I had a really low moment yesterday. I’d just finished the request-sending part of Funhouse Photo, and it was working like a dream. The request contained a picture of the recipient that the sender had put through Funhouse, along with a short message. I sent a few test messages, and everything looked good.
Then, it stopped working. Instead of the app-supplied image, the request now showed the plain photo of the sender. This completely killed the effectiveness of the request! Before it was really compelling because you actually saw a photo of yourself run through the software right there in the message, now it was unclear what Funhouse Photo actually offered.
I discovered that Facebook had decided to start ignoring the app-supplied image. They didn’t explain why in their announcement, but I can only guess there were some security concerns, though I’m having a hard time picturing the problems. This is why I hate, hate, hate having platform dependencies, especially on something that is so new and fluid. They can make a decision that has a devastating impact on your product, and you’ve got no way out but trying to work around it.
Anyway, I sucked it up, and completed an alternative implementation that uses notifications instead of app requests. There’s still no photo visible until you click, so it’s definitely not as good as my original setup, but should still provide a fun service for my users.
Talking of users, I’m now up to a grand total of 7! The app is still waiting in the queue for the directory, but the interesting thing is that two of my users aren’t in my friends network, which means they must have spotted it on one of my friends’ profiles and decided to add it. That’s very encouraging.