Facebook Connect API

This is the nth time that I have been asked to do a POC (for the same company) on how to connect to Facebook.

The first time I did it in PHP. Believe it or not, the team that had to take the POC through to development did not have the skills. I am talking here about a large non-profit. The whole implementation was ugly, but worked. This was quite some time ago (2008 maybe).

The second time, was in JAVA. I was supposed to demo it again and make it more friendly for the developers. So I found a wrapper library for JAVA, which was messy in itself but worked. It was unsupported, but at least documented quite well. This was just before the graph API was adopted mainstream. There was a bug that cropped up in the implementation that had to do with IE 8 and Window 7 (who could have guessed?). It had to do with the security settings between the two and the way Oracle SSO functioned and the forwarding to the Facebook pages AND only when viewing a page on the intranet which had external content. Somehow, this ended up in production.

Very shortly after this, the third time, I fiddled with the graph API and thought I could do this far better. I approached the “higher ups” about this and mentioned that I can make the bug go away and could make the whole registration process smoother. I was not given the time to look any further into it.

Then I was asked to look into this exact issue about another year later (2010), the fourth time. I came up with a very neat way of handling things. This was mainly due to the advances in the Facebook API and by now it was the Facebook Connect API. So this implementation was Javascript and I think some jQuery, with servlet’s talking to the Oracle SSO and doing the important stuff. The solution was really nice, which we presented to the “higher ups”. They liked it and promised that they could put it into production and it will not take too long, but no shorter than a month, although shorter than THREE!!!.

Needless to say, this ended up falling by the way side. It is now mid 2011 and I have been asked to put together another POC of how we can improve the registration, the fifth time. I have now put together a short showcase of how you can log in, log out, check status, get user details, and some other minor things. All on one page and simple. It is pure Javascript with nothing funny. It does not even have a css file for styling. Just links on a page that log to the console what is happening.

Tomorrow I am handing off to the team that will take responsibility for this. However, I am unsure that things will progress to improve anything. It is important to mention, that this is not the core business of the institution and somehow over this time I ended up going from consulting to the company, to working for them full-time. At least I have time to focus on my MBA.

Oh and the “new” Facebook Connect API is really a HUGE improvement over how things were done in the past. I have also looked into some Flash connectors and things are much easier than what they were. It is a pity that I am over Facebook though.