Facebook has announced a road map of what the social networking giant will roll out for developers over the next two quarters, including new developer tools and technologies, enhanced communication with users, and improved application discovery.
In a blog post on the road map, Ethan Beard, head of platform at Facebook, said, “We focus on providing our developer community with simple building blocks to speed innovation and create an environment where small teams quickly push new products that can rapidly disrupt industries.”
Among the new developer tools and policies Facebook will roll out is a new Open Graph API, where any page on the Web can have many of the features of a Facebook Page-users can become a fan of the page, it will show up on that user’s profile and in search results, and that page will be able to publish stories to the stream of its fans.
Facebook also will deliver new Facebook Connect Libraries that are smaller, clearer and faster. And the company will provide a new developer Website, Platform Live Status, and a public road map. Developers.facebook.com will include a central dashboard to view the health of various integration points, bugs and Platform uptime, as well as details about upcoming changes and improvements to Platform. Developers also will be able to subscribe to the Developer Blog and Status Feed via e-mail.
In addition, Facebook will provide an improved Application Insights Page and a new Analytics API.
“We have streamlined our policies and principles and will be proactively applying them widely across Platform,” Beard said. “In addition, we’re retiring the formerly optional Application Verification brand, submission process, fees and badge; the program’s higher standards will be required, and applications will be subject to review at any time.”
Under the auspices of direct and simplified communication with users, Beard said Facebook will:
Offer access to user e-mail addresses. To reduce friction and empower application and Facebook Connect developers to manage their relationship with users, for the first time, Facebook is providing a simple and safe way for users to share their e-mail addresses with developers.
Focus Facebook communication on the stream and Inbox. This consolidates developer and user communication into the two most powerful channels-stream and Inbox-and provides new features to help users stay engaged with applications. User-to-user communications commonly in the notifications and requests channels will be moved to the Inbox.
And to improve application discovery and engagement, Facebook will provide simplified navigation, prominent new dashboards including a new Apps Dashboard and Games Dashboard, and a new counter channel.
“Through these new APIs and tools, we are giving all developers building with Facebook and those in our largest application category-gaming-new ways to attract and engage users,” Beard said.
““Application communication in channels like notifications and requests isn’t effectively serving their original purpose. There is a significant opportunity to improve the user experience and reduce spam by replacing them with better features and moving most communication to the stream and Inbox. We believe these steps, combined with providing users with a way to share their e-mail address with applications they trust, will simplify the site and create new long-term opportunities for developers.”“
Beard said developers can find details and estimated timing for the upcoming tools on the Facebook Developer wiki.