Facebook unleashes wave of new development with JavaScript client library

Guest post: John Potter, ZDNet's chief of development, explains the significance of Facebook releasing a JavaScript Client Library.At 5 PM PST on Friday night, Facebook announced the release of a JavaScript Client Library.

Guest post: John Potter, ZDNet's chief of development, explains the significance of Facebook releasing a JavaScript Client Library.

At 5 PM PST on Friday night, Facebook announced the release of a JavaScript Client Library. As the press release notes:

[This] allows you to make Facebook API calls from any web site and makes it easy to create Ajax Facebook applications. Since the library does not require any server-side code on your server, you can now create a Facebook application that can be hosted on any web site that serves static HTML without any server site scripting.

Now, in some ways, this announcement doesn't break any new ground. As a commenter on Nick Neill's post Facebook Extends Platform to the Web noted, the ability to make calls from an external website to the Facebook API has existed since the launch of the Facebook platform. This capability, however, had previously required server side code (and some programming skill). Now, with the release of the JavaScript library, that is no longer true. And that additional functionality is what makes this release significant.

With this new library, the number of sites, and site owners, that can deploy Facebook applications just increased dramatically. All that remains is for someone to write a turn-key Facebook application creator, as Ning has already done for it's own hosted social networks, and we can expect to see Facebook widgets rapidly proliferating across the Web.

See also: Robert Scoble's interview with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg

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