Places is an exciting new turn for Facebook as many cool features and applications will be built using it, and Yes Virginia, FriendRunner will fully support it so that you may load test your location-aware Facebook application. Places is built around the idea of users “Checking in” at places from their mobile device so that their friends and applications can know where they are and where they have been. From a functional point of view, this looks a lot like foursquare.
Facebook has created an API so that applications may interact with Places. Currently, this API only supports Graph API apps, so those of you who are building with the classic RESTful API are SOL. I don’t think this will ever change, as trying to represent something as rich as location using something as complex as the RESTful API will simply end up as a fiasco. Facebook currently allows developers to read users’ checkin information, and some time in the future (apparently currently in private beta) applications will be able to make checkins on their own.
Alright, so where does FriendRunner fit into all of this. Well first off if you weren’t aware, FriendRunner does support, and we absolutely love the Graph API. Without that support there would be no way for us to implement Places. Now the reason we love the Graph API so much is that it’s so well thought out and regimented that querying a list of user checkins looks exactly like querying a list of user friends which looks like querying a list of a user’s favorite books. This means that we should have this support coded up fairly soon so that when you’re ready to load test your location-aware apps, FriendRunner will have you covered.
So go at it and start using location-awareness in your Facebook applications. When the time comes to test these features, let us know how FriendRunner can help you.
Since we’re talking about places and locations, see if you can identify the beautiful Georgian mansion featured here. This National Historical Landmark was built by a signer of the Declaration of Independence and was once (a long time ago) the workplace of Sericon Technology’s president. When you think you have the answer, let us know at email@example.com. The first one to correctly answer will be featured on this page, and will enjoy worldwide fame from people who love testing Facebook apps. Extra credit if you can also provide the house’s coordinates.
Dr. William M. Spears of Swarmotics has correctly identified Homewood House on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University as our mystery location. He’s also noted its coordinates as 39°19′46″N 76°37′9″W, as well as adding his personal comment that it is a “Good frisbee and tanning location (i.e., the ‘beach’).”
Congratulations and good work William!