Developing a Facebook Application for absolute beginners

With more than 300 million active users and 50% of them using it every day (source), Facebook can be an interesting way to make some viral marketing.

One of the most effective ways is developing an application users (and users friends – and friends of users friends – and…) will use every day.

This tutorial will guide you through the creation of a simple application that will display how many male and female friends do you have.


To develop a Facebook application with this tutorial, you will need:

* An active Facebook account
* An hosting plan supporting php
* Being my fan

ehm, actually being my fan is not strictly required, but it’s strongly recommended :)

Getting started

Go to developers area and click on Set Up New Application

Give a name to your application and agree terms.

Then, Facebook will create an API key and a secret key. Write them down (well, it’s not necessary since you will always find them in this page, but having something to write down makes me feel like I’m dealing with something important).

At this time the application is ready to run, but you can add more information and icons.

When done, go to Canvas page

Here, you will b asked for a Canvas Page URL that is the unique url of your application. Being obviously unique, all best names have been already taken (just like .com domains). In Canvas Callback URL, you have to enter the URL of the page on your server that will host the application. Then set Render Method to FBML

FBML mode lets you quickly start building an application from scratch, which is good for a absolute beginners. We’ll see it more in depth during next tutorials

At this time your application is ready to be executed.

Download the client library and copy the content of facebook-platform -> php to the Facebook application directory in your server – the same path of Canvas Callback URL.

Your directory now should look like this:

Now, t’s time to create the application itself:


$friends = $facebook->api_client->friends_get();

echo "

Hello , you have ".count($friends)." friends"; foreach($friends as $friend){ $infos.=$friend.","; } $infos = substr($infos,0,strlen($infos)-1); $gender=$facebook->api_client->users_getInfo($infos,'sex'); $gender_array = array(); foreach($gender as $gendervalue){ $gender_array[$gendervalue[sex]]++; } $male = round($gender_array[male]*100/($gender_array[male]+$gender_array[female]),2); $female = 100-$male; echo "

  • Males: $male%
  • Females: $female%
"; ?>

Line 3: including Facebook library

Lines 5-6: Declaring variables with API key and secret code… yes, the two codes seen before

Line 8: Initializing a Facebook API

Line 10: Requiring the user to be logged into Facebook before using the application. If they are not logged in they will first be directed to a Facebook login page and then back to the application’s page. Then save the user unique id into $user_id variable

Line 12: Storing in the $friends array the unique id of all friends of yours

Line 14: This is the first FBML tag we see: Fb:name renders the name of the user specified by uid attribute. In this case, it will display your name. More information about Fb:name at this page. You can see all available tags at this page

Lines 16-20: Creating a string with all of your friends ids separated by comma, such as uid1,uid2,uid3,...,uidn

Line 22: users_getInfo returns a wide array of user-specific information for each user id passed. As you can see, I pass the whole list of friends and I only want to know their sex. More information about users_getInfo at this page

Line 24: Creating an array where I will store all genders

Line 26-31: Determining the % of each gender (male or female) in my friends list. You can see some additional math because sex value can be blank

Line 33: Displaying the results

Now that your application is completed, you can submit it to the Application directory. Before you are able to do it, your application must have at least 5 total users or 10 monthly active user.

Take a look at the “finished” application.

It should output something like that

Hello Kirenia, you have 49 friends
Males: 53.66%
Females: 46.34%

Warning: During the latest day there is a known bug called facebook auth_token loop that won’t allow you to run the application. If you experience problems, simply check back later.

Get the most popular Phaser 3 book

Through 202 pages, 32 source code examples and an Android Studio project you will learn how to build cross platform HTML5 games and create a complete game along the way.

Get the book

// 1+2=3
// 100 rounds
// 10000000
// 2 Cars
// 2048
// A Blocky Christmas
// A Jumping Block
// A Life of Logic
// Angry Birds
// Angry Birds Space
// Artillery
// Astro-PANIC!
// Avoider
// Back to Square One
// Ball Game
// Ball vs Ball
// Ball: Revamped
// Balloon Invasion
// BallPusher
// Ballz
// Bar Balance
// Bejeweled
// Biggification
// Block it
// Blockage
// Bloons
// Boids
// Bombuzal
// Boom Dots
// Bouncing Ball
// Bouncing Ball 2
// Bouncy Light
// BoxHead
// Breakout
// Bricks
// Bubble Chaos
// Bubbles 2
// Card Game
// Castle Ramble
// Chronotron
// Circle Chain
// Circle Path
// Circle Race
// Circular endless runner
// Cirplosion
// CLOCKS - The Game
// Color Hit
// Color Jump
// ColorFill
// Columns
// Concentration
// Crossy Road
// Crush the Castle
// Cube Jump
// CubesOut
// Dash N Blast
// Dashy Panda
// Deflection
// Diamond Digger Saga
// Don't touch the spikes
// Dots
// Down The Mountain
// Drag and Match
// Draw Game
// Drop Wizard
// DROP'd
// Dudeski
// Dungeon Raid
// Educational Game
// Elasticity
// Endless Runner
// Erase Box
// Eskiv
// Farm Heroes Saga
// Filler
// Flappy Bird
// Fling
// Flipping Legend
// Floaty Light
// Fuse Ballz
// GearTaker
// Gem Sweeper
// Globe
// Goat Rider
// Gold Miner
// Grindstone
// GuessNext
// Helicopter
// Hero Emblems
// Hero Slide
// Hexagonal Tiles
// HookPod
// Hop Hop Hop Underwater
// Horizontal Endless Runner
// Hundreds
// Hungry Hero
// Hurry it's Christmas
// InkTd
// Iromeku
// Jet Set Willy
// Jigsaw Game
// Knife Hit
// Knightfall
// Legends of Runeterra
// Lep's World
// Line Rider
// Lumines
// Magick
// MagOrMin
// Mass Attack
// Math Game
// Maze
// Meeblings
// Memdot
// Metro Siberia Underground
// Mike Dangers
// Mikey Hooks
// Nano War
// Nodes
// o:anquan
// One Button Game
// One Tap RPG
// Ononmin
// Pacco
// Perfect Square!
// Perfectionism
// Phyballs
// Pixel Purge
// PixelField
// Planet Revenge
// Plants Vs Zombies
// Platform
// Platform game
// Plus+Plus
// Pocket Snap
// Poker
// Pool
// Pop the Lock
// Pop to Save
// Poux
// Pudi
// Pumpkin Story
// Puppet Bird
// Pyramids of Ra
// qomp
// Quick Switch
// Racing
// Radical
// Rebuild Chile
// Renju
// Rise Above
// Risky Road
// Roguelike
// Roly Poly
// Run Around
// Rush Hour
// SameGame
// SamePhysics
// Save the Totem
// Security
// Serious Scramblers
// Shrink it
// Sling
// Slingy
// Snowflakes
// Sokoban
// Space Checkers
// Space is Key
// Spellfall
// Spinny Gun
// Splitter
// Spring Ninja
// Sproing
// Stabilize!
// Stack
// Stairs
// Stick Hero
// String Avoider
// Stringy
// Sudoku
// Super Mario Bros
// Surfingers
// Survival Horror
// Talesworth Adventure
// Tetris
// The Impossible Line
// The Moops - Combos of Joy
// The Next Arrow
// Threes
// Tic Tac Toe
// Timberman
// Tiny Wings
// Tipsy Tower
// Toony
// Totem Destroyer
// Tower Defense
// Trick Shot
// Tunnelball
// Turn
// Turnellio
// TwinSpin
// vvvvvv
// Warp Shift
// Way of an Idea
// Whack a Creep
// Wheel of Fortune
// Where's my Water
// Wish Upon a Star
// Word Game
// Wordle
// Worms
// Yanga
// Yeah Bunny
// Zhed
// zNumbers