Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Facebook "Deprecates" FBML Tomorrow (Aw, Poor FBML!)

Facebook on Thursday will start moving pages and applications on its platform toward using open Web elements rather than its proprietary FBML (Facebook Markup Language). As a side effect, the change will push pages and apps creators who are not technical toward paying outside hosting providers to customize their pages.

The company is “deprecating” FBML as of March 11, meaning it will no longer allow developers to create new FBML apps and non-developers to use Facebook’s simple FBML app for their pages. Rather, they will have to use HTML iFrames.

On one hand, this will encourage more dynamic apps with more consistent experiences across the Web. On the other, change is hard, and this will affect many businesses with pages using Facebook’s free static tools who may now need to find someone to help them create and host an iFrame.

Old FBML pages can stay up and continue to be edited, and many pages don’t use apps at all. But new customizations will require a change of tools.

The change is being welcomed by third-party developer consultants like Wildfire, Involver, Context Optional and Buddy Media. That’s because it means more business for them to help create and host iFrames–and likely more involved apps and pages that include things like analytics and commerce. For a fee, of course. Wildfire, for instance, is offering a free three-month trial of an app that helps business pages mimic what they previously had with FBML.

It’s not clear that all business page admins know about the shift away from FBML. Though Facebook has been forecasting this change since last year, the capacity to use iFrames on pages has been available only for the past month, and many business pages are not particularly actively maintained.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work