Local Facebook Development

I’ve started doing a little Facebook application development again lately, so I’ve been on the prowl on how to do things more efficiently. Working local is efficient (we all know that by now, I hope)…

Facebook has always been a bit of a pain with things like FBML, but now that page tabs support iframes, I thought I’d revisit it a little. It turns out that you can simply use your localhost (or any private) address, and the iframe will load. However, there are some major problems in the authentication process with this method. I moved on, and continued to do things the old fashioned way with a remote development server, and set up all my application settings accordingly.

However, since Facebook simply needs to check the URL, and expect valid responses once and a while, you can edit your local hosts file and map the remote hostname to This way, when Facebook performs its checks, the remote server responds properly, but you can still rapidly develop locally with the iframe pointing to your local development server.

Example, assuming our development server is set up at dev.somefbapp.mycompany.com, we’d configure the app with that (public) address. Then, when we want to test things more rapidly, we can enable this in our hosts file:    dev.somefbapp.mycompany.com

This seems to be working flawlessly for me as of today (July 28th, 2011) and on PHP SDK 3.2. Hopefully this brings a little light to someones day who gets as frustrated as I do with Facebook’s documentation.