Social SQL with FQL: the Facebook Query Language

SQL is going social with Facebook's newly announced data access mechanism the Facebook Query Language. What is it? From their site:

Last week we released a whole new version of Platform. On the surface it may look similar to the old version, but under the hood it is a totally new implementation. And, starting today you can enjoy the benefits of that new implementation by getting direct access to a more powerful, flexible way of accessing Facebook data - a Query Language we call FQL... FQL is a way to query the same Facebook data you can access through the other API functions, but with a SQL-style interface. In fact, many of the normal API calls are simple wrappers for FQL queries. All of the usual privacy checks are still applied. A typical query looks something like this: SELECT name, pic FROM user WHERE uid=211031 OR uid=4801660

The Facebook team cites a number of advantages to this approach including:

  • Reduced bandwidth costs because you only get the fields you ask for
  • Reduced number of requests by virtue of allowing more complex queries
  • Consistent, unified interface
  • And, "it's fun!"

Curious? If you have an account you can try it out directly with their handy API Test Console. It was last August that Facebook launched their API beta program (our coverage here) and as of earlier this month it is now officially 1.0. Want an example of what folks are building, you can check-out the example below, MoochSpot which helps you keep track of debts and shared expenses with your friends. And as a nice bonus for developers at their site they include Java source.


Be sure to read the next Social article: The Facebook Platform