Facebook advances its transition to a mobile-first platform

It has unveiled three new tools for mobile developers working on social integration.

Bill Siwicki

Facebook today at its Mobile Developer Conference in New York City unveiled new tools for mobile developers, including retailers, that are designed to advance the social network’s goal of becoming a company that caters to mobile consumers.

“We’re launching three important products that further our transition to a mobile-first platform,” Facebook writes in its official developer blog. “We’re making it easier to implement Open Graph on mobile, improving Facebook Login, and releasing a new Facebook SDK 3.5 for iOS.”

More than 81% of the top 100 grossing iOS apps and 70% of the top 100 grossing Android apps integrate with Facebook, the social network reports. It adds that it has more than 680 million mobile users worldwide.

Facebook is now enabling mobile developers to integrate its Open Graph into apps through new application programming interfaces, or APIs. The Open Graph is the sum total of the actions a user takes on Facebook. Facebook admits it was challenging for mobile developers to add objects to the Open Graph. An object, for example, can be information on and an image of a purchased product that a shopper chooses to share via Facebook. To make it easier, Facebook has debuted the Object API.

“With the Object API, you can directly create Open Graph objects and no longer need to host web pages with Open Graph tags,” Facebook says. “In addition, we’re rolling out the Object Browser, a simple visual interface that helps you easily interact with the object data you publish.”

Another tool Facebook debuted today is Native Share Dialog, which, when integrated in a mobile app, enables app users to share activity without needing to log in to Facebook first. A dialog is a box that appears on screen that presents or requests information. “The Native Share Dialog offers a lightweight and consistent way to enable sharing on native mobile apps,” Facebook says. “Similar to the Like button, you can create engaging sharing experiences with just one line of code.”

Facebook also is rolling out a faster mobile Native Login Dialog that has been redesigned to give users greater clarity and control of their app permissions. The social network completely rebuilt its Login Dialog with a focus on performance.

The new dialogs load up to 20% faster on mobile,” Facebook says. “Starting today, all mobile and non-game web apps will be automatically upgraded to the new dialogs with no change required to your code.”

Developers can access the faster Login Dialog through Facebook’s latest Apple iOS and Android software development kits, or SDKs.

And Facebook today has debuted Facebook SDK 3.5 for iOS, a major update to the Facebook SDK for Apple devices that adds support for the Object API, Native Share Dialog and Native Login Dialog. The latest SDK supports iOS 5.0 and above.

The social network also has announced the Facebook Technology Partners program, which is designed to help mobile developers take advantage of partners’ technologies that include SDKs, plug-ins, tools and services to help developers build social features into apps. The initial list of participating technology providers includes: C# SDK for Windows 8 by Microsoft, Corona SDK by Corona Labs, Kinvey, Node.js by Thuzi, Parse SDK by Parse, PhoneGap by Adobe, Sencha Touch by Sencha, StackMob SDK by StackMob, Trigger.io SDK by Trigger.io, Unity Social Networking Plugin by Prime31 and WinJS by Thuzi.


Apple iOS, Facebook, m-commerce, Mobile, mobile app developers, mobile apps, mobile commerce, mobile social media, social graph, social media