Facebook Makes Small Developer Roadmap Updates — Watch for More This Month

Now that Facebook’s big launches at f8 are done, the company is starting to move forward with its broader development plans — or at least the timeline for them is getting a little clearer

The company  updated its developer roadmap on Monday to indicate that the removal of profile boxes will be happening sometime in “Mid 2010,” along with updates to canvas pages and profile image sizes. While vague, the new date suggests the changes won’t be coming as early as this month.

For those not familiar, here’s some more background. From now on, tabs will be the only way to integrate applications. Boxes, the Boxes tabs and the information sections will be removed. Profile boxes were largely removed in 2008, although users and Page owners have still been able to add them. When Facebook introduced the roadmap, it said it planned to finish the job, albeit earlier this year.

One important new note for marketers here: the planned reduction in pixel-width on Pages will now be a little less. “We previously stated that profile tabs would be shrinking to 510 pixels. Our latest designs indicate they will instead be 520 pixels,” Facebook’s platform team says on the wiki entry about the Boxes switch. “We’ll keep this page updated with the latest information.”

Meanwhile, the new design for the application canvas Pages is getting pushed back to the middle of the year; the point of that change is to “better highlight an applications brand.” The last change, a small reduction in the size of profile photos, is also set for the same time.

Beyond everything that launched at f8, there’s not much else new. The big changes to Invites and the Share feature are still slated for May, with the Requests change coming after that. Invites will be moved to the inbox; other requests will be deprecated. Facebook wants developers focused on its other communication channels, including email, the news feed and the app dashboards. On top of the removal of third-party notifications in early March, the requests change could affect app traffic. Developers should plan accordingly.

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