New Facebook Page Layout Causes Mass Uprising

Sometime last week, Facebook made good on a threat to significantly change the layout of Fan Pages (business pages, brand pages, etc.) and also the methodology in which they are built. This marks the death bell for FBML, the proprietary mark-up language of Facebook that has spawned a cottage industry explosion of “social media experts” and services who build tab applications like simple Welcome pages. Going forward, all applications need to be built using an IFRAME rather than FBML. Facebook says this is for the better for all parties involved. As developers we have to agree. This straight from the Facebook Developers Blog:

“As of today, you can build your Page Tab apps using iframes rather than FBML. This means you can now build apps that run across Facebook (including Pages and Canvas applications) using the same simple, standards-based web programming model (HTML, JavaScript, and CSS). In addition, you can easily integrate social plugins and the Graph API within your tab.”

So in a nutshell, here are highlights and lowlights:

1. Tabs are gone, and Pages for brands and businesses look a lot more like personal pages. There is a photo strip above the status update window, much like on personal pages.

2. Navigation links in the left column replace tabs. So if you had a Welcome page that new visitors default to when they visit your brand page, it will still work*, but rather than having a tab at the top of your page, it will show up in the lefthand links.

3. Powerful new feature: admins of Pages can toggle between using Facebook as themselves (John Doe) or the Brand (Acme Widget Company). Social Media marketing managers are going to wet themselves over this change alone.

4. Brands who have invested in the development of FBML tab apps will likely have to rewrite these apps at some point using the new iFrame method, but Facebook’s official word on when FBML will be deprecated and phased out has been vague. The Captain recommends you do it sooner rather than later. That crap should live on your own server anyway.

5. A lot of folks have been complaining about the order of Status Updates: the new change apparently applies a ranking to Status Updates, and the most relevant or popular appear top down, rather than in chronological order. I’d be willing to bet, mateys, that Facebook will change this back to chronological, and/or give users the choice. After all, it wouldn’t really be a status update if “What Are You Doing Right Now” didn’t appear at the top of the list.

What do you think on these new changes? Pirate Booty? Cause for mutiny? Couldn’t give a scurvy rat’s ass? We’d like to know.

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