Building a Facebook Application for Business

Small businesses rarely have unlimited access to programmers who can code their ideas for Facebook apps and implement them. The sad fact is that many more people would jump in and create useful applications if there were a simpler way to build apps than outlined here, including learning FBML (Face Book Markup Language).

Several services have come and gone that attempt to make the process easier for novices or those without programming background. But if you have no coding ability, it may be best to hire others using sites like eLance or or CyberCoder to bid the project, once you’ve decided what your app will do.

This is done by some sites by offering embeddable widgets that operate within templates like polls, feeds or external API’s pulling data via their own Facebook developer accounts and not yours. There’s also an app on Facebook called “Facebook Application Builder” which is actually an app – that allows you to to customize their app in a few simple ways.

You will need to sign up as a Facebook developer to begin app building for your business. The tutorial here shows a very simple Facebook application created in less than five minutes. The developer in the video below uses the shell (black screen in the video) to edit and upload his work, but this can be done with any FTP program, Notepad or Dreamweaver.

The point here is that it should not be hard to do. The video tutorial below walks you through each step on Facebook and then on the server side (outside FB) where the php files will be hosted. This means you need to have a web server that can run PHP and process javascript, then serve it back to Facebook.

There are several assumptions made by the developer in the video tutorial below.

  1. You know how to work in the Shell via a command prompt
  2. You know that FBML is Face Book Markup Language
  3. You know how to code HTML, javascript and PHP

The point here is that it is easier than many people think to create a Facebook application, even though you do need to know more than the average webmaster to do so. We’ll look at the individual pieces in upcoming posts, but those of you who can follow the video should jump in and create a simple Facebook application or two.

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