test.ical.ly | getting the web by the balls

Archive for April 2011

Yesterday I released CaeferFacebookCanvasAppBundle for Symfony2 as a single purpose software. I made it do what I needed and hopefully did not include any bugs or misconceptions.

Obviously I was asked why I haven’t done all that withing the already existing FacebookBundle which is multi purpose of which a canvas app could be just one.

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When you followed my posts for the last few weeks you might have noticed that I wasn’t exactly happy with my attempts to combine Symfony2, its security component, FacebookBundle and Facebook itself.

I just couldn’t get both working together the way I wanted them to. Partly because of Facebook and partly because my lack of understanding the Symfony2 security component and all its (yet to be completely documented) possibilities and its use in FacebookBundle. So I decided to invert my working process and start from plain PHP and authentication adn authorization with Facebook and then slowly progress towards Symfony2 integrating more and more with the security component.

Now I can present the first working bundle.

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Today I wanted to share my latest development of authenticating with Facebook using Symfony2. But while it now finally works as expected it is not ready yet to be published.. so check back here tomorrow.

Meanwhile I want to share a link and infographic with you about online marketing that puts things in perspective and can help to understand the flow of requirements but also to get you in a position where you can be a good adviser to your client.

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If you want to develop a Facebook application that runs within the Facebook frame you want to write a canvas app. The first thing you will want to do is to allow your user to authenticate and authorize your app.

There are two documented ways to do that: client side using Javascript and server side with whatever language you choose.

Only that a pure server side solution simply doesn’t work..

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Symfony2 offers a lot of things. The most prominent feature being the level of freedom it gives to the developers to structure their code as they need it.

When coding with Symfony2 and Doctrine 2.0 though I often get the feeling of not knowing what to do with this freedom and I already heard voices of fellow symfonians to wish a bit of that old magic and restriction of symfony 1 back. Bluntly put: if a framework doesn’t decide anything for you – where’s the benefit?

If you have a history of seeing a rant where none is indended you can stop reading here.

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When you start a new online project you often start with an idea of a service that simply “should exist”. As a developer you might concentrate on the user experience and functionality but when you want to get going you will often need content of some sorts. Videos, texts, images.

But often you are not equipped to actually produce any content so you need to get it somewhere else and eventually you will be faced with copy rights.

If you develop for a Facebook application: think again!

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Being a Facebook application developer you’ll be amazed how busy you will be kept not by your requirements but by Facebook itself.

Not only is their Graph API not too well documented and sometimes inconsistent (compare attaching a picture to a status message or an event) but the also restrict the use of it in some cases.

For a little app I needed a picture to add to an event, so I used the Graph API to search for an image, got one and used it. Using the same picture in a status message though doesn’t work..

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Following yesterdays post as well as Ryans comment I want to try to  get closer to the bottom of the business value of a software.

To answer this I think one has to understand the effects a software – a framework in this particular post – can have on the business.

Let’s examine.

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Apr/11

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The business value of a software

Most of us will have chosen a software to work with before. The language we code in, the framework we use, the application we extend and so on.

Many – including myself – will have done this by judging its technical parameters as well as throwing in some gut feeling.

But from a business perspective those parameters aren’t very meaningful. In the end the decision has to pay off in money.

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Facebook application developers will be familiar with the Graph API as well as the official (and working but still a little outdated) PHP-SDK.

What many of those developers seem to be unaware of is the possibility to bundle multiple Graph API requests into one single batch.

Unfortunately the official documentation uses raw cURL and does not document how this can be done with the SDK.

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