With the Facebook profile redesign launch coming in the next few weeks, developers are quickly scrambling to update their apps to adapt to the new profile integration points. However, the latest version of the Platform Changes page on the Developer Wiki explains some changes that haven’t been talked about much yet (though some were mentioned briefly tonight at the Palo Alto Developer Garage). Here’s a quick summary:
1. Users can no longer add app profile boxes during installation. Since the beginning of the Platform, users have had the option (defaulted on) to add an app profile box when adding an app. While this has significantly helped application growth, it has also led to significant profile clutter. After the redesign, users will be able to “add a profile box to the main profile by clicking an Add New Profile Section button which the application can insert into their canvas pages via the fb:add-section-button FBML tag.” The installation process will consist only of authorization to let apps know who users are, but will no longer lead to automatic profile integration.
2. Left side navigation links are moving. Until now, up to 7 applications (including Facebook’s own) have been directly accessible from the left nav. With the redesign, “Users can directly bookmark applications they are using.” All applications will be accessible from the “Applications” drop down in the Facebook header. “Bookmarked” applications will appear above other apps.
3. Profile action links are gone. According to Facebook, “There are no profile action links for third party applications. Instead, users interact with their friends using applications in the Publisher box.”
4. Feed stories are turned on by default. According to Facebook, “By default, applications can send Feed stories to Users. Users can choose to opt out of having applications send Feed stories.” Currently, users have the choice to opt out of receiving feed stories during app installation. With the simplified app “authorization” process, this checkbox will also be removed.
5. The future of application emails is in doubt. The Wiki says, “The new behavior has not been determined yet.” Sounds like Facebook is unsure of whether continuing to give developers the opportunity to contact users by email is a good idea.
What do all these changes mean for the future of the Platform? Certainly, these changes will present challenges for apps. What’s good for users and good for Facebook is usually good for developers – hopefully, the profile redesign will ultimately be just that.