What Is Facebook?

In 2007, Facebook launched its own platform for application development. The platform consists of an HTML-based markup language called Facebook Markup Language (FBML), an application programming interface (API) for making representational state transfer (REST) calls to Facebook, a SQL-styled query language for interacting with Facebook called Facebook Query Language (FQL), a scripting language called Facebook JavaScript for enriching the user experience, and a set of client programming libraries. Generically, the tools that make up the Facebook platform are loosely called the Facebook API.

By releasing this platform, Facebook built an apparatus that allows developers to create external applications to empower Facebook users to interact with one another in new and exciting ways—ways that you, as a developer, get to invent. Not only can you develop web applications, but Facebook has also opened up its platform to Internet-connected desktop applications with its Java client library. By opening this platform up to both web-based and desktop applications and offering to general users the same technology that Facebook developers use to build applications, Facebook is positioning itself to be a major player in the future of socio-technical development.

A Brief History of Facebook
In 2003, eUniverse launched a new social portal called MySpace. This web site became wildly popular very quickly, reaching the 20-million-user mark within a year. Just a year earlier, a bright young programmer named Mark Zuckerberg matriculated at Harvard University. The year in which MySpace launched, Zuckerberg and his friend Adam D’Angelo launched a new media player, called Synapse, that featured the Brain feature. Synapse’s Brain technology created playlists from your library by picking music that you like more than music than you don’t. Although this type of smart playlist generation is common in today’s media players, at its launch, it was an innovation. Synapse’s launch was met with positive reviews, and several companies showed interest in purchasing the software; however, ultimately no deals were made, and the media player never took off.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), one of Zuckerman’s next projects created quite a bit more controversy. He created Facemash.com, a variant of the HOTorNOT.com web site for Harvard students. To acquire images for the web site, Zuckerberg harvested images of students from the many residence hall web sites at Harvard. Because Zuckerberg was running a for-profit web site and had not obtained students’ permission to use their images, Zuckerberg was brought before the university’s administrative board on charges of breaching computer security and violating Internet privacy and intellectual property policies. Zuckerberg took a leave of absence from Harvard after the controversy and then relaunched his site as a social application for Harvard students in 2004. The viral nature of the web site allowed it to grow quickly, and a year later Zuckerberg officially withdrew from Harvard to concentrate his efforts on developing what was first known as thefacebook.com.

Relaunched as Facebook in 2005, the social network quickly expanded to the rest of the Ivy League. Soon after, Facebook expanded dramatically across university and college campuses across the nation. Facebook’s focus on the college and university demographic helped catapult it into what any marketing manager will tell you is the most difficult demographic to crack, the 18–24 young adult market.

To keep its growing momentum, Facebook opened its doors to nonacademic users for the first time in 2007. Since this time, Facebook has grown to be the second largest social network with more than 30 million users. And with any growth comes opportunities both for the company and for its users.

Source of Information : Apress Facebook API Developers Guide

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