Integrating Facebook and WordPress with WPBook

February 4th, 2011 15 Comments

Nice compliment to my "wearing my twitter shirt" shirt.

Back in November, I decided to bite the bullet and open up a Facebook page for us.

Despite my increasing distaste for Facebook, I had two simple goals: 1) Work through the process of building a Facebook presence and integrating it with an existing blog, 2) Make it easier for those of you Facebook junkies to read and comment on our content.

After walking through the process, I’ve decided I should share it because others might find it helpful, and because I want to thank the WordPress plugin developers who have assisted.

And I really want you to like me, on Facebook, and in real life. Please?

Anyway, the functional requirements are simple. Basically, I want to post here and push the post to the AppsLab Page Wall on Facebook. I want to surface likes here and push those to the same Wall post there, and I want likes on the Facebook Wall posts to be reflected here.

And it would really be great if comments on Wall posts would show up on posts here, and I could push replies back to the corresponding Wall post.

Easy peasy, right?

Yeah, no.

After initial frustration with how unintuitive accomplishing the first goal was, I bookmarked it for another day or month.

At some point, I know it was possible to import a feed into Facebook via Notes, but that process was woefully undocumented and only worked once. I have on good authority that it used to work and still does for other people, but not for me. Even with this solution, there’s no indication that comments and likes would synchronize.

So, I went in search of WordPress plugins. After all, I know other bloggers have this requirement, so someone must have solved it.

As an aside, this is what I love about open source and WordPress.

Sure enough, there were loads of Facebook plugins. After some trial and error, I settled on two: WPBook and Like.

WPBook (@wpbook), built by John Eckman (@jeckman), does all the heavy lifting. It walks you through creating an application, which I did years ago to enable Disqus’ Facebook Connect integration, setting permissions, synchronizing comments, the whole kit and caboodle. Yes, the setup is painfully detailed, but you’ll be happy when you get it working, trust me.

The one downside is that comments don’t play nicely with Disqus (@disqus); they do get imported into WordPress, but alas, Disqus never sees them. Not much can be done about that, but it’s a small price to pay.

Given the amount of work that has gone into WPBook, I’m surprised it doesn’t touch Facebook likes. So, Like handles the likes, surprise. Not that many of you are liking posts, but liking here, pushes the like to Facebook and vice versa.

Anyway, that’s *all* it took.

Now go forth and read, comment and like the AppsLab on Facebook. And Twitter @theappslab.

I sound like a track from “Idiocracy.”


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15 Responses to “Integrating Facebook and WordPress with WPBook”

  1. Tweets that mention Integrating Facebook and WordPress with WPBook | The AppsLab -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jake Kuramoto, Abdul Jaleel K.K. Abdul Jaleel K.K said: Integrating Facebook and WordPress with WPBook http://bit.ly/gCVomj [...]

  2. oraclebase Says:

    Wimp. You should have ditched your WP blog and moved all your blogging to Facebook. Afterall, Facebook is the internet! :)

  3. Jake Says:

    Oh but I have. This is an iFrame of Facebook with the branding cleverly removed. You like?

  4. Stephen Phillips Says:

    For what it is worth, I have started using FT FacePress II (http://knoxwebdev.com/facepress-ii/). My requirements though are to simply post a link to blog posts on my wall. My only thing about Facebook is that I wish they had channels. I have my blog (http://digitaleagle.net) split into three parts/blogs for three different audiences. i wish I could do the same with my facebook wall. Then, my friends could decide whether or not they want to “listen” to my “nerd” talk, my family updates, etc. individually.

  5. Jake Says:

    Interesting. Do you find many people click through on the links? From what I’ve heard, you need to push the content too; people are lazy. Re. channels, why not create pages for each channel? Frighteningly, the ability to start a fan page is a now a skill you’ll find on job descriptions, believe it or not. So, it could be practice :)

  6. Stephen Phillips Says:

    Jake, I meant to reply to this comment a while ago, but then, I got sick and have been just in survive mode. I have had a few people click through on the links — I am not sure my Uncle would have seen my blog and added some helpful comments without the Facebook link. I think you can control what the link looks like in Facebook and how much of the content you display with the settings on the tool. The problem is that what I post on my blogs is usually too much for a Facebook wall post.

    I really like your thought about the fan page for each channel. I haven’t messed with the pages at all — I will have to try that. I guess I have to if it is a need on my resume!

    The readers are lazy, but I have trouble with this writer being lazy! I need one place to write the content so that it shows in all the favorite avenues of all my readers. I do good to post to the blog much less keep up with Facebook and Buzz and all my feeds.

  7. Jake Says:

    Hope you’re recovering. I’ve set up the blog as the center of the publishing universe, i.e. it pushes to Twitter and to Facebook now. The fan page is a weird animal, but worth learning, JIC ;)

    WP Book pushes an excerpt of the post with the link, so not too bad. My next goal is to collect all the comments somehow. WP Book isn’t working with Disqus. The comments come back into WordPress, but Disqus doesn’t see them. Twitter is a whole different animal.

  8. BandonRandon Says:

    Disclosure: I am one of the developers for WPBook.

    I just wanted to say thanks for the review. I also wanted to let you know that today John pushed 2.1 Beta 1 into the repo. It still needs testing, and you’re welcome to help, however, this version integrates FB “Like” into WPBook. Find out more about 2.1 here http://www.openparenthesis.org/2011/03/06/wpbook-2-1-beta-open-graph-api-oauth

    I also wanted to let you know you *should* (I haven’t tried) be able to insert the Disqus code into your WPBook theme and then turn comments off inside the WPBook settings.

    Thanks again for the kind review.

  9. Jake Says:

    Awesome. I’ll check out the 2.1 beta and consider testing it. Keep up the great work.

  10. Jody Howard Says:

    I’m having a similar problem to that mentioned above. When someone comments on a post on facebook, it gets sent back to WordPress via wpbook, but the comment doesn’t sync to Disqus. Any way of fixing this? (I see it as a disqus problem more than a WPbook problem, but still…

  11. Jake Says:

    I haven’t found a fix yet, haven’t looked very hard though. I agree, it looks like a Disqus issue. Seems like Disqus should pick up the WP comment. Who knows though. Have you tried hitting them up on Twitter? They’re very responsive.

  12. Ingrid Says:

    I am just wrote the concept for a blog and my website will be completely integrated into WordPress. I also plan to do the facebook thing and found wpbook. But I planned my website and blog without the overview page with excerpts. That means that I can only push the whole article to facebook instead of excerpts. Now I am concerned about the duplicate content problem. If google discovers the duplicate content on facebook my website will be set back to unknown. Does anyone have a solution?

  13. Jake Says:

    You should head over to the WPBook forums to get answers your questions: http://wordpress.org/tags/wpbook?forum_id=10

  14. martcol Says:

    I’m a novice web builder, love WP and loathe FB. Still, I think that FB is huge and clever and it serves the sites I build to integrate. I found WPbook pretty easy to install and set up with a few niggles. It also helped me set up a FB app so I’m grateful for that too. I give WPbook a thumbs up.

  15. Jake Says:

    So you “Like” WPBook :) I’m in the same camp, loathe FB, love WP. Too bad an FB page is necessity, like AOL keywords used to be. Let’s hope they end up in the deadpool together, with the open web triumphing.

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