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IP.Board 3.1.0 Dev Update: Facebook API Updates

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On Wednesday at the F8 conference, Facebook unveiled their new "Graph" API.

This is brand new set of APIs including a new oAuth based log in system. There is much speculation in the media about the current (now old) APIs like Facebook Connect, which IP.Board currently uses. Some sites are reporting that Facebook will simply kill it off while other more optimistic journalists envision a long grace period to allow developers update and migrate their applications.

We didn't want to hang around and find out, so today I recoded our Facebook integration using the new oAuth 2.0 methods using FQL as much as possible which is more likely resistant to change.

What does that mean for you?
First off, apart from adding your Facebook application ID (this is listed on your "Edit my application page") into your Admin CP after upgrading, you don't have to do much else. Your currently 'connected' members will just have to re-log in once to accept a new token which is saved in the database. All the new permissions 3.1 needs will be asked for in a single page at the first Facebook log in from an IP.Board page.

All of the features we added have been updated for the new API including: logging in, synchronizing profile data, publishing links to your wall and importing/exporting status updates.

An example of a permission request actioned when you log in for the first time

The Facebook 'Connect' Page using the new APIs.

Some test status updates and links published to my test Facebook account.

Any improvements?
Actually yes. The new APIs are much more streamlined which have allowed a lot of the inline JS and mark-up to be removed. Better yet, as we're no longer using Facebook Connect, we are not shackled by Facebook's Connect TOS which mean that now when you log in using Facebook and you don't have a current forum account, you are asked to enter a display name rather than having your real name used automatically.

We've even added a few default hooks (that are disabled by default) to show off some of the new Facebook API features.

Facebook has an activity feed widget which lists all Facebook related activity on your forum

You can now like any publicly viewable topic

Of course we understand that not everyone requires these new Facebook features which is why they are disabled by default.

To re-cap:
- 3.1 now uses Facebook's new oAuth / Graph APIs (and FQL)
- You only need to add your application ID to your Facebook settings in the ACP to use this once you upgrade
- Your current Facebook members will not have to do anything other than log in once via Facebook from the log in form or from the Facebook settings page in their UserCP
- Your members can now set their own display name when they log in with Facebook and they don't have a local account

We felt it pertinent to move quickly on this so that IP.Board 3.1 was released with the very latest APIs possible.

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