Platform Update: Event API Calls Improved, Publishing Video, Receiving Documentation Updates

The latest Platform Update to the Facebook Developer’s blog announced a change to how data about Facebook Events is accessed through the Graph API that should improve the performance of Event data-dependent apps. It also announced that domains no longer need to be on a whitelist in order to publish video to the news feed, and explained how developers can now use the Like button to receive updates about documentation changes.

Currently, when developers query the event_member FQL table via the Graph API, all of a user’s Facebook Events are returned, taxing the API and causing apps that require this type of data to run slowly. To fix this issue, starting May 3rd, 2011, calls for a user’s events will only return those from the last two weeks. The change will also impact calls to https://graph.facebook.com/[USER ID]/events.

The update should be especially helpful for developers of real-time Event recommendation apps, such as The Hotlist, as their users will be less likely bounce while enduring long loading times. For developers who want older Event data, or data in a specific range, Facebook will release a new start_time specification tomorrow. For example, to retrieve all of a user’s events since April 1st, 2010, developers would call:

SELECT eid from event_member where uid=260300016
  and start_time > 1270098000

To retrieve all of a user’s Events, as was the default before, developers can specify start_time > 0

Previously, developers who wanted to publish video content to the news feed had to submit an application and wait for their domain to be added to Facebook’s video publishing whitelist. Facebook no longer requires this, opening video publishing to all domains.

Developer now merely need to append the Open Graph tag og:video to the webpage hosting the video, and optionally add tags for height, width, and video player type. Facebook will infer the player type if none is specified.

Developers looking to keep up-to-date with specific pieces of Facebook’s documentation can now click the Like button on those pages. They’ll then receive news feed updates whenever that documentation Page is significantly updated.