FBML Vs iFrame – Facebook Applications

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FBML is a Facebook proprietary markup language, very similar to HTML which gives programmers a lot of existing visual controls used to make a user interface in a natural Facebook look. On another side iFrame applications are running in iFrame inside Facebook environment as any other web application with its own styles. However some Facebook features have to be made using FBML and because of this there is technology called XFBML to import mandatory visual features in iFrame applications.

Since FBML applications are much better connect with Facebook, visual FBML controls are drown much faster then for iFrame applications. However there are also some disadvantages which FBML applications have vs
iFrame applications and vice versa. Developer of Facebook application have to consider what are his requirement for application and decide which the better type for development.

FBML advantages

1. Faster load of visual controls
2. Complete set of controls available (some controls are available only for FBML apps)
3. Easier usage of controls
4. Developing in PHP programming model

FBML disadvantages

1. Dependency on Facebook
2. XFBML and HTML is an only allowed technology to use. No Java Script and Flash
3. Impossibility to run on local machine which make difficulty in development
4. Forcing unnatural programming style for some platform as ASP. NET and JSF Iframe advantages

1. Independence of Facebook, easier to transfer the app on another platform as MySpace and Bebo
2. All web technologies can be used
3. Can be developed on local machine and run from IDE
4. Easier to use from platform as ASP.NET and JSF
5. Compatible technology as for Facebook Connect web sites makes transferring of Facebook application to standalone Facebook Connect web site is much easier. iFrame disadvantages

1. Slower load of FBML controls using XFBML
2. Not all FBML controls are available

Decision of which type of application to choose is not an easy one. From my side smaller load and luck of some controls are much less drawbacks than impossibility to use JavaScript and Flash especial for games. Also big advantage is compatible technology with Facebook Connect web sites and possibility to run and debug from local machine.

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