Hey, did you know you could post your blog in a Facebook page and benefit from all of Facebook’s social bells and whistles without even installing a single plugin?
All you need to do is to get a free Facebook Application ID, create a Facebook “Fan page”, configure the Facebook app to grab a page from your blog, smack it onto a custom tab in the Fan page and bingo!
Let’s review in detail how this works step-by-step…
1 – Log into your personal Facebook account and connect to the “developer” app
If you don’t have one, now is the time to create a Facebook account! This account will be your developer’s account, and it needs to be the same account that you will use to create the blog “Fan page” inside Facebook. Otherwise Facebook won’t allow you to connect your custom “blog displaying app” with your “fan page”, except if you make your app public. Which it doesn’t need to be.
Now at the very bottom of the page, click on the “developers” link.
If it’s the first time you go there, you will be asked to grant access to the “developer app” to your account. Accept, and then click on the “Start now” green button in the upper-right corner of the page.
Click right away on the “Go to the Facebook Developer App” link.
Save this page as a bookmark, because you may have to come back here often and it seems there’s no link provided anywhere else in the Facebook interface.
2 – Create a new Facebook application
Click on the “Setup new application” button.
Choose a useful name for your application (like your blog’s name), and agree to the Facebook terms, then click “Save changes”.
You can fill up the optional information fields in the “Basic” settings tab, but don’t worry too much about those, they’re not mandatory and everything will work fine if you leave it blank. Your “blog displaying” app is not meant to get public anyways.
Click on the “Authentication” tab on the left, and check the Installable to… “FacebookPages” option. This is important.
Next click on the “Profiles” tab on the left, and choose a “tab name” that will be displayed on your Fan page. Make it short and meaningful: your blog content will appear under this tab name in your page.
Now you should switch to the “Canvas” tab on the left. Choose a Facebook “Canvas Page URL”. Again this is an internal name that won’t be displayed to the public, so choose whatever simple name you like (use only lowercase letters).
Now is time to make the single important choice in your configuration, which is decide the page URL of your blog that you will use to serve a stripped-down version of your blog appropriate for displaying inside Facebook.
For the following of this tutorial, let’s decide the Facebook blog page will be served from:
The important point to remember here is that it’s probably good practice to choose a second-level URL, because Facebook will try to use two levels of URL directories to interact with your blog.
So in our example, Facebook will send http requests to both:
Only the second page url however needs to return something meaningful to Facebook. The first one should preferably display a blank page.
We’ll see how to achieve this in a moment.
Fill in the “Canvas Callback URL” field with the first-level blog page URL. In our example this will be:
Now go back to the left-side “Profiles” configuration tab and fill in the “Tab url” field so as to complete the second-level blog page URL mentioned before. In our example this will be:
So that the full “Tab URL” now reads:
Click on the “Save changes” button on the bottom of the page… your Facebook apps’ configuration is now over! – You’ll be able to come back to this confguration settings anytime later if you want to fill-up more optional fields to beef-up your app.
Continued on page 2…