New Facebook Requests API Brings Less Flexibility, Ease of Use With Invitations

Facebook Invites Interface I am rather late on this news, but I haven’t seen anyone take this slant on it. As most of you are aware, Facebook has removed their notifications.sendRequest API method in favor of a more standardized invite interface for all their applications. This has several ramifications:

  1. You are pretty much forced to use FBML now if you want an invite interface. IMO this is a good thing, and especially good for Facebook, as it means they have more control over the content of the applications on their platform. You can say goodbye to most of the applications using iFrames in the future.
  2. All invite interfaces will pretty much look the same. Facebook has provided a few FBML tags that make creation of the friends list to select from, and form to send invites to very easy. I implemented this on all my applications last night and I have to say it’s quite slick. This also means more applications will have invite forms and will henceforth grow much faster. Expect to see many more invites in the coming weeks from various applications because of this.
  3. All your base belongs to Facebook. Facebook now has much more control over how invite forms look and are used. On the other hand, developers have much less flexibility on how the invites are used. I am having a huge headache trying to figure out a way to get an invite link below your friends profile pics if you have the app installed on a few of my apps. Maybe Facebook doesn’t want it. Some theorize it’s because many developers have abused this interface.

I have mixed feelings about this interface. On one hand, this makes it extremely easy to create an invite interface. On the other hand, this puts everyone at a level playing field, keeping some of the more creative developers out of the game. I’ve seen similar things with the limits Facebook puts on various API calls. I would love to have Facebook notify you of every new SteepAndCheap.com product on my SAC App, for instance. The Spammers have ruined it for some really good ideas to come forth.

In all, this is good for Facebook. More people will use their applications, a trend they seem to be moving towards lately. You see they’re putting a huge focus on this after opening their Apps Directory this last week. More exposure == more money for both Facebook and those developing their apps. In the end I think this is a good thing.

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