I like the Facebook app on the Windows Phone but it’s fair to say that it has its detractors too. One school of thought says that it’s unnecessary anyway due to the way in which Facebook is integrated into the phone natively. But some people like to have a full-blown app in addition to the built-in features. Having said that, there are some pieces missing from the app – mainly little things like being unable to see who has “liked” a post you have made, or being unable to like comments people have made on a post. No doubt these little gaps will be filled via a future update but I’m an impatient kind of person and don’t want to wait.
So I started wondering if there’s another option and of course there is: Try firing up Internet Explorer on your phone and visiting http://touch.facebook.com. It’s a pretty nice touch-friendly version of Facebook and better, in my opinion, than the mobile version you get at m.facebook.com.
Now of course, this being the Windows Phone, it’s simple to pin the website to your start screen just like any other app so that you can launch it easily. And that works great, but there were a few things that bugged me:
So let’s take these one at a time. Firstly, the toast notification problem is solved by simply leaving the main Facebook app installed and ensuring you have the toast-notifications option set. You can tuck it away right down the bottom of your start screen. You don’t ever have to use it if you don’t want to.
Secondly, you don’t really need a live tile count as long as you have a “me” tile pinned to your start screen. As I’m sure you’re aware, your “me” tile will display notifications from Facebook on it’s reverse side when it flips, which I find even better than just a mere count. After all, it will display the text of notifications right on the tile.
So what about the icon? Well, that’s pretty easy to solve too. There’s a little bit of prep work to do first though:
And hey presto, you have a tile on your start screen with the Facebook logo which, when you press it, loads up the touch version of the Facebook site. I think this makes a nice alternative to the native app but I’d be interested to hear any comments or suggestions. Do you like this approach? Or are you happy with the official app?