Facebook Releases Details on the High Resolution Photos API

Facebook has released read and write APIs for its new high-resolution photos, which all users can see and download, but only some can upload. All photos now include a “images” field containing height, width, and source information about all available sizes. Facebook plans on rolling out the ability to upload to all users soon, but until then, any high resolution photos uploaded through the API on the behalf of those without upload access will be sized down to 720 pixels.

At the end of September, high resolutions photos, flash uploading, bulk tagging, and a lightbox view were integrated into Facebook photos, the world’s most popular photo sharing product. Since, Facebook has also added drag-and-drop photo and album reordering, and the ability to receive a copy of all your Facebook photos using the Download Your Information product.

This high resolution photos API allows developers to create applications which upload high resolution photos to multiple sharing services, let users edit their existing high res Facebook photos, create high res prints, and more.

In an an answer to a Quora question asking whether Facebook would release a high-resolution photos API, Facebook photos team engineer Nathaniel Roman explained the particulars of the API. “If a user is in the group with access to high res photos, developers do not need to do anything special.” Uploads of high resolution photos “take significantly longer”, so developers should arrange some kind of content to be shown while the user waits, or carry out the upload in the background.

Roman also said that image details would be available through the Facebook Query Language, which allows for access to the Graph API with support for “batching multiple queries into a single call.”

The lack of high resolution photo capabilities was a significant deficiency of Facebook photos, but now the option is also open to Facebook’s thriving third-party developer ecosystem. Combined with the ability to download one’s Facebook photos later, the API and native user interface will decrease the need for users to keep bulky photo files on their computers once they’ve uploaded them.