Facebook FBML vs. iFrames

Posted On August 01st, 2014 by admin

If you are looking to expand your presence on Facebook, besides paid advertising,  there are not too many options unless you consider the development of custom pages. Facebook pages allow you to create your own custom fan pages that can be accessed via the standard links on the left side of your profile page.  However there continues to considerable confusion about how this works because of recent changes made to Facebook's developer platform.

In the past Facebook provided the use of their own subset of HTML called Facebook Markup Language (FBML) to allow developers to create custom tabs.  As of March 11, 2011, Facebook stopped allowing the use of FBML and now requires the use of iFrames for developing what are now called "pages" instead of tabs.  Existing FBML tabs will still work so there will not be a need to rewrite existing "tabs" but for all intents and purposes FBML is dead.  In addition, Facebook had its own variation of Javascript called FBJS and SQL called FQL. These have now been deprecated and replaced by the use of iFrames which means that Facebook will no longer be hosting the files required for custom fan pages and that developers can use standard HTML, CSS, Javascript, AJAX, and any other programming code, such as PHP or .NET, that runs in a browser.  iFrames are a commonly used HTML function that allows you to insert an HTML document within an inline frame on a web page.

In many ways this opens up the opportunities for developers and business owners to expand their use of Facebook.  Examples of what you can do with iFrames is to provide your fans and potential customers with customized forms and database driven web applications.  Anything you can do on a web page you can now have users do on your Facebook page.  Taking it one step further you can integrate your CMS that is used for your web site with Facebook so that content can be centralized into one location instead of duplicating it again on Facebook.

For an example of customized Facebook pages recently developed by ACS Group you can go to http://www.facebook.com/genejuarezacademy.  On the left side there are three custom pages:  Request Info, The Program and Special Offers.  Consider the use custom pages for your Facebook business profile,  the possiblities are endless for  enhancing your fans and visitors experience with your product or service.