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Facebook Graph API Development with Flash

Facebook has changed a lot over the past few years. Most important is the new Graph API, introduced April 2010, and how it simplified developing apps for Facebook. Many businesses, large and small, are adding their branded apps to Facebook. It's not surprising that FlashR developers want to get involved in the Facebook craze. Facebook Graph API Development with Flash by Michael James Williams is for the Flash developer who knows nothing about Facebook.

The book is presented as a beginner's guide and this is true as far as the Facebook aspects covered. However, this is not true for the Flash aspects covered in the book. The author assumes that you are familiar with advanced Flash application development. If you have no experience in this area, you may find the last two-thirds of the book difficult to understand. However, if you are a Flash developer who needs to learn how to integrate Flash projects with Facebook, this book can help.

The author supplies a pre-built Flash project called Visualizer which contains the ActionScript class structure and the UI for the sample application. These sample files are downloadable from the publisher's website and compatible with Flash BuilderTM, FlashDevelop and Flash CS3 and above. Williams progressively builds upon this basic application throughout the book.

I really enjoyed the author's teaching approach. As he introduces each new Facebook concept, he first explains how it fuctions via a web browser. After you have an understanding of how the Facebook feature works, he explains the code in the Visualizer project that will perform the same task.

The first few chapters cover the basics for building a Facebook application including setting up a website for your application, exploring the Facebook Graph API and registering your app on Facebook. He then covers what you will need to build, test and debug your AS3 project.

It's the Facebook Graph API and Facebook's FQL that will pass information about the user to your application. Williams explains the available information that can be accessed by your app and how to code these requests with ActionScript. At this point, he introduces the Adobe ActionScript 3 SDK for Facebook. Williams then explains the options for integrating your app with Facebook including iframe, FBML, the page tab and from your website. He also covers authorization through AIR and on Android.

Finally, you are ready to publish your app to Facebook. Williams gets back to basics again as he discusses creating a profile page for your app and the Facebook Application Directory.

Michael James Williams is a Flash developer and technical writer for Activetuts+. He also has a Flash game development blog at http://gamedev.michaeljameswilliams.com/.

Purchase at Packt Pub

*Packt Publishing provided a review copy to me free of charge.

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