Archive for Tag ‘Plugin‘

Fun with WordPress HTTP API, Redirection and Cookies: WPGPlus 0.8.1

Google Cookie Monster from November 2009 – from Web Pro News

This weekend I checked in and released a new version (0.8, followed by 0.8.1 this am) of WPGPlus, the WordPress plugin I wrote which cross-posts to Google+ when new blog posts are published in WordPress.

Because Google hasn’t yet released a read-write API (their API only allows for reading data from Google+ not posting into it), the plugin uses a hack from this twitter bot script, and emulates the Google+ mobile interface: it logs in as you and posts on your behalf.

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WPBook & WPBook Lite Updates for Deprecated Offline Access

Enable "deprecate offline_access" to get extended access token and be prepared for when Facebook permanently removes offline_access

Facebook’s developer roadmap is always changing. The latest change that impacts WPBook and WPBook Lite is the removal of the “offline_access” permission, coming in July:

The offline_access permission is deprecated and will be removed July 5, 2012. Until then, you can turn this change on or off using the “Remove offline_access permission” migration. On May 2, 2012, we will automatically turn the migration to “enabled” for all apps. If this breaks your app, you can turn the migration back to “disabled” until July 5, 2012 when it will be permanently “enabled” for all apps.

If that wasn’t confusing enough, check out the “Removal of offline access permission” page, which explains that:

While we are removing the use of the offline_access permission, through a migration setting in the Developer App, we are now allowing the option to use access_tokens with a long-lived expiration time that can be renewed each time the user revists your app (see exceptions below). For existing apps that are not using the offline_access permission, there are no changes required for your app, but you should consider using the new endpoint that allows the longer expiration time.

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Introducing WPGPlus: Posting from WordPress to Google+

Inspired by seeing comments in Google+ about the need for a WordPress cross-post, I whipped up a quick WordPress plugin: WPGPLus.

For now, since the Google+ API is read-only, I’m borrowing inspiration from Luka Puši?’s GPlus Bot and Dmitry Sandalov’s Twitter 2 Google Plus script.

This means emulating the Google+ mobile web experience using Curl.

WPGPlus adds a box to the post edit screen where you can choose yes/no for publishing to Google+, as well as a place for a message to be used in the body.

(If you provide a Google+ message it is used; if you provide a post excerpt it is used; otherwise post content is used).

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think!

WPBook and WPBook Lite: More Options, More Flexibility

A few months ago I discussed the Future of WPBook in this space, specifically what to do about Facebook’s new requirement that all applications providing canvas pages or page tabs had to be accessible via SSL. As I outlined it then, I saw the options as:

  1. Eliminate the canvas page and tab altogether – make WPBook just focus on cross-posting and comment import, thus potentially eliminating the SSL requirement?
  2. Make it optional – keep the canvas page and tab, but make them optional – only for users who want them and have the necessary SSL certificate
  3. Fork the plugin – make a version of the plugin which works like the current model, but also a second (WPBook Lite?) that only does cross posting and comment import? That way we could have separate directions for each to simplify setup confusion
  4. Stop developing WPBook – There are a number of other plugins which do Facebook posting, and at least one which does Facebook comment importing (probably more). Is it worth continuing to develop WPBook if better alternatives exist?

Ultimately, I settled on Option 3: Fork the plugin, and create a lighter-weight version which did not include the canvas page or tab. The result is WPBook Lite, available now in the WordPress Plugin Repository.

Should I use WPBook, or WPBook Lite?

I suspect this will be the main question folks will face, so here’s a quick comparison table:

Feature WPBook WPBook Lite
Cross Post WordPress Blog Posts to Facebook X X
Post WordPress Blog Posts to Facebook Profiles (Walls), Pages, and Groups X X
Import comments made against Facebook Excerpt Posts to WordPress as native comments X X
View WordPress Blog inside Facebook as Canvas Page Application X
Add WordPress blog as a tab to a Facebook Page X
Requires WordPress blog be accessible via SSL (HTTPS) X

Basically, if you are able to access your blog via HTTPS, and you WANT the view of the blog inside Facebook as a canvas application, or you want the page tab feature, you should use WPBook.

If your blog is not accessible via HTTPS, or you don’t want the view of the blog inside Facebook / page tab, then you should be happier with WPBook lite.

I’ll be updating the instructions over at shortly to reflect Facebook’s new look for developer settings shortly, and will also differentiate between WPBook and WPBook Lite. In theory, configuring WPBook Lite should be significantly simpler for most users.

If you’re already using WPBook and shift to WPBook Lite, you will need to regrant permissions.

Migrating from WPBook to WPBook Lite:

  1. View your WPBook settings page, and write down your profile ID as well as the IDs of any pages/groups to which you want to cross publish.
  2. Deactivate WPBook (but don’t delete it yet)
  3. Install and Activate WPBook Lite
  4. Set up a new Application for WPBook Lite – this time you should only need the “Website” settings under Integration, not any of the “App on Facebook” section settings
  5. Visit the WPBook Lite settings page in WordPress, fill out the required fields (APP ID, Secret, your profile ID), and save the form
  6. Re-visit the WPBook Lite settings page, where you should now see an opportunity to grant appropriate permissions

If done correctly, WPBook Lite should pick up right where WPBook left off.

If you run into problems, please comment in the appropriate WordPress Support Forums: WPBook or WPBook Lite.

The Future of WPBook

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the future of WPBook, and wanted to give a quick update. There are two key factors making me rethink the whole approach.

Pittsfield in the Near Future (from Cameo Wood on flickr, cc-by-nc license)

The first is a change Facebook has made, requiring SSL certificates for “all Canvas and Page tab applications.” (They announced this change earlier this summer, as part of the bizarrely Orwellian “Operation Developer Love” but it went into effect as of October 1st).

This is a problem because many WPBook users’ blogs are not available via https connections (including my own), and with this new Facebook change their WPBook implementation will fail, though how exactly that will be manifest isn’t clear to me yet (see below). Getting an SSL certificate for your blog isn’t an insurmountable task, but if you run your blog on cheap shared hosting, the costs of an SSL certificate (and the dedicated IP it requires) can be nearly as much as you’re paying for hosting! It’s also a task that the non-technical user will find horribly confusing.

The second is a recent report showing that:

Using a 3rd party API to update your Facebook Page decreases your likelihood of engagement per fan (on average) by about 80%

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