I still haven’t started looking at Facebook app development, but when I do, I’m sure I’ll be checking out the ever-growing list of resources out there, including Joey deVilla’s Facebook app tutorial and softwaredeveloper.com’s list of essential tools and tutorials.
As expected, the ideas I recently wrote about have been implemented (and perhaps already had been before I wrote it). There are at least two “Top friends” applications out there, and two “poke” alternatives, and an adoptable pet application. A search reveals that someone seems to be working on a gift app too. I expect to see lots and lots and lots of duplication and competition in there.
Meanwhile, I suppose I should get moving on putting my own pets into Facebook, even though I have a couple of other priorities first. Perhaps I should shift my priorities and focus on Facebook while things are still exciting? Hmmm!
I haven’t even started digging into the documentation seriously yet nor have I looked at the sample application, but I’ve been playing with existing Facebook apps and a bunch of ideas are bouncing around in my head. I’m sure a lot of these are pretty common ideas, but since there’s no “search” function that I can find in Facebook’s app directory, I can’t tell if anyone has already done these or not. In any case, I’m going to throw a few ideas out there for anyone else to grab if they want… like I said these are not particularly original, and I may or may not try my hand at any of these myself.
- MySpace-like “Top 8”. The Facebook API lets an app enumerate a user’s friends, so it should be a simple matter to allow the user to pick their favourite 8 (or whatever number) to be displayed in a custom section on their profile. (At this point I’m not sure if those friends would also need to have the same application added to show up…) I am no fan of “top X” (I like the way Facebook shows a random selection of friends on your profile), but I think this would be funny :P
- Free Gifts! I know a lot of people grumble about having to pay a dollar to send a virtual gift to someone else. A third-party Facebook app could easily add their own virtual gifts of their own design and enable sending such gifts from one user to another. (I haven’t checked to see if something like this would violate the TOS for Facebook developers though)
- Super Pokes. Or not just poking, but slapping, spanking, pinching, etc. Since Facebook apps can have “requests” show up in the top part of the right-hand column of a user’s home page, they would be near the existing “poke” messages. I don’t know if you could have the pincher’s name show up there, though… it might have to look like a group or event request (e.g. “3 super pokes” and you’d have to click to see whom they were from)
I’m pretty excited about the Facebook Platform which was announced yesterday. It goes beyond just “widgets.” It lets you create modules (“Facebook applications”) that run right inside of Facebook. They have access to the user’s data, if users consent to it. Apps can have a box on the user’s profile page, as well as having their own dedicated pages.
The obvious first thing I will try is putting my adoptable pets into Facebook profiles. However, I also would like to create apps that use the Facebook data more deeply. I wonder if someone has already created a “TOP 8 FRIENDS”-type module, a la MySpace ;) If not, I may take a stab at it just for learning purposes.