, XSL-FO). It can also be used for things that are not exclusively view-oriented (WS-BPEL, XPDL, XSLT).

Re:Markup language != programming language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26698709)

Cautionary note: Part of the problem with HTML that it hasn't been treated like a real programming language. Agreed, it lacks programming constructs. But HTML-generating programs (I'm talking about you, FrontPage!) and overzealous marketers of said programs (don't walk away when I'm talking to you, M$!), in league with average Joe's thinking they were web developers have generated countless web sites with piss-poor semantics, and have guaranteed years to come with limited CSS2 non-compliance for 75% of the browsing public.

So, no, *ML construction is not programming, but well-formed XHTML and CSS form a beautiful union, and need the proper respect. See CSS Zen Garden if you don't believe me. And yeah, I'm a fag. So what?

Re:Markup language != programming language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26698753)

I'm currently working on a Facebook app. The thing is FBML/FBJS is a chastised version of HTML/JS. They do insane massive rewriting of your code to a point than simply checking the form inputs is barely possible. Everything has to be picked up through CSS ID.

Every single javascript variable is renamed with some random numbers. I had to write some rather lengthy code and FBJS failed on some occasions to find back the name it has overwritten.

You feel like Facebook engineers know their stuffs that's for sure. Their framework looks quite robust and securised. But from a third party point of view, you feel frustrated, really, really frustrated, you pass more times bypassing their limitations than actually coding something useful.

Re:Markup language != programming language (2, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698771)

Writing a few lines of a data markup language does not make you a programmer , you have not "developed" anything and hence what you have written is not an "application". At best its a description of functionality but it is NOT the implementation of it which is what the word "develop" in the programming sense means. FBJS may well be a programing language (albeit a noddy one) but FBML is not and I get a teensy bit tired of idiots people pretending they're some amazing app developer because they can grasp how to use *ML. Lets get this straight - a friggin chimp could code in a markup language given 2 hours training.

You don't honestly think writing a facebook app is just an issue of slapping together a couple of static pages of FBML, do you?

Just about every facebook application is backed by some a sort of web service powered by a server-side language like PHP and a database. FBML is only the presentation language.

What you've done is akin to criticising Google because all google.com does is spit out HTML, and any idiot can write HTML.

Do you have any idea what the fuck you're talking about?

Re:Markup language != programming language (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#26707675)

I wasnt talking about the server side you idiot, i was talking about the client side.

Get a clue. (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26715803)

A facebook application can not be made with FBML alone.

Facebook apps reside on the *developer's server*. Unless your "application" consists solely of what they refer to as a "canvas page", you must use more than FBML. If you want it to integrate with the user's profile, interact with their friends list or be visible on their wall, FBML is not enough.

In addition to FBML and FBJS are the Facebook API and Facebook Query Language (FQL or "fecal" as l like to call it). To develop a Facebook application you need to build a web app that can respond to requests from Facebook's servers with API calls. That means actual proramming, coded by the app creator and deployed on their own server, not just posting some mark-up and JavaScript cut-and-pastes.

Incidentally, all this information is current as of about a month ago, so there is a high likelihood that it has already been deprecated.

Regardless, while FBML may not be "programming", neither are Facebook apps "a few lines of a data markup language". I'll grant that the title of this silly book may make it seem that way.

Re:Markup language != programming language (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700015)

Great. So, what's your point? You are awesome, and everybody else isn't? *yawn* Call it whatever you want.

Re:Markup language != programming language (1)

daschlag (1130989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26715697)

Writing a few lines of a data markup language does not make you a programmer , you have not "developed" anything and hence what you have written is not an "application"... Lets get this straight - a friggin chimp could code in a markup language given 2 hours training.

Doesn't ease of use make it superior rather than inferior? Your comment reminds me of how lots of programmers reacted to the .Net framework ---

"This is script kiddy stuff that requires zero programming skill!"

You're absolutely right. Now don't let the door hit you on your way out.

It's up there (4, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697511)

Social networking is right up there with the term "Web 2.0" on the list of things I despise.

Re:It's up there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26697835)

Especially when the damn kids use it when standing on my lawn.

Re:It's up there (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697911)

I like anti-social networking, like in the SAW series of movies...

Re:It's up there (2, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698255)

Indeed. I resisted facebook, until I realised:

1. It was not a bad idea to keep track of what my kids were doing.
2. Very many of my (well past teenage) friends kept asking me if I was on it.

Having that that, it's mostly drivel, and linkedin.com is much better for professionals - actually has/does help me find work and keep in touch.

Re:It's up there (2, Funny)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698895)

Ah, but you see, there's an implicit assumption in your reasonable post that is likely not true for the OP: you have friends.

Re:It's up there (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700281)

Arf!

Re:It's up there (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700743)

What I don't like about Linkedin is giving away my career history to the internet. I know you don't have ot but in a way that sort of defeats the point of it.

Re:It's up there (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 5 years ago | (#26710561)

Don't worry. Table dancer is a legitimate career choice. Besides, you followed it up with that mob enforcer job, 3 years of pimping and then with a couple terms in the Senate, so it won't stand out.

Anonymous Coward (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26697683)

We need website specific programming languages now?
What is this world coming to!?

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700593)

Indeed. I commented on this too, but you some it up a lot better.

It's like we've reverted back to compuserve and AOL, pre-web. *shudder*

I just made a facebook application (1)

Kashell (896893) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697811)

...that allows users to mod comments on their walls.

Jon wrote at 12:33pm (Score: 3, Insightful)

The rumors are true. I come home on Thursday!

Wall-to-Wall - Write on Jon's Wall

Jimmy wrote at 10:39am (Score:-1, redundant)

You shouldn't design dumb facebook applications, I hate people like you that fill the world with your garbage.

Wall-to-Wall - Write on Jimmy's Wall

It's like herding cats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26697845)

It's just going to be outdated the moment it comes off the press, considering Facebook "developers" like to change their API randomly, often, and without notice.

You fail 1t (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26697943)

Many of us are S3esion and join in

Don't the first 2 sentences contradict each other? (0)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698057)

I was reading the summary and became confused after the 1st 2 sentences:

Facebook became the largest worldwide social site in the middle of last year.

If their current pace holds they will pass MySpace as number one in the US some time next year.

If they became the largest "worldwide" social site sometime last year, I assume that means they became the #1 social site last year.

The following sentence states they'll pass MySpace some time next year... The only reasoning I can come up with is that MySpace isn't considered a "social site", or maybe they're just not part of this "world".

Re:Don't the first 2 sentences contradict each oth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26698195)

Umm no...

US!=World

By the same logic, China is the biggest country in the World, so why aren't there more chinese that Americans in the US?

Re:Don't the first 2 sentences contradict each oth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26698369)

No.

MySpace has more US users.
Facebook has more users worldwide.

Re:Don't the first 2 sentences contradict each oth (5, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26699883)

I've heard rumors that the US isn't the world. Shhh. Don't tell anybody.

I have resisted Facebook and will continue to (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698061)

I don't know whether it's me alone but I have actively resisted and will continue to resist putting myself on Facebook.

Their user agreement is not something I would like to adhere to. I also look at it as a platform for teenagers yet I am well beyond those years.

Re:I have resisted Facebook and will continue to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26698723)

Jonathan [theonion.com] , is that you?

Re:I have resisted Facebook and will continue to (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698811)

I also look at it as a platform for teenagers yet I am well beyond those years.

Dude... FB originally became popular with the University crowd. It's since moved well beyond that. Jebus, my *mom* is on Facebook (yes, for the record, I find this mildly disturbing).

That's not to say you should sign up. It's definitely got it's problems, and it is fairly silly overall. But targeted at teenagers? Hardly.

Re:I have resisted Facebook and will continue to (4, Insightful)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26699141)

I am also well beyond those years, but have recently joined Facebook. I wouldn't say it's a platform only for teens, but a platform that is as mature as your friends are. I like it for two reasons:

First, I live far away from where I grew up, and I miss the short casual interactions that naturally come from close proximity. Email, blogs, and even phone calls don't lend themselves as well to things like short offhand comments about a book you're reading.

Second, I was surprised at how quickly it connected me with people I haven't seen in a long time, like since high school. People I wish I hadn't lost track of.

I know the slashdot crowd has a certain amount of counterculture pride, but sometimes people take it too far and miss out on something that is both popular and potentially worthwhile.

Re:I have resisted Facebook and will continue to (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26699953)

I read it, and it's not that bad. You're not required to put you whole life on there.

Actually, it's pretty nice. If you're anything like the average semi-geek, you knew lots of people in school. You were probably friends with a bunch of them, but in all honesty after 20 years of being apart, you've probably got about 5 minutes of catching up to do. On facebook, you can, and avoid the 45 minutes of awkward prattle that would occur if said acquaintance were to show up in your town and you decided to meet over a beer.

I check my page 2-3 times a week, and it keeps me abreast of friends (and just casual acquaintances) and what they're doing. It also helps in organizing meetings - my old frat brothers get together for golf every year or two, and it's the easiest way to keep coordinated. Use it, don't let it use you. Turn off all the email notifications (Except maybe private messages) and don't install any applications, they are the devil's spawn.

Re:I have resisted Facebook and will continue to (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#26704393)

Well there are two ways to pick up girls ...

Face the challenge of getting her phone-number and actually call her (if the phone number is real, that is!) ...

Or face the challenge of casually telling her "hey, I'll add you on Facebook!" and REMEMBER her last & first names ...

Unfortunately, I'm bad at both :/

But fortunately, the girls have way better memory (or they tend to get less drunk?) so Facebook still sometimes works.

Anyway, that is the sole reason I have a profile on Facebook (oh, and to re-trace my ex-girlfriends & pre-school crushes ... in order to get news about their babies and happy families ... *sigh*) ... yeah, after all, I agree with all your privacy stuff :)

Too bad... (2, Funny)

eigenstates (1364441) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698087)

FBML is not called Shark Sandwich. The review would be easier.

Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26698151)

along with Twitter, Myspace, blogging (as a personal, not project, broadcasting tool), etc.

Anyone who is passionate about using/doing any of these tools is automatically a douche. Never met any exceptions. This is logical: no-one with sufficient humility to think their life is not worth broadcasting would care much for these tools. And anyone without that humility has sufficient ego that they, in fact, could not give two shits about you, and would shaft you the first time it was necessary to advance themselves.

I mean, for fuck's sake, you want to communicate your life to your friends but you don't have the time to communicate personally with them? Is that really how much a friend is worth to you? How do you get off fooling these people into hanging on your every word?

As if that wasn't enough, if you accept Facebook's privacy policy, you're the type to tolerate all sorts of shit which ultimately makes you to blame for the gradual erosion of individual liberties. Your desire to put convenience over a sensible policy of personal information dissemination makes you a useful idiot of every authoritarian state.

In summary: Avoid at all costs.

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (2, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26698527)

I mean, for fuck's sake, you want to communicate your life to your friends but you don't have the time to communicate personally with them?

I hear that argument a lot, but do you have a family? Kids? Hobbies of your own? I barely have time for a real life social life, Facebook helps to keep me connected.

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26698613)

quod erat demonstrandum, amice.

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (2, Interesting)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26699163)

Not to mention if you happen to live thousands of miles away from several of your friends.

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26699891)

...in which case you have e-mail, MSN, POTS, VoIP, post, etc.

Facebook is the online equivalent of putting a noticeboard up in your front yard and expecting your friends to read it and perhaps stick up new pieces of paper on it that you'll maybe take notice of. Meanwhile you claim yourself too busy to speak to them personally.

You guys really don't get it at all, do you?

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26698911)

I assume the irony of the fact you posted this passed you by?

Posting your thoughts and opinions, as if others cared...

Douche.

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26699147)

Anonymously posting an argument for contemplation to anyone who wants to listen is as far as I can get from slapping my name on some drawl describing what I ate for breakfast in the firm belief that those who know what it is I'm currently digesting can be called my "friends".

The failure of Myspacers/Twitters/Facebookers/Bloggers to see the difference is pretty much the problem. Their self-centred nature is such that they don't actually perceive a difference between focusing on ideas and focusing on themselves.

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26699479)

Uh-huh.

I keep an online diary, I have since Oct 2000. You won't find it in Google, or Yahoo, or anything. It's got a robots.txt file that stops that. But I do write what I did, when I did it etc that day. Or that week.

What's actually *wrong* with that, please tell me? I don't link it in every thing I post, but it's there, it's public. My mum reads it. My friends read it (sometimes, it's pretty boring). It's self centred too. You could find it if you looked hard enough, but it'd bore you to tears.

Your failure is to assume that everything on social-networking sites is rubbish. You're telling us you don't actually have any friends you care about socially, or that you're so retro you only talk to them via a cell phone or SMS. Or is SMS too new as well?

Facebook isn't great, but it's not this monster you've got it pegged as. My friends are there, my girlfriend's Aunties and Uncles post funny stuff from their trip to Africa on there for us to read. One post and they reach everyone they know.

But no, you keep telling yourself it's just full of grandstanding idiots and stick your head in the sand. You're too cool for this kiddie stuff.

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26699723)

I wish I could have a girlfriend like you do.

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26707515)

I wish I could have a girlfriend like you do.

So do I, but my wife would object.

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (2, Interesting)

DorkRawk (719109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700829)

Hi. I'm here as an ambassador from the general public. For some people technology is a tool, not a lifestyle. Some people like posting pictures of last nights party for their friends to see. Some people think Twitter has a legitimate use (it doesn't but it's still fun sometimes). Some people blog because they enjoy it and don't care if they have thousands of readers. It's all just a way of communicating and, in some cases, archiving part of your life. It's fun to look back at my old personal blog. It's fun to look at old pictures from college on Facebook. Is getting over excited about these things silly? Of course it is, but people like what they like and these "social networking" tools let people do what they like.

Asking why people stay in touch with friends via Facebook rather than calling them on the phone is like asking why someone would install Linux when their computer already came with Windows. What seems silly and a complete waste of time to some has value to others.

Re:Facebook is one of my pigeonholing tools (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26704855)

As if that wasn't enough, if you accept Facebook's privacy policy, you're the type to tolerate all sorts of shit which ultimately makes you to blame for the gradual erosion of individual liberties. Your desire to put convenience over a sensible policy of personal information dissemination makes you a useful idiot of every authoritarian state.

Which the main reason I never used it our any of the other sites. I can't remember which one it is, but you have to register just to look at anything. Not worth the effort, just so I can be tracked.

This book could become a collector's item (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26699003)

when the whole social networking thing crashes and burns because it can't really make money.

O'Reilly (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26699079)

O'Reilly have been cutting jobs recently (Slashdot passim).

Perhaps their decline is due to things like this - a subject they wouldn't have touched with somebody else's bargepole a few years ago.

About 99% of facebook apps are useless (1)

Arpie (414285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700305)

I'll be the first to say that almost all facebook apps are pretty useless. Probably 95% are a twist on the ididotic "poke" concept.

[full disclosure: start shameless self-promotion]

That's why I built a decent facebook app. You can see it at http://apps.facebook.com/birthdayfund/ [facebook.com] (or http://www.thebirthdayfund.com/ [thebirthdayfund.com] ).
Basically it just facilitates creating a birthday fund for yourself or for someone else, so instead of getting a few "meh" gifts, you can get whatever you really want. Everybody wins. :-)

Possibly like me or tons of slashdot readers you're a developer with big or cool ideas. Best of luck to you, and if you want to help someone out with theirs, please check out the app on facebook and let me know what you think.

Re:About 99% of facebook apps are useless (2, Interesting)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 5 years ago | (#26717173)

That's why I built a decent facebook app.

An app where everybody gives you money? No wonder you think it's decent. ;-)

Seriously, most of the apps are really pointless, or can be. I don't mind a certain degree of that because it plays into casual contact, especially if you, like me, make it a point to include personalized messages when you send someone flowers, give them a hug or throw a snowball. I gave a hug to a coworker who was having a rough week and included a short note wishing her well. I give my wife little things like that all the time, just like a card. There's a new one I received involving comic books, so I picked out a Watchmen to send to a friend with a comment about what he thinks the movie would be like. This can spur conversation.

I got invited to check out the D&D game, which I found out was really pointless because you don't _do_ anything except watch your character level up. Mafia Wars is the same thing. It's kind of fun for about 2 weeks until you run out of stuff to acquire. Then you're just accumulating money you can't do anything with. The sad thing is that there are tons of games that are _exactly_ the same as MW but with different themes, spaceships, race cars, superheros. Winning at MW essentially boils down to getting as many people as possible to join your "team". The rest of it is completely mechanical and could be played by a short Perl script.

Puzzle games, like Scramble, or some of the trivia games are the only ones that even count as games to me. It seems the market is wide open for some real non-trivial gaming possibilities that capitalize on the interconnectedness of FB users in a way that still allows for things like strategy and tactics. The mindless stuff is fine, especially when I want to do things like thank some nice person I haven't seen in 27 years for saying something nice to me, or wishing people happy birthday, etc. If you take the time to personalize and use the tools to actually communicate, they have value. But I think there's a lot of room for more depth in FB apps, and I'm close to getting annoyed enough at the lack of them to consider making one.

Frankly, I find the best utility of FB is a more open way to essentially e-mail to people. It's not quite one-on-one and it's not quite the same as throwing a blog out there to an uncaring, disinterested world, and that, to me, is the real value of the whole platform. Throw in some real games and apps, and I think it has the potential to be much more than it started out.

Re:About 99% of facebook apps are useless (1)

Arpie (414285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720111)

> An app where everybody gives you money? No wonder you think it's decent. ;-)

LOL. If only I was keeping the money to myself... but alas, I'm not.

Thanks for the time and the insightful answer. I think we're on the same page. I'm really trying to make a legitimate, useful thing here, that will help people interact and feel good.

The app allows you to say what you want for your birthday, add a comment, then whomever contributes also gets to vote on which gift they think is the best, and send you a message along with their contribution.

wha wha whaaat??? (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700519)

Ok. Time to start doing something else for a living. This Internet thing has officially jumped the shark.

*sigh* (2, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26700559)

It used to be that people made their own web pages, and if they were so-inclined and had their own server, a nice document template, some dynamic stuff, whatever.

Now it's this crap. What's sad is that this stuff really adds no particular value to people who had their own webpages.

It's like we're back to AOL and Compuserve all of a sudden. WTF, over?

ma8e (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26701967)

thAis mistake or Of open-source. continues in a AASOCIATION OF by fundamental about who can rant of reality. Keep

Myspace vs. Facebook. (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26704415)

According to Alexa, Facebook passed Myspace last April. Myspace is in decline; they're now about 2x the reach of AOL, and dropping.

I can't code for toast... (1)

kieran (20691) | more than 5 years ago | (#26707775)

... but I will happily contribute £20 towards any project that results in a Facebook app that will sync my friend's contact details to my Nokia phone. Or alternatively to Outlook - I can sync to my phone from that already.

Aren't people sick of having to actually TELL their friends when they get a new phone number? Numbers should be superfluous, and with it's fairly rich security settings Facebook is well placed to become the DNS of the telephone system.

Outdated. Waste of money. (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26715423)

I found that this book offers nothing that isn't available for free at developers.facebook.com. Moreover, it is full of already obsolete information that can lead you on wild goose chases looking for features that have been altered or deprecated.

Even Facebook's own documentation is shoddy. Dead-tree edition of information on a trendy, half-assed technology? Good luck with that.

Thank god for safaribooksonline.

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