WPBook 1.4 Released
(Updated 1/5 – it’s actually 1.4.1 now, as there was a typo in the theme/index.php file – get_exteral_url should be get_external_url).
Last night I packaged and released version 1.4 of WPBook, the plugin I maintain which creates a view of your WordPress blog as a Facebook application.
(For example, see Open Parenthesis as a blog, and then Open Parenthesis as a Facebook app).
Highlights of this release
- Fixed bug which made invite friends link only work on the home page
- Fixed bug in setting for custom/header footer which included a permalink
(WordPress support topic 306263)
- Added Gravatar support
- Added (experimentally) a list of “pages” as well – this means you should able to use WPBook even if you have a static homepage set in WordPress – just use the url of your home page as the “Canvas Callback URL”
- Removed hard coded references to wp-content and plugins directories
- Removed hard coded reference to config.php, routing Facebook comment submission through WordPress’ built in query parser instead
As you can see, this was really more of a bug-fix and code cleanup release, with one experimental functional addition (pages). The one feature I didn’t get to but wanted to was threaded comment support (as in WordPress 2.7 and later). Would users want to be able to set threading differently inside Facebook than outside it? (I’m thinking that WPBook should just follow the settings in the blog it is installed to, with respect to threading – and perhaps gravatars as well, given how integrated with WordPress gravatars have become).
The next version will be more of a “feature set” release, and will also be the first version to require PHP 5. Although Facebook only officially supports a PHP 5 client library, I’ve been supporting PHP 4 by relying on an open source PHP 4 Facebook client.
The problem is that many of the operations most requested by users rely on Facebook API calls which sometimes fail. The PHP 5 client handles this by throwing exceptions, which WPBook needs to catch – something PHP 4 can’t do.
What’s coming in 1.5
Here’s my tentative roadmap:
- Threaded Comments – which may mean upping the minimum WordPress to 2.7 for simplicity’s sake. Given that we’re at 2.9 now I think that’s ok.
- More work on Pages. Need to be able to list pages not to show inside Facebook, enable user to set page depth, maybe even show the top level pages as Facebook style tabs across the top of the application? (tricky inside an iFrame app)
- PHP 5 required – this will allow me to trap “uncaught exceptions” which sometimes occur when users submit new blog posts. It’s a cosmetic error but a really ugly one which it happens, and as I use more and more Facebook calls it may happen more often.
- Publish to Facebook’s Stream.publish API when a new blog post is published – this is the most commonly requested feature. (Is it fair to assume the blog author is also the owner of the Facebook application? I had assumed so but that may not be the case – may require the user to enter his/her Facebook UID in WPBook for publishing to the stream)
- Enable publishing to the wall of a Facebook “page” as well as a userwhen a new blog post is published.
- Enable users leaving comments to also publish to the Facebook stream- has to be at the user’s discretion, but WPBook could offer to publish comments both to the stream of the user publishing the comment and to the blog author’s stream.
What else would you like to see in WPBook 1.5? (Not that these aren’t enough).
I’ve also got to start thinking about WordPress 3.0 and the merge with the WPMU codebase, and what impact that has, but I’m hoping that can wait for WPBook 1.6.