Facebook platform update: FBML apps won’t work after today, live stream plugin to be removed

FBML apps are set to stop working today as part of the removal of Facebook Markup Language. Facebook also announced that it will remove the live stream plugin from the platform in favor of the comments box.

Some old page tab applications and very early canvas games that have not been migrated to the new format will have “FBML Removal” migration enabled today. It will be possible for developers to disable the migration and re-enable FBML until July 5, when FBML will be removed completely.

The shift away from FBML has been a long process for Facebook. The social network began recommending iFrames over FBML for canvas applications in 2008. The company further moved away from FBML in August 2010, when it decided to allow page tab applications to use iFrames rather than its own markup language. FBML was useful for some page owners who didn’t have much programming experience because it used uniform code snippets. However, iFrames allow developers to build both canvas and tab applications on the same programming model, and integrate more functionality through social plugins and the Graph API.

Beginning in March 2011, page admins were no longer be able to install new FMBL apps and developers were no longer be able to create them. Recently, Facebook has provided weekly reminders about the upcoming change through posts on its developer blog. More details about the removal here.

As for the live stream plugin, Facebook says it will be removed on Sept. 5 and replaced by the comments box plugin. The live stream plugin is a real-time chat widget that was released publicly in 2009. It had been used for apps and websites supporting live-streaming video, webinars, massively multiplayer games and other live events. Although the comments box allows users to log in with Facebook and add comments to a page, it does not support real-time updates. Users have to refresh a page to see new comments, which makes it less ideal for real-time events and conversations. Facebook also notes that live stream allowed publishers to have multiple plugins on the same page, but the comments box can only be used once per page. More details about the migration here.

Other breaking changes are discussed in Facebook’s latest developer blog post.

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