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Facebook Cookbook: Building Applications to Grow Your Facebook Empire [Paperback]

Jay Goldman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 6 2008 059651817X 978-0596518172 1

Want to build Facebook applications that truly stand out among the thousands already available? In addition to providing easy-to-follow recipes that offer practical ways to design and build scalable applications using the Facebook Platform and its new profile design, this Cookbook also explains proven strategies for attracting users in this highly competitive environment.

With plenty of examples and practical solutions, Facebook Cookbook answers some of the hardest questions Facebook application developers contend with -- including how and where to get started. This Cookbook will help you:

  • Learn to build an application that scales to accommodate a sudden influx of users
  • Explore changes from Facebook's old profile design to the new look and feel
  • Take advantage of new integration points in the new profile design
  • Get tips for designing applications with hosting and deployment costs in mind
  • Discover which widgets and controls to use for building the most attractive user interface design
  • Learn the differences between standard HTML, JavaScript, and SQL, and the versions used on the Facebook Platform
  • Target large, defined groups on Facebook, including those who want to find jobs, hire employees, market a business, advertise, and more

If you can build simple web applications with HTML, Facebook Cookbook will help you build applications with the potential to reach millions of users around the globe. Learn what it takes to design applications that stand above the rest.


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About the Author

Jay Goldman has been providing a human side to technology for over ten years, as both a User Experience Specialist and Visual Designer. His career has been focused on the interaction between people and technology, and his insights have helped to greatly improve products on mobile, web, and desktop platforms, including IBM DB2 and Mozilla Firefox. Jay led Radiant Core's Professional Services Team on a wide variety of award winning engagements across many industries, and is now helping tech startups to change the world as a consultant on products, technology, and design. He has been instrumental in the continued growth of the BarCamp community in Toronto and was one of the co-conductors of the very successful TransitCamp event held in partnership with the Toronto Transit Commission. Jay is the host of Mr. Mobile, a weekly web video from Butterscotch.com covering the latest in mobile technology; you can check them out at http://butterscotch.com/mrmobile. Jay has been published in the Harvard Business Review and is the author of Facebook Cookbook for O'Reilly Media.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
thorough primer on building apps for the Facebook Platform

The Facebook Cookbook covers pretty much everything budding Facebook application developers (and designers) need to know to get started with the platform or to expand their existing knowledge - from the ins-and-outs of setting up a development environment, to understanding the FBML, FBJS and FQL markup languages, tips on integrating a myriad of social/community features, optimizing application performance, solving common technical issues and everything in between.

It's a cookbook in every sense - so it's filled with recipes for success. But with great power comes great responsibility. Thankfully the Facebook Cookbook will make being responsible with your great Facebook app ideas that much easier, allowing you to spend more time adding value, not reinventing the wheel.

As a complete newbie to building apps for Facebook, I feel like I now have a solid base on which to build - as well as a new sense of excitement in the potential of the Facebook Platform itself. Jay's writing (along with a number of additional contributors) is both down to earth and easy to read, something that's rare in these sort of technically oriented books, making the book a pleasure to read cover-to-cover and as a great reference. As the owner of quite a number of O'Reilly books, including those from the Cookbook series, this is definitely a favourite and comes highly recommended.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got an app to go build...
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5.0 out of 5 stars From great idea to successful application. Jan. 16 2009
Format:Paperback
A good technical book will achieve two goals: inform and inspire. Now, a great technical book, that will motivate. It will force you to act. Not out of obligation, but with verve that's usually reserved for a kid in a candy shop. And the Facebook Cookbook is motivating as hell.

It's so motivating that I've passed off the book to our other team members, Matt and Jim, to get them on board with not just some of the Facebook app ideas I'd like to explore this year, but some of the other technical insights that are found in the book. We'll see if they're as excited as I expect them to be after having a read. And, who knows, maybe a great Facebook app will come out of it. As long as it doesn't involve Zombies, I'll be excited to work on it.

So, let's talk about application ideas. Clearly, the Facebook application environment is super crowded, with volumes of applications in all sorts of categories, but there's always room for new successes with a well executed idea. More important than anything, with the Facebook Cookbook Jay's been able to get me to explore ideas that may otherwise have been put on the back burner, simply because of a perceived complexity in building for a new technical environment. The directness with which Jay and guests such as Jeffrey Tseng and Ilya Grigorik (among other great contributors) tackle not just the technical aspects of the Facebook Platform, but supporting technologies, Facebook specific marketing, and more, demystify this new environment.

Even better than breaking down the process of moving from idea to app to growth, across all of the key aspects of managing a successful Facebook app, the Facebook Cookbook is full of detailed and specific insight.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent assistance in building Facebook applications Nov. 14 2008
By calvinnme - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This tutorial is for developers with a broad but not necessarily deep background in web development who are interested in building Facebook web applications. Although Facebook Desktop and Mobile apps are covered where applicable, the content of this book is about straight web applications. Material covered includes how to plan an app, API details and FQL calls, and how to market and attract users, so there should be something for all participants in Facebook app development.

The author assumes you already know your way around web development in the areas of HTML, CSS, PHP programming, and SQL/database design. You don't need to be an expert with any of them, and the author makes suggestions on good books on all of the supporting technologies. The following is the detailed table of contents for the book, which is currently not included in the product description:

Chapter 1. Introducing Facebook Platform - A general overview of Facebook, Facebook Platform, and an introduction to the opportunity it represents.

Chapter 2. Ideation and Strategy - If you don't have an idea in mind already for an app, this chapter helps you out by giving you some ideas for some applications that you can extend. Shows techniques for doing app design quickly and with the best possible results.

Chapter 3. Hello World - Walks you through the classic Hello World first programming example.

Chapter 4. Architecture and Design - Covers the best architectures for Facebook apps, provides some recommendations for database performance, and produces an overview of the design and user experience of some winning applications.

Chapter 5. Setting Up Your Environment - Learn about all the things you need to download in order to get started. Learn how to add apps to Facebook, how to set up a test account, and how to get information on the latest changes to Facebook.

Chapter 6. Facebook Markup Language (FBML) - FBML is the glue that holds the Facebook Platform together. Covers all of the tags, discusses some odd behaviors you might encounter, and explores some great tricks for building better frontends.

Chapter 7. Facebook JavaScript (FBJS) - 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 useful functions available to you.

Chapter 8. Facebook Query Language (FQL) - As FBML is to HTML, FQL is to SQL. This chapter examines the schema of the various database tables to which you have access, and catalogs some really useful FQL queries you can use in your apps.

Chapter 9. Facebook API - Digs deep into the code of the API that connects everything together. The chapter goes through each of the objects and methods you have at your disposal, and gives you some tips and tricks for desktop apps. The chapter covers the API using the official Facebook PHP Client, but it shouldn't be too hard to convert these examples into your language of choice.

Chapter 10. Marketing Your App - Supplies some general marketing options for Facebook applications and some techniques for measuring your success at attracting people to your app.

You should be able to use the book either by reading cover to cover or by skipping around in it. It is well-illustrated and the code is well commented. Highly recommended. Also recommended for those just starting out is FBML Essentials, since a good understanding of FBML is essential for success.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally obsolete Oct. 28 2009
By Kathy Halkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Today (October 28, 2009) I have received from Amazon this book and the book FBML Essentials by Jesse Stay.
These two books might have been perfect in an earlier time but today they are utterly useless. The facebook interface has totally changed from what is described in those two books. I am a very experienced programmer (Java, C, C++, Objective C, HTML,PHP, Javascript , CSS and more) but here I am totally lost!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Consolidation of Information, But... March 5 2009
By Christian D. Nunciato - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Facebook Cookbook is an excellent reference, covering and consolidating the explosion of publicly available (and often wrong) Wiki documentation. On the whole, it's well worth the Amazon price. However it's worth noting that the book all but presumes you'll be using the Facebook PHP library (which I'm not), and its "recipes" often lean so heavily on that presumption as to become useless to those of us using other APIs (or in my case, none at all). Definitely recommended as a bird's-eye survey of the Facebook Platform and API, but if you're not using PHP, you might find yourself a bit frustrated by how much of it the book contains.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thorough primer on building apps for the Facebook Platform Dec 30 2008
By Scott Boms - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Facebook Cookbook covers pretty much everything budding Facebook application developers (and designers) need to know to get started with the platform or to expand their existing knowledge - from the ins-and-outs of setting up a development environment, to understanding the FBML, FBJS and FQL markup languages, tips on integrating a myriad of social/community features, optimizing application performance, solving common technical issues and everything in between.

It's a cookbook in every sense - so it's filled with recipes for success. But with great power comes great responsibility. Thankfully the Facebook Cookbook will make being responsible with your great Facebook app ideas that much easier, allowing you to spend more time adding value, not reinventing the wheel.

As a complete newbie to building apps for Facebook, I feel like I now have a solid base on which to build - as well as a new sense of excitement in the potential of the Facebook Platform itself. Jay's writing (along with a number of additional contributors) is both down to earth and easy to read, something that's rare in these sort of technically oriented books, making the book a pleasure to read cover-to-cover and as a great reference. As the owner of quite a number of O'Reilly books, including those from the Cookbook series, this is definitely a favourite and comes highly recommended.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got an app to go build...
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Facebook Development Book So Far Dec 16 2008
By Fussbucket - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is most reader friendly Facebook development book I have read so far. I own about 5 books on the subject and the case studies (problem, solution, discussion) found in this book have been the most useful by far.
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