The iPhone SDK, renamed the iOS SDK to match Apple’s mobile operating system name change, has a couple new product updates. One is that developers can now integrate the Graph API with their apps, allowing for simpler connections from mobile to a wide range of Facebook data. The other addition is that they will be able to use Oauth 2.0 authentication technology, a standard for secure two-way user data transfer.
Facebook already introduced both of these features at its f8 developer conference in April, but had not yet made them available for iOS developers. The point of the API is to create a simpler and more consistent framework for third parties to access Facebook data, showing each piece of Facebook data — people, photos, Pages and events — as an object in the API, along with the connections between them, including friend relationships, and photo tags and shared content.
The addition of the Graph API today means iOS developers can more easily integrate Facebook features. The code base is “smaller, cleaner, and just has a few functions,” Facebook platform engineer Luke Shepard tells us. “From most developers’ perspectives, it is now simpler to do.”
The impact could be subtle, but still big. If more developers start connecting to Facebook objects like photos or events, and get more two-way communication going between the mobile product and Facebook, that could lead to more app discovery, and revenue. Mobile social applications have so far been taking awhile to evolve, partly because mobile platforms themselves have not yet developed compelling ways for people to create social identities and share information around apps. Simpler social features could mean Facebook users might start seeing more stories being shared about their friends iOS app activities, leading them to click through and check out the apps on their mobile devices.
Making itself useful to mobile developers has been a big priority for Facebook in the past couple years. The first version of the iOS SDK launched more than a year ago, and has slowly gained features. Facebook has also been busy on the main smartphone OS alternative to Apple, Google’s Android — Facebook pushed out the Graph API and Oauth 2.0 update to its Android SDK in May, when it also introduced the feed publishing option.