How to Develop a Hit Facebook App: 29 Essential Tools and Tutorials

Updated: July 26, 2007

Introductory Links: The Basics

Although Facebook's developer resources won't provide you with the depth of information needed to build something remarkable, it should be every new Facebook developer's first stop. The following resources will provide you with a solid foundation to begin developing and integrating your first app.

1. Anatomy of a Facebook Application: A quick overview of a Facebook application; useful to familiarize yourself with the process before starting out.

2. Facebook Developer's Platform: From documentation to resources and tools, this is your one-stop resource for achieving deeper integration between Facebook and your app.

3. Facebook Developer Documentation: A beginner resource for details of the API, as well as the Facebook query and markup languages.

4. Facebook Integration Points: Now that you have the background, Facebook's official application guide will show you the Do's and Don'ts of great user experience.

5. Facebook FAQ: Answers the questions that Facebook developers most often ask.

Tricks of the Trade

Having covered the basics of Facebook app development and integration, you'll want to start creating more complex applications and achieving more seamless integration. The following resources are essential reads for intermediate Facebook developers, as they'll help you avoid some of the common mistakes and pitfalls when developing more complex apps.

6. 5 Facebook Application Gotchas: These five tricks to creating an app include how to navigate the time-out glitch and preparing for the load Facebook will throw at your servers.

7. 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Developing My Facebook App: This list will help you navigate the errors of others and omissions in the official developer's guide rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

8. Developing Facebook Applications in C# with ASP.NET: Some essential steps and work-arounds that you won't find in the Facebook documentation; this will save you some time if you're writing a Facebook application using ASP.NET and C#.

9. How to Build a Facebook Application with RoR (Ruby on Rails): A quality step-by-step tutorial with screenshots.

10. Fist in Your Facebook: A good resource article covering lessons learned through trial and error development of an RoR Facebook app.

11. 5 Development Tips for the Facebook API: Five basic setup and bug work-around tips.

12. Facebook App Dev Podcast: A Facebook development podcast by veteran developers Derek Hatchard and Mike Mullen.

Code Samples, Discussion and Forums

Why reinvent the wheel if you can just borrow and share information with other developers? These code samples, discussion walls and forums will speed up the development process by facilitating collaboration with other Facebook developers.

13. Ruby on Rails Facebook Forum: A relatively active RoR Facebook forum.

14. Code Samples and Patches: CodePlex's Facebook developer toolkit code samples and patches.

15. The Facebook Platform Wiki: A user-created reference for Facebook platform developers.

16. Facebook Developer Forum: A real-time wall with a limited but growing user base (must be logged in to Facebook to access).

17. CodePlex: The Facebook Developer Toolkit is a full complement of components, controls and samples for developing applications using Facebook's API. The kit also includes C# and Visual Basic wrappers for the Facebook API to make application development simple, fun and quick.

18. Facebook Developer Toolkit Walkthrough: A step-by-step video development tutorial using CodePlex's Facebook developer toolkit.

19. AllFacebook: The unofficial Facebook blog, covering everything Facebook related, including app development.

Success and Marketing

A Facebook app is only worth developing if it actually gets used. Given that there are currently more than 1,500 applications available, there is plenty of competition. Going viral, however, isn't purely up to chance. Rather, by looking for common characteristics among other popular apps, as well as picking the brains of successful Facebook developers for tips, you can dramatically improve your chances for creating a Facebook app that people actually use.

20. 10 Tips for Releasing your Facebook Application and Maximizing Growth: This essential read for developers covers 10 important factors and promotional tools when launching your app.

21. The Top 105 Facebook Applications, Ranked: This ranking provides some good insight into what apps you'll be competing against, as well as what users like.

22. Insider Dev Tips from the Maker of the "Quizzes" App: An insightful interview about marketing from the creator of one of Facebook's most popular apps.

23. Tips for Developing a Successful Facebook App: This interview with the creator of the popular Free Gifts app is specifically focused on how to make your app popular.

24. The Top 20 Geographic Facebook User Bases: If you're developing an app, its good to know where your target audience is coming from. This article identifies users by geographic area.

25. Strategies for Going Viral: An article detailing the subsequent changes to Facebook's app-virality policy and how it is affecting app developers.

26. Mashable's Top 30+: A good source for determining what the average user finds attractive in a Facebook app.

27. The Costs of Facebook Popularity: The popularity of a Facebook app also has its costs. This article covers the potential financial costs of maintaining a successful Facebook app so that you know what you're getting into.

28. The Top 5 Facebook Apps: A quick summary of the top five apps with brief reviews. These give you some insight into what users are looking for.

29. Inside Facebook's Weekly Top 25 Apps: A rundown of the top 25 apps by user numbers, which is an excellent resource for determining what works when it comes to Facebook apps.

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