Michael James Williams is the technical editor for Activetuts+. He is a freelance Flash developer. And he is also a published author.
Michael’s book Facebook Graph API Development with Flash came out several months ago, and I’ve been meaning to mention it here ever since. On his blog, I Help People Make Flash Games, he briefly describes what it was like to write the book, and what the book is about:
Early last year, I signed a book deal with Packt Publishing. I spent most of 2010 working on it, and it’s finally finished, published, and on the shelves.
The book is a beginner’s guide to creating Flash Facebook applications and games. That includes apps like Graffiti and games FarmVille, which are designed to be played entirely within Facebook, as well Flash projects hosted outside Facebook that tap in to the user’s Facebook profile and friends list to give a more personalised experience.
What does the book cover?
Michael gives a helpful overview of the book:
Each chapter is roughly twice the length of one of my longer tutorials (like most of the parts of the avoider game tutorial), and they’re designed to be worked through in sequence. Let me break down what each is about:
- Introduction explains why you should care about Facebook, what you’re going to do in the book, how to get setup, what you need to know before continuing, and what to do if you don’t already have that knowledge.
- Welcome to the Graph introduces the Graph API, Facebook’s model for connecting all of the information that it stores. By the midpoint of this chapter, you’ll already be retrieving data from Facebook.
- Let Me In! is where things get really interesting; you’ll learn how to let your user log in to Facebook through your app, allowing you to retrieve their personal data — and that of their friends.
- Digging Deeper into the Graph is all about paging and filtering the data you retrieve from Facebook, so you can look into the past. It also introduces you to the most annoying bug on the whole Facebook platform.
- Search Me, as you can probably guess, explains how to search for posts and users from specific criteria. By the end of this chapter, your project will have a feature that even the Facebook website itself is missing.
- Adding to the Graph is where you go from being a passive observer to an active creator; you discover how to create new wall posts, upload photos, and so on.
- FQL Matters is different to all the other chapters; it has nothing to do with the Visualizer. You could skip it, but I recommend that you don’t, because it introduces you to the Facebook Query Language, a powerful tool for extracting data from Facebook.
- Finishing Off covers a grab-bag of miscellaneous important topics that didn’t really fit anywhere else. How to embed your project inside the Facebook website; how to use what you’ve learnt when building an AIR (or AIR for Android) application; the problems with portals; and what to learn next.
All that in about 300 pages!
Where can I get it?
Hungry for more? The entire second chapter of the book is available for free online, thanks to Packt Publishing. Click here to read it in your browser (PDF) or right-click here and select “Save link as…” to download it.
If you’re ready to purchase the whole book, physical copies are available on the book’s official page, or on Amazon (affiliate link). You can also order it in to your local bookstore; just quote the ISBN code
978-1849690744 at the desk. If you prefer an eBook, it is available as PDF and ePub downloads and also on PacktLib.
Have you read Facebook Graph API Development with Flash? Let us know how it helped you in the comments.