Platform Update: New Bug System and Platform Live Status Page, Credits Features, Event APIs

Over the past week and a half, Facebook has posted to the Developers Blog announcing several new tools, protocols and capabilities for developers. These include

  • Better ways to submit bugs and track the API heath of the Platform,
  • Changes to the DealSpot and Games Dashboard Featured Status incentives for developers who have integrated Facebook Credits
  • A migration system where breaking changes are only pushed on the first day of the month
  • Support for OAuth 2.0 with XMPP
  • The deprecation of Auth 1.0 and the FB.Data call
  • The ability to manage Events and upload high-resolution photos via the Graph API
  • A more direct way for games to handle link clicks on the canvas page
  • The option to detect and control flash object visibility in apps

New Platform Tools

The Facebook Platform Live Status page has been redesigned and augmented with new functionality. Developers now see the current health of the Platform and when the latest JSON push was completed, followed by a list of the five latest Platform issues and graphs of the average API response time and error count.
Additionally, developers can hook their apps up to a feed of the JSON pushes so they can set their apps to begin automated testing once a push has completed. This will help developers ensure their tests are being performed on the latest code.
Facebook is replacing the Bugzilla bug tracking system developed by Mozilla with its own system that won’t require a separate log in. Developers will first see the top 20 trending bugs and options to search for, browse, and filter bugs by phrase or tag. Once devs have found a report about their bug they can subscribe to email updates, notify Facebook they’re experience it too, discuss workaround with other developers.
In order to speed up the resolution process, devs must include repro steps including IDs and access tokens in order to add a new bug report. Bugzilla is now read-only so devs should begin using the new Bugs tool. Slow bug resolution has been one of the biggest problems with the Platform. By developing a system that reduces the number of redundant bug reports and relieves the Facebook team from having to reach out and ask for repro steps, the site may be able resolve bugs more efficiently.

High Level Changes

On October 14th, Facebook will open to all Facebook Credits developers several of the special incentive features that were initially used to encourage early adoption of Credits as a currency and payment method.

Developers will gain the ability to target specific demographics with DealSpot, a TrialPay-developed system that shows in-game icons leading to offers users can complete to earn Facebook Credits. DealSpot presents offers to users that might not have visited the offer wall, so developers looking to augment sales of virtual goods with another revenue stream should strongly consider activating the feature.

All developers will also gain access to broad category targeting, which lets them target Facebook Ads to users based on their interest in anything related to a selected topic. Facebook actually began testing this feature in April as an alternative to targeting specific keywords. The ability to target all social gamers rather than just fans or the Pages of certain games, Broad Category Interest targeting could help developers attain more new customers with less effort spent on ad targeting.

Facebook’s free marketing system known as Games Dashboard Featured Status and Social Placements will also become available to developers of games integrated with Credits. Games eligible for the promotions are “evaluated on a case by case basis, such as for game quality, genre and new functionality”. The system will be especially helpful to developers that are building great games but that don’t have big marketing budgets.