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Facebook Application Development For Dummies Paperback – May 10 2011

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Amazon.com: 14 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I need a Dummies book to be able to understand this one March 10 2012
By T. MCCANN - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When you read an instructional book and continually wish you had another book to explain it, then the book has failed.

In common with other reviewers I found the information in this book to be well out of date. Usually in Dummies books they take a 'fill-in-the-blanks' approach to getting you started, the emphasis being on getting you to a working result as quickly as possible, and then explaining the theory later. This approach was never going to work with this topic because the Facebook platform changes week by week. The author acknowledges this; I've lost track of the number of times the author says "at the time of writing...". It would have been useful therefore for him to abandon the usual Dummies approach and give the reader some much needed theory: for example explaining the parts of the Facebook screen you can and can't change, building a top-down explanation of terms and concepts, etc. But no, the author presses ahead with page after page after page of screens and forms that look nothing like what you will actually see when you come to do it.

Rather than giving us a structured look at the Facebook platform, the author darts about, talking about javascript here, HTML there, a bit of PHP, then a tiny bit about authorisation, then back to the canvas, more javascript, a bit abouts tabs, then iFrames, more settings and a bit more javascript. He goes from talking about high level marketing concepts to low level detail about javascript variables and back again sometimes on the same page. There is no discernible structure. This lack of structure means you don't build a mental picture of how Facebook applications work and you also don't see a story of how an application is built step by step. In short, the author probably knows this subject inside out but has no skill at getting it across to others. The Dummies editor, if there was one for this book, should have spotted and corrected this serious shortcoming.

I've given up on it. I'll keep it for reference and give it 2 stars on the expectation that it might come in useful later on. On almost every page the author refers the reader to look at the latest content on Facebook's own developers website. Here's my suggestion: save yourself the cost of this book and go directly to the Facebook developer pages.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Finally an up-to-date book about FB Apps May 10 2011
By Steve C - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great information! At the time of this review this was the only book I could find about Facebook apps that was up-to-date with all the changes to the Platform. It covers a lot of information on a wide variety of subjects, but all relevant to Facebook Apps.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Best techbook purchase in years June 2 2011
By T. Summerall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you, like me, are just getting started in facebook app development you should buy this book right now. (I have no relationship to the author.)

The state of fb development is a moving target and this book has tons of the latest info. It will save you from having to do the site-by-site, blog-by-blog detective work to figure out how to do things.

I was getting really frustrated looking for thorough and up-to-date information and finding this book was a huge relief.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Obsolete, not recommended Feb. 24 2012
By RDP1976 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a programmer with a degree in Computer Science and 13 years programming experience. I've read many books on programming, applications development, databases, social networks etc. I just finished reading this book and while I'm sure it was more relevant when it was first published, I found that most of the content is now obsolete. Most of the code examples are either incomplete, obsolete or use deprecated functionality. Many of the code examples don't work. Many of the links provided don't work. I even found sections of the author's own website (staynalive.com) that are broken links! Overall, I don't feel like this book was professionally written. The structure is poor and lacks any sort of synergy between sections. I was hoping for a book that would take the reader through the full development cycle of a Facebook Application - from concept to design, programming and testing. Most programming books adopt some sort of "dummy project" to allow for the reader to "learn by doing". This is not the case with this book. In the author's defense, I do understand that Facebook is a living, breathing environment and I recognize that it is always going to be difficult for a "Facebook" book to be accurate when, by the time the book is published, it is likely that much of the content is incorrect/obsolete. Having said that, whilst this book did "get me started" with understanding Facebook Application Development, I wouldn't recommend it due to its "out of date" content.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I'm a dummy for buying this book June 13 2012
By Jeremy S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for two reasons, 1) it was copy righted in 2011 which means it's fairly up to date. 2) The book is written for dummies. The second part implies that the book is intended for those who do not currently know how to write a program but would like to learn.

Problem: The author assumes you already know what you are doing and just need some one to fill in the gaps. If this guy were to write a book on flying for dummies it wouldn't bother me, you or air traffic control because the readers would never get off the ground to begin with.

Example: In chapter two you build a quick and dirty application just to see that you can write your own code and actually see it work on Facebook. I think that is a great idea and I support that type of thinking. HOWEVER, he tells you early in the chapter to use a text editor to write your code in, then he moves on to another topic. Later in the chapter when it comes time to writing the application the author tells you to open the HTML file you created earlier in the chapter, if this is the first time you are creating this file then save it now. I never created a thing earlier in the chapter! then he gives you the code to type into notepad or what have you. The VERY NEXT STEP is to check your work on facebook and if all goes well you will see your first application. PLEASE SOME ONE, explain to me how the file I have sitting open in my text editor is now happily sitting in the appropriate place for facebook to fetch it.

This book is not intended for those who need a reference on programming. If you are book shopping for this topic that means you need some help with the subject, this book does not help it confuses. There is plenty of material on developers.facebook.com for anyone interested in starting out, a book is not crucial. It looks like some older books are still accurate enough that they may be a better choice. I'm just trying to write the review I wish I could have read before I blew $20 on this mess.