Integrating The Facebook Connect Platform Into Your Website
The Facebook Connect Platform was released in the summer of 2008. This new platform brings Facebook to all sorts of new mediums; your website, your mobile device, and more. Now with their new Comments box, announced on February 19th, 2009, BolderImage has the ability to bring together a cool blog-style comments application with Facebook tie-ins, right on your website. If Facebook keeps this kind of innovation up, they will become to social networking what Google has become to search engines - the defacto standard and hands-down leader.
This piqued my curiosity - what was this new social networking application, exactly? What better way to find out than to actually integrate it? So I convinced my boss to let me kill some time investigating and creating a proof of concept for this new technology. Boy is he glad he let me check it out...
The Facebook Comments box allows you to place a comments section on any page of your website. Every page maintains its own list of comments from your web visitors, meaning you can have a comments box on every page if you want, each with its own thread of comments. You can see our working integration sample here.
When a Facebook user or visitor posts a comment, Facebook users have the option of also allowing the post to go up on their wall. Hello? Viral marketing potential? Now the sales guys at the office here are drooling.
Of course, all of the tools you need to manage this are provided by Facebook. Comment boxes can be assigned to administrators and moderators. You can choose to let anyone comment, or only registered Facebook users. You can whitelist (or blacklist) users. There are a lot of powerful control options too numerous to cover in this article.
I'll admit, as integrations go, this wasn't the easiest. The documentation from the Facebook Developer's Wiki didn't always seem to match the actual application features or interface settings; I'm guessing due to the rapidly changing improvements and bug fixes of the tool. Combine that with integrating our ISAPI URL tool (for SEO optimization), and a tricky CSS for styling the application, and it was definitely a challenge. But hey, it was a fun challenge - much better than writing, oh say, a QuickBooks import routine!
BolderImage is pleased to announce another great weapon in our arsenal - the Facebook Connect Comments box. If you would like to learn more about how this great application can benefit your website, please contact us today. And if you haven't followed any of the links above yet to our sample integration page, then click here to see it in action!
- Barry Koehler
Web Programming Manager