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Facebook updates SDK for iOS

Facebook has revealed the social networking giant's latest update to its SDK for iOS. According to engineer Jason Clark's developer blog post, the changes make it easier to develop Facebook-integrated iOS apps: "The new features make the SDK a natural extension of Apple's iOS environment and make your development cycle more efficient by eliminating the need to develop and manage common tasks."

Among the new features are improvements to session management, ready-to-use native UI views for common functions (displaying profile pictures, querying the Facebook Places database, selection options), modern Objective-C language features support, and improved Facebook APIs support. Additionally, the SDK will automatically use the native Facebook log-in that's due to be baked into the heart of iOS 6, available this autumn from Apple. Clark also pointed developers at Facebook's iOS Dev Center, which provides further assistance when crafting Facebook-integrated iOS apps.

Facebook's renewed enthusiasm for mobile comes after Comscore noted smartphone usage of the service now outpaces desktop access, which presumably prompted Facebook's recent decision to revert its iOS app from a web container into a fully native application. As reported in .net, this version of the app is due later on in 2012, and standards advocate Jeffrey Zeldman welcomed the switch, given Facebook's penchant for focusing on app-like behaviour, rather than pure content access. "Mobile is key for Facebook's (and everyone's) growth and health, and they've been sucking at it," he said. "I'm glad they're switching – as a user I look forward to finally being able to use Facebook on my iPhone again."