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IP.Board 3.1.0 Dev Update: Improved Facebook Integration


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When we were developing IP.Board 3.0 we were looking for ways to lower the barrier for registering. There are many single sign in providers but most of them required separate registration and set-up. Around this time, Facebook released their emerging API "Facebook Connect". We seized the opportunity to implement it within IP.Board 3 and adhered to all their guidelines. The first implementation of the Facebook Connect API was less of a point of authentication but more of a way to appear as a member of a site.

This was slightly at odds with the concept of permanent registration at a forum and a few work-arounds had to be made. For example, there was no way to request your Facebook data without you actually being active on the board and connected (logged into Facebook). Also, Facebook did not allow you to request the Facebook user's real email address but instead had to make do with a long proxy email address that Facebook would use to forward mail to your Facebook account. Despite these limitations, it worked well in allowing users with a Facebook account to register almost instantly on your forum.

Since then, Facebook have updated their API dramatically allowing so much more functionality. Naturally, we have taken the opportunity to update the integration within IP.Board. You can now request several different permissions to allow IP.Board to fetch your Facebook data without you being online. Furthermore, IP.Board can now store a permanent "key" to link your forum account to your Facebook account meaning that you shouldn't see the "Connect" button once you initially set up your forum account.

As these permissions need to be explicitly granted, we have added a little section to the "Manage Facebook Connect" page to list the permissions IP.Board requires and whether or not such permission has been granted. If permission has not been granted, you will be give the option of requesting permission.

You can now also publish your status updates directly to your Facebook account using the new API methods:

This new implementation should clear up a lot of the current Facebook issues people experience, mostly due to authorization errors between IP.Board and Facebook caused by expired sessions.

The new methods also allow the new sharing links system.

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