Facebook introduces API stability, privacy enhancements

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Facebook introduces API stability, privacy enhancements

Mobile takes centre stage at developer conference.

Facebook is aiming to make life easier for application coders with a two-year stability guarantee for its entire platform as well as versioning for application programming interfaces.

The stability guarantee applies to core Facebook features such as Login, Sharing, Requests and software development kits (SDKs), as well as frequently used Graph API endpoints, the social network behemoth announced this morning at its annual F8 developer conference.

The company will continue to support earlier versions for at least two years, with versioning providing control for developers as to how they can upgrade app instances to take advantage of the latest platform features.

Facebook also announced a new SDK for the server-side scripting language PHP, as well as updated existing SDKs for Apple iOS, Google Android, and JavaScript.

A new, open source cross-platform solution for mobile deep linking called App Links also broke cover at F8. App Links works on iOS, Android and Windows Mobile, and provides an 'easy, consistent way for developers to control what happens when users click on content in their mobiles'.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 developer conference.

Facebook has frequently been criticised for not doing enough to protect its users' privacy, and as a response, the company announced changes to its Login feature to give users more control over the data that is shared with apps, making it possible to edit the information that is provided.

If developers wish to access more than a user's public profile, friend list and email address, they must submit their app for a login review from now, to ensure it follows Facebook's policies and best practices for permissions.

Developers will also be able to apply for the new Anonymous Login beta program which allows people to log into apps they wish to try out without sharing their personal information. 

Beyond privacy enhancements, mobile was a major focus for Facebook at the conference.

A Send To Mobile feature with Facebook Login lets developers send notifications to users' phones to download mobile apps when people log into websites, which Facebook said provides a convenient way to convert desktop traffic to mobile.

Facebook also revealed a beta of a new mobile advertising feature, the Audience Network. This enables advertisers to display targeted relevant campaigns to users with high quality ads, Facebook claimed.

Audience Network also connects app developers with Facebook's one million advertisers, for easier and faster monetisation.

The social network is also seeking to entice mobile developers with the new FbStart program, which provides a free set of tools and services to boot strap and accelerate app and business creation.

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