Creating Feed Stories
by Pete Bratach - May 28, 2008 at 10:15am

Last week we released our beta sandbox to you all so you can start testing your applications with the new profile design. By now you've probably read the integration guide, too, so you have a sense of how Facebook Platform is changing with the new design. Today we want to start describing in more detail one of the most significant changes to the profile -- the greater focus on Feed.

The Feed tab is the first tab users will see when viewing their profiles and represents their recent activity. So creating compelling Feed stories that relay your users' engagement with your applications becomes even more important. And we're giving you new options to create richer Feed stories that will appear front and center on your users' profiles.

Feed stories come in three sizes: one line, short, and full.

One line stories say what they have to say briefly and concisely, in just one line of text, like "Jan reviewed a movie."

Short stories are more involved than one line stories. We render short stories in various predefined layouts (like we do today); currently there's one default layout, but more are coming soon.

Full stories provide you with the opportunity to make your stories as expressive as possible with few limitations, similar to how Wall attachments work today. But given their size (500 pixels wide by up to 700 pixels tall), we feel that users will probably display short stories in many cases, so make sure your short stories are just as engaging.

All Feed stories are template based. You need to provide at least a one line story template, but we encourage you to create templates for all three sizes for the best user experience. This way, your users can decide how big of a story they want to show on their profiles. If you don't supply a story size, that size never appears as an option to the user.

We'll aggregate one line and (if possible) short stories, but due to their nature and size, full stories won't get aggregated.

Creating Templates

Once you have ideas for the kinds of stories you want to create, you should create the templates for them. You can create a template for each of the three sizes and register them all ahead of time with one call (feed.registerTemplateBundle). This call returns an ID for the template bundle, and when you publish a Feed story, you just supply this template ID.

You can create and register as many template bundles as you want. After you register your templates, you publish user stories with feed.publishUserAction, specifying the template bundle ID at that time.

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Mandatory Changes for Your Applications

Once the redesigned profiles go live, we’ll begin deprecating the existing Feed publishing API methods (feed.publishActionOfUser, feed.publishStoryToUser, and feed.publishTemplatizedAction). The existing API methods will continue to work during the transition period to the new profiles, so you can publish stories using either the existing API methods or feed.publishUserAction.

During the transition period, you should only publish the story once, so you should make use of the old methods or the new methods, but never both. If you are still using the existing Feed methods once the new profiles are launched, stories posted via those methods will only appear as one line stories to News Feed and the Feed tab on the new profiles.

We’ll announce a cut-off date soon -- after that date, the existing methods will no longer be able publish stories to Feeds. You will have plenty of time to update your applications to use the new Feed API calls. We recommend getting started now so you can take advantage of the new features as soon as they go live to users!

More detailed information is available on the Facebook Developer Wiki. You can read about Feed stories in general and the new API calls in particular.

Testing Your New Feed Stories

We're in the process of updating the Feed Preview Console to account for the new story sizes and design. It should be ready in the next few days.

Contacting Us

We always want to hear from you about the new design and your experiences trying it out. Please report any bugs you see in the new design. Make sure you use the New Profile category. You can help us solve your issue faster by adding one of the following components to your report: Feed, Info Sections, Profile Boxes, Publisher, and Tabs.

You can send us your feedback and ask questions in the New Profile and Related Changes section of the Developer Forum.