Title: Building Facebook Applications for Dummies
Author: Richard Wagner
Page Count/Review Word Count: 342
Okay, let me get this straight – I’m not a web developer, although I work with some. Yeah, I run two websites – that makes me an admin, not a developer. I’m comfortable with HTML, and I worked with PHP and MySQL as a teenager earning a bit of cash by modding phpBB forums, but that doesn’t mean I have the technical knowledge that’s required to code an application.
I do, however, work in social media, and so I considered it to be research in to the options available, but I must admit I wasn’t looking forward to reading the book. I was pleasantly surprised, though – it turns out that I basically qualify as a dummy developer.
Wagner uses PHP code, although you can also use Java, ASP.NET, ASP, ColdFusion, C++, C#, Python, Ruby On Rails and more, and many of Facebook’s technologies (FBML, FQL and FBJS) are language neutral. Surprisingly, I found that I could understand the language, and in places I even found mistakes – basic ones, where he’d copied and pasted the code, then changed the opening tag but not the closing one.
The author’s sense of humour shows at times, too – better still, you sometimes see it in the code. It keeps you on your toes, and it makes you pay more attention and take the lessons in. I’m not sure how much I’d get on with him as a person, though – it’s interesting, with books about social media, you tend to get a good idea of what the author is like in real life. You notice the films that they like, spy on their example statuses and always, for some reason, scan the names of their friends in case you know them.
It’s a good book, though a little dated as it was first published in 2008. Still, would-be developers can learn a lesson or two, but check the latest documentation first. I’m guessing lots has changed.