Facebook Launches Application Creation API

One of my biggest frustrations as a FacebookFacebook API developer of WordPress plugins has been the need to require my users to go out and create their own application in Facebook for their blog.  To do so they had to install a “developer app” on Facebook and know what forms to fill out after they did.  It was a lot of work and very difficult to explain to people!  Today Facebook launched a way to automate that process, their Create Application API.

According to the developers wiki, starting today developers of WordPress plugins and other 4th-party Facebook applications will be able to automate the process of creating applications on behalf of their users as “child applications”.  This means for the FBFoundations plugin I launched over the weekend I’ll be able to automatically register the user’s blog as an app in Facebook when they activate the plugin.  The user will only need to activate the plugin in WordPress, we’ll grab the API key and everything else, and there will be nothing more for that user to do.

Installing Facebook Connect WordPress plugins just got a whole lot more easy.  Can’t wait to play with this and see what others do with it.  Stay tuned for an FBFoundations plugin update that includes this.  Details are still vague on this, so I’ll update if anything changes – thus far we just have a few wiki articles talking about it.

UPDATE: See my version 2 of this post for an even more interesting perspective on this API.

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10 thoughts on “Facebook Launches Application Creation API

  1. Been looking closer at this. I had it working, but as soon as I tried to move the plugin to another site, it failed. There's a fundamental flaw here.

    In order to call the FB.Connect.createApplication function from javascript, you have to already be connected as a FB Connect application. A Connect app must be tied to a specific URL.

    To make a WordPress plugin, for example, ideally you would just add code to your plugin that lets the user click a button and magically create an application. The problem is that when they install the plugin, it's on *their* site. You have to already be connected as an app (parent app) to create a new app (child app). And that parent app is tied to a URL which they are not on. So, wham-bam, fail.

    You *can* make it work if you provide a server elsewhere for it to callback to. Like a webservice, essentially. They connect to your server, your code creates the application for them, then hands back the API key to them. From that point on, they're connected. But they can't create an app themselves without either a) doing it manually or b) going through your server to do it.

    So while this method will work nicely for letting them block auto-created child apps, it won't work for this purpose you (and I) both wanted here in this post. 😦

    Like

  2. Been looking closer at this. I had it working, but as soon as I tried to move the plugin to another site, it failed. There's a fundamental flaw here.

    In order to call the FB.Connect.createApplication function from javascript, you have to already be connected as a FB Connect application. A Connect app must be tied to a specific URL.

    To make a WordPress plugin, for example, ideally you would just add code to your plugin that lets the user click a button and magically create an application. The problem is that when they install the plugin, it's on *their* site. You have to already be connected as an app (parent app) to create a new app (child app). And that parent app is tied to a URL which they are not on. So, wham-bam, fail.

    You *can* make it work if you provide a server elsewhere for it to callback to. Like a webservice, essentially. They connect to your server, your code creates the application for them, then hands back the API key to them. From that point on, they're connected. But they can't create an app themselves without either a) doing it manually or b) going through your server to do it.

    So while this method will work nicely for letting them block auto-created child apps, it won't work for this purpose you (and I) both wanted here in this post. 😦

    Like

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