Facebook Adds Adobe ActionScript Integration for Developers

Facebook and Adobe Systems today said they have formed a partnership to ease the development of Flash-based applications on the popular social networking service.

The two companies released an ActionScript 3 client library for the Facebook platform. The free open source libraries in ActionScript 3 will support all Facebook APIs, notably Facebook Connect, officials at both companies said.

The client library joins three others that Facebook supports as core languages on its developer network, including JavaScript, PHP and the iPhone. "Now ActionScript is a peer -- support with those gives developers a complete set of APIs for accessing all of the social features that are part of Facebook," said Bryant Macy, director of product marketing for Adobe's platform business unit.

As developers build out applications, they can run as a rich client app on the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), in the browser or within the Facebook platform, Macy added. "Your social network is always there and part of that experience. Developers can build compelling and rich experiences in Flash that now integrate with a core part of the social network, as a core part of the experience, and build a much more engaging experience."

Macy said ActionScript's ease of use promises to encourage the development of more rich applications that are bridged to the Facebook network. One such instance that highlighted that integration was the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, when Facebook used the Flash player to allow members to watch the event on CNN and share information in real time.

"It was really a great moment because here you're watching this live streaming video which is all powered by Flash technology, and in real time you were able to see exactly what your friends are saying about it," said Josh Elman, Facebook's senior platform manager.

Elman sees Flash being used beyond just entertainment on the Facebook network. For example, an integration partnership with last fall will let companies build HR and recruiting-type functionality that can be linked between Facebook apps and's platform.

Facebook earlier this month also launched a new public profiles product, which allows businesses to have pages on Facebook where they can communicate more directly with their customers and vice versa. "All of that data will be opened up through APIs through our platform in the coming weeks. It will integrate into the officially supported library," Elman said. "The idea was to try to help developers with specific languages to have better tools to the APIs versus the complicated using of their REST service directly," he said. "That's why we have a supported PHP client library that helps PHP developers, an official JavaScript library making these calls from JavaScript, and now we have Adobe on Flash and ActionScript."

Could integration with Microsoft's Silverlight be in the works? "The Silverlight team is fully capable of doing exactly the same thing," Elman said. "We'd be happy to do that, as well. We have constant conversations with Microsoft, and they are an investor."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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