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Facebook Developer VPS: A Development Environment for the Facebook SDK

by Tim Attwood on April 5, 2012

FacebookSay you’ve got an idea for a killer Facebook app. You need to get it out before someone beats you to it. But since you’re gambling your company on it, you’d be well served to consider your options before making a commitment. Among your first options involves creating a development environment. This article will discuss some of the factors around deciding whether to set up your Facebook SDK on a local machine or a VPS.

First, definitions: VPS means Virtual Private Server, while SDK means Software Development Kit. SDK represents a collection of development tools and related resources that publishers of existing applications, like Facebook, make available for use in creating compatible apps.

Virtual Private Server refers to a hosted machine equipped to run server software. Companies have been accessing hosted servers for years; however advancements in virtualization improve the sharing of hosted servers. In this case, each business pays monthly for access to a fully functional and independent partition of a larger machine. Using both resident and shared resources you can load whatever applications you want on the Developer VPS. In practice the end user experience on a VPS remains indistinguishable from that of accessing either a local or hosted dedicated server.

Using your local machine for development has obvious advantages: your company retains complete control over your project. Of course this may also be the major disadvantage, too. Hosting companies invest real dollars to guarantee the security, uptime and accessibility of their servers. Opting for a hosted server enables your business to enjoy the benefits of those investments in bandwidth, security and infrastructure without supporting the expense alone. This drastically reduces the cost of your development project, without exposing your business to greater risk. Further virtualization further reduces your costs by sharing the expense with other users.

You may also want to consider the impact of supporting a development environment on your local machine. Application development makes substantial demands on the resources of the local machine. You may see performance degradation on your local machine as a result of supporting development in addition to your other tasks. Finally building a Developer VPS on a hosted server will enable you to provide distributed access far more easily than on a local machine.

Other resources you may need in your Facebook SDK VPS include the various Facebook SDKs. For example you may intend your app to run under Windows, but you may want to enable it for the iOS or Linux at the same time. You will also want the Visual Studio or some similar development package. You’ll need to have IIS locally, as well as JavaScript to facilitate the creation of the web-based elements of your application. Facebook authentication also calls for ASP.net calls as well, so you’ll need that, too.

In short you’ll need to know exactly where your project will head, so you can anticipate your needs appropriately. That way you can avoid choosing your Facebook SDK VPS poorly.

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{ 1 comment }

VPS September 5, 2012 at 7:02 AM

Hi Tim,
Found it very useful & informative.

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