Facebook Moves Away From FBML (And What This Means For Your Page Tabs)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Facebook recently changed the Page layout. But another change was announced that seems to have slid under the radar of most Page admins: the deprecation of FBML.

No More Static FBML

FBML (Facebook Markup Language) will no longer be supported as of March 11, 2011. Facebook claims that old tabs will still work, but no new tabs can be created with FBML apps. Facebook tabs will all have to be made with CSS and iFrames, making it harder for Page Admins to create their own custom tabs.

Current FBML Tab Bug

Also making it harder for Page Admins? A Facebook bug that is randomly renaming current FBML tabs to FBML or some derivative of that, overriding the custom tab title as it is displayed on the Page. It looks fine in the backend of the app but stubbornly refuses to show up the way you intended it to on the live display of the Page.

So far, I’ve found that copying and pasting your original FBML tab code into a new FBML box and switching out the tabs will solve the problem. But this will likely stop working after March 11, when new Pages will no longer be allowed to add the FBML app. Tabs created pre-March 11 are supposed to work indefinitely, but it’s unclear whether existing Pages will be able to create a new tab with their current FBML app of choice that’s already installed on the Page. (My guess is no.)

The New Facebook Page Layout

Your best bet? Preview the new Facebook Page layout now and get ready to switch. I haven’t seen any instances of this FBML bug on the new layout, which displays tabs on the left, as opposed to the top, of the Page. (Yes, the conspiracy theorist in me is convinced this “bug” is intended to make people switch faster.)

Take your time and figure out what you need to help your Page look its best in the new layout. The biggest challenge for many will be selecting the five photos to display across the top. They should represent your brand without being a set of boring logos, or confusing event shots that don’t immediately seem connected to your company or Page.

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