Facebook announced today that it is releasing its biggest iOS SDK update yet with the release of SDK 3.0 Beta for iOS, which also includes iOS 6 integration for native Facebook login. It is also rolling out a completely refreshed iOS Dev Center with tutorials, concepts, and reference docs to help iOS app developers build great Facebook-integrated apps for iOS devices.

As for iOS 6 integration, Facebook explained the new SDK would automatically support use of the native Facebook Login feature in iOS 6 once it launches, and it will continue to support the feature in beta until then. Facebook said all new features in SDK 3.0 would work on iOS 4.0 or later: “Just enable Login with Facebook and the SDK will ensure your apps work seamlessly on all iOS versions 4.0 and later.”

While walking through some of the new features included in the SDK, such as improvements for iOS 6, the announcement highlighted new drag-and-drop, “ready-to-use native UI” components and enhanced API support:

Ready-to-Use Native UI Views: This SDK release includes a variety of pre-built user interface (UI) components for common functions. You can quickly drop them into your apps instead of building each one from scratch or using dialogs. This gives you a fast, native and consistent way to build common features.

  • FBProfilePictureView lets you display a user’s profile picture.
  • FBPlacePickerViewController allows users to query the Facebook Places database to find nearby options and check in.
  • FBFriendPickerViewController, with single and multi-selection options, enables users to easily select friends. This supports filtering friends by device type and application authorization status.

Modern Objective-C language features support: With Automatic Reference Counting (ARC), you no longer have to spend as much time on memory management. Support for blocks means that it’s now more straightforward to handle sessions and calls to asynchronous Facebook APIs. This, along with inclusion of key language features like idiomatic API naming and KVO, allows you to transition seamlessly between the Facebook SDK and Apple’s iOS environment.

Improved Facebook APIs support: We have enabled batching for SDK requests to significantly improve latency for Facebook API calls, which translates to much faster access times for API requests. Support for strongly typed Objective-C types for graph actions and objects makes programming against the social graph more concise and easier. This combined with our action publishing API makes it easier to publish Open Graph actions to people’s timelines.

The Facebook SDK 3.0 Beta for iOS is available to download here.

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