Facebook launches Developer Alerts

App developers will be notified of upcoming changes, problems and status updates

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
November 15, 2012
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Facebook has had developers on its mind lately, it seems. After recently rolling out new and helpful ways for them create and manage their apps on Android, wow the social network is putting in place new alerts to warn them of upcoming changes and problems.

Facebook announced Thursday that it was introducing Developer Alerts, which Min-Young Wu, Software Engineer at Facebook, writes it “an important step toward making Facebook a more responsive and dependable platform.”

“These alerts are a new way for developers to receive critical information about their apps via email and notifications on”

App administrators and developers will receive alerts in three different cases:

  • Breaking changes: If the app is using a function that Facebook decides to change or remove, the developers and administrators will be notified at least 90 days before that change will go into effect Reminders will also be sent out at 60, 30 and 0 days. Once the app opts in to the changes, no more alerts will be sent out.
  • App status changes: If an Open Graph action was submitted, or an app detail page for App Center was created, Facebook will send out a notification when the status of the app’s submission changes. For example, an alert will be sent out when the Open Graph actions are approved.
  • Policy violations and enforcement. If the app in question does not adhere to Facebook’s Platform Policies, an alert will be sent out. For example, Facebook says, if an app does not list a privacy policy, the developers and administrators will receive an alert telling them to add one before the app is forced into sandbox mode.

The alerts will be threaded by issue and date, and will have a link to fix the problem. Also, due to the number of developers that might be listed on an app, Facebook will also send out a confirmation saying that the issue was fixed, to let the other developers know.

“Most developers won’t receive alerts very frequently, but when you do we hope you find them a helpful way to understand and track issues with your app. We're beginning to roll this out to apps today and plan to enable it for all apps in the coming weeks,” Wu wrote.

Facebook developers

In October, Facebook announced a major update to its SDK for Android, with new native UI controls, and introduced a new Android Dev Center, with tutorials for developers on how to build apps.

Among the controls offered was Friend Picker, which allowsdevelopers to tag friends or find people who have installed their app; Places Picker, which shows places with customizable locations nearby; Profile Picture, which shows the profile picture of anything on Facebook, be it person, place or thing; and new login controls that are meant to simplify how user identify and app permission are managed.

The new SDK allows for simplified session management, better support, and install measurement.

To help with session management, Facebook included several tools that simplified authentication and authorization. In addition, to provide better API support, Facebook began allowing developers to batch SDK requests for API calls, callbacks and listeners are factored in to better support MVC-style programming, and Facebook JSON data can be manipulated with strongly-typed interfaces.

And the mobile install measurement allows you to measure clicks and installs for mobile app install ads.

Facebook also created the Android Dev Center to help developers learn the basics of using Facebook’s SDK for Android.

Includes four helpful guides to figuring out how to use the SDK.

  • Getting Started – shows developers how to install prerequisites they will need to build their app, including Eclipse, the Android SDK, and the ADT Plugin. It also shows how to install the Facebook SDK for Android and how to import the SDK into Eclipse.
  • Tutorial – A walk through of how to build Facebook integration with a sample app called Scrumptious.
  • Concepts – Teaches developers how to build, distribute and promote their app on Facebook.
  • Reference docs – provides documentation and sample code so developers can start coding

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