Facebook’s Static FBMLs Die On March 11th! Are You Ready For The Switch To iFrames?

By Rob McNair

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Brands have been using Static FBMLs for a while now and Facebook fans are getting used to seeing nice splash pages welcoming them to the Facebook page, maybe even some cool hack arounds done through the Static FBML app.

Facebook has now decided to scrap Static FBML’s as of March 11th. This means that after the 11th of March you will not be able to create any new FBML’s, but your existing ones will remain active.

Facebook has listened to the users and have decided to incorperate iFrames into the tabs of a brand page. This opens a myriad of new features for the social savvy user, allowing you to essentially host an entire website within a Facebook tab. It also means that you can create a custom logo that show up next to the tab name below the profile picture in the new Facebook Pages layout. Read more on the Facebook Developers Blog.

Although the new usability is great for hosting new and exciting things, it also poses a steep learning curve for Page users.

Instead of just hosting a splash image in a Static FBML you now have to create a custom Facebook application to incorperate either HTML or an iFrame.

Although this sounds complicated it is not as nasty as it sounds. You have to create a canvas app through Facebook and host the image in their by inputting the URL. But since it is an iframe it could be an interactive web page hosted within the iframe, not just an image.

If you haven’t the time or resources to start experimenting with Facebook applications there are already some great tools out there that give you better functionality than a static FBML.

Wildfire’s Facebook iFrame App allows you to get all the functionality of a static FBML without any of the fuss of creating an app, you simply upload your image from your desktop and Wildfire will host it for you.

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The app also allows users the option to add a ‘fan gate’, this is the overlay some pages have that masks content until a user likes the page.

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Wildfire have stated that this app will be free for three months, but any user that signs up to the app before that will get it for free.

The only downside to the Wildfire app is that you have to stick with the default logo that they provide and your splash page will be be branded by Wildfire at the bottom right.

For those more adventurous people that have the time to experiment with creating custom Facebook apps, there’s a great Hyperarts blog post that’s a good starting point.

So with Facebook scraping Static FBML’s and moving towards iFrames are you ready for the big change? Let us know in the comments…

This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.