Involver adds visual tool for producing custom Facebook apps without code

Social marketing platform Involver today introduced a visual tool for building Facebook applications and other customizable experiences.

The Visual SML is an addition to Involver’s Social Markup Language, a system that enables front-end developers to code apps more efficiently. Now with the visual tool, coding isn’t necessary. Marketers can drag and drop widgets, like videos, photo galleries or contest forms, onto a canvas that can be used on Facebook tabs, websites and mobile landing pages.

Using a technology platform like Involver could help large brands and agencies save time and money by making development more efficient. For example, Involver manages changes in the Facebook API, so when Facebook tweaks its code, Involver updates SML accordingly. Developers can maintain the same SML tags and avoid having to fix their existing applications. The cost of a yearly license, however, prevents the platform from being an option for small businesses or agencies that don’t regularly produce apps for their clients.

Companies like Vitrue and Wildfire also offer drag-and-drop tools, but Roland Smart, Sr. Director of Product Marketing at Involver, says the difference with Involver’s product is how designers and front-end switch between the visual tool and SML code.

“[For brands and agencies] there are fundamental differences between the marketing side of the house and the development side of the house,” Smart says. “Now they can both be in the same platform and work together.”

Smart says the platform is useful for large companies that might have front end developers on the corporate side, but not among the regional offices. Corporate can use the SML code and the regional marketers can use the visual tool.

Interestingly, Facebook is a client of Involver’s. The social network uses SML for some of its applications, including the Super Bowl Ad Meter it released in partnership with USA Today. That app, which let users rate Super Bowl commercials, integrated Open Graph and was accessible from multiple Facebook pages, USAToday.com and the mobile web.

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