Platform Update: Breaking Migration to POST for Canvas, Beta Javascript SDK, Test Accounts

Last Friday’s Platform Update on the Facebook Developer’s Blog included announcements regarding the migration to POST for canvas applications, a Javascript SDK for testing in the beta tier, and the termination of the ability to turn normal user accounts into test accounts. It also noted that Facebook has begun enforcing its policy that developers must only use approved ad networks, it has fixed a settings bug in the new version of its Comments Box social plugin released last week, and is recommending that those using the old FBML comments plugin upgrade to this new iFrame version.

Starting March 12th, all canvas applications must embed User IDs in a HTTP POST body to ensuring they aren’t exposed in the HTTP Referrer header. POST for Canvas is the solution Facebook developed for a much publicized issue with third-parties gaining access to User IDs.

All applications on must use this protocol or they will error out. To test the change, developers can go to the Advanced tab of the Developer app, and enable POST for Canvas under Migrations.

Each Monday, Facebook pushes code changes to a beta tier that will go into effect Tuesday afternoon, allowing developers to test their apps for breakage. Facebook will now offer a US english beta version of the JavaScript SDK each Monday that developers can point their apps towards for testing.

If developers experience bugs that can be reproduced on the beta tier but not the live version of Facebook, they should report them with the mark Beta Tier for expedited resolution before the code is pushed. The beta JavaScript SDK should help minimize breakage from weekly pushes, improving Facebook’s standing with the developer community.

Previously, Facebook all0wed developers to convert normal user accounts into test accounts that can’t interact with the rest of the Facebook user base or be turned back into normal accounts. To prevent users from accidentally being turned into test accounts, Facebook has removed the conversion option.

Now, developers must create test accounts via the Graph API using the updated documentation. This should reduce the incidence of horror stories where developers lose all their friend connections because they mistakenly converted themselves into a test account assuming they could change back.