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IP.Board 3.1.0 Dev Update: Improved Facebook Integration

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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[quote name='Mark' date='09 February 2010 - 11:35 AM']Facebook Connect guidelines do not allow additional steps for registration. It has to be click button --> logged in.
Mark, perhaps the guidelines are meaning that you cannot ask for additional information, confirming the account, etc. But for things like configuring a couple of settings for the account, that's fine (in ref to Kfir's comment).

Then what could be done is the display name could be filled in automatically, along with their timezone information, etc, and the new member could make any changes before finishing and using the board. That way, if someone wants to use a different name, they can. The timezone thing could be to make sure the setting is correct (or perhaps they prefer to see times in a different time), etc.

I'm not sure what the guidelines say, so I can only speculate since Digg does it and I would imagine that Digg wouldn't unless it was within the rules, considering how popular a site it is and how quickly it'd get found out.

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Have a thought…

Is it possible to create a hook to suggest fresh new members to choose a username AFTER (not during) they are registered on IP.Board via Facebook Connect ?

Once they're registered, they are hidden from other members (in a dedicated group or something else) and they can't do anything (posting, PMing etc…) until they are choosen a username (or possibility to skip the process if they want to stay with their name/surname) ?

By this way, it bypass the Facebook API rules. I think most people don't want their name and surname exposed on the web (Facebook is enough).

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[quote name='Kfir' date='09 February 2010 - 05:44 PM']
It is possible. Look at Digg's Facebook connect. Here is a screenshot:
diggrz.jpg


Thank you! Digg gave me the idea in the first place! Also Google Login is also a great idea! I <3 Google. At times I'm hesistant to use Facebook Connect because I don't want forum stuff being posted on my FB. Furthermore, I don't want my full name, picture, etc displayed automatically. I just want to click -> log in.

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[quote name='Matt' date='09 February 2010 - 04:32 PM'] Ok..

The point of adding Facebook integration was two fold:
1) It lowers the barrier for registration. Some people are put off by filling in a long form and waiting for activation. If they can click a button and log in with their Facebook username and password then they are encouraged to do so and participate in YOUR community. You get more members, more posts and more eyes on your content. This is good for everyone.
2) It helps promote your site via status updates and sharing links. See number #1 for the benefit of doing this.

Saying "it's just making the board a Facebook extension" is a little short sighted, as is saying that it is not a forum feature and it will not benefit you. You are welcome to ignore Facebook and continue to have nothing to do with it, but in doing so you are missing out on traffic and promotion. It's your choice as always.

We are not pandering to the social networking scene. We are simply adding tools that enable you to make the best use of today's websites. There is no compunction to use them.

As for forum only features, the last few blogs have been about ad management, soft delete, SEO and more - all very useful "forum only" enhancements.

members who complain about these great facilities of IPB i think dont understand... You simply cant compete with facebook with its 4million users so you may as well use it and be part of it.. On the whole most of the new members you get are lazy and hate to fill in registration forms let alone have to go and sign in to their email to click on the confirmation link, so to give them a one click button is great, remember they have already gone through the confirmation stage on facebook and had their details checked so why worry, and if only one percent of those 4million users find something interesting on your site that they want to take part in, thats a lot of users for your site. :thumbsup:

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[quote name='wingman23' date='10 February 2010 - 08:49 AM']
members who complain about these great facilities of IPB i think dont understand... You simply cant compete with facebook with its 4million users so you may as well use it and be part of it.. On the whole most of the new members you get are lazy and hate to fill in registration forms let alone have to go and sign in to their email to click on the confirmation link, so to give them a one click button is great, remember they have already gone through the confirmation stage on facebook and had their details checked so why worry, and if only one percent of those 4million users find something interesting on your site that they want to take part in, thats a lot of users for your site. :thumbsup:

You mean 400 million users, as of Feb 4th. With 400 million users, if only 1% of 1% (0.0001) of them visit the site, that's 40,000 visitors and if only 1% of those visitors join up, that's 400 new members. With those 400 new members, you might get another 40,000 visitors with some of those joining up.

Here is the source of the 400 million users reference...
http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?topic_id=183787954620

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The feature is there already in your profile settings under 'change display name' all that needs to be done is for the Facebook login screen to point new users where to go once login is accomplished.
[quote name='Mark' date='09 February 2010 - 11:35 AM']
Facebook Connect guidelines do not allow additional steps for registration. It has to be click button --> logged in.

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[quote name='nes718' date='13 February 2010 - 05:11 AM']
The feature is there already in your profile settings under 'change display name' all that needs to be done is for the Facebook login screen to point new users where to go once login is accomplished.

That's cool. I realllly appreciate all these updates. To be honest I think that it would be cool simply to allow them to do those checkboxes as shown in the picture (so they choose which ones they want at the click of a button), with an extra option for "check all" to check all the boxes; and then simply the desired display name.

Either way, people, don't batter IPS for trying to help everyone out!! They're trying to make the software better constantly, just because they happen to add a couple social networking things to improve traffic to YOUR site, in turn helping YOU out, doesn't warrant a negative response. As Matt said, they already have the soft delete function and other features which is for the forum software itself, so seriously, look at this as a positive addition!! You can't complain about getting more, especially when you can turn off anything you dislike..... Feature-rich is a good thing, giving you various options in the case you end up changing your mind, or if you want to use it in the first place! ;)

Thank you for everything so far IPS. And the updates are just unbelievable. The skin updater, ad feature, soft delete, sharing links, cool statuses, social networking things, oh the list of awesomeness goes on and on! I've said this in virtually every comment, but you seriously just continue to blow my mind with every miniscule and major update!!

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[quote name='.Wolfie' date='10 February 2010 - 02:36 PM']
You mean 400 million users, as of Feb 4th. With 400 million users, if only 1% of 1% (0.0001) of them visit the site, that's 40,000 visitors and if only 1% of those visitors join up, that's 400 new members. With those 400 new members, you might get another 40,000 visitors with some of those joining up.

Here is the source of the 400 million users reference...
http://blog.facebook...id=183787954620

well i was thinking only in the uk, but i was wrong, there are 19 million users in the uk alone. Wow at 400 million users worldwide though.... :whistle: best start tweaking my server a bit then so i can catch up :thumbsup:

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[quote name='Tanax' date='08 February 2010 - 04:36 PM']
Wow, great!
Will it be possible to post an already posted status on the forums, to ones' facebook?

Say I automatically fetch status from my twitter, will it be possible to publish that status to facebook aswell? So the forum will act as a sort of "bridge" between twitter statuses and facebook statuse?

Good work! You truly are fantastic.


Anyone? :)

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[quote name='.Wolfie' date='09 February 2010 - 11:02 AM']
http://developers.facebook.com/news.php?blog=1&story=355


I'd like to be able to require their actual email address, to prevent potential abuse because someone decides to register with their email address and then decides to register via FBC using a proxy.


I'd like to see this along with the option of requiring the user to choose a username, as well (not a display name, which is not useful for forums that do not allow them).

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