Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Facebook At Arms Length

DSC09344I’ve been receiving constant reminders about how Graph API v1.0 apps must upgrade to v2.0. There’s just 53 days left now. Time to sit down to find out why this problem exists. I’m using the official Facebook plugin in my blog, after all. What do I find? A big surprise. It seems Facebook has abandoned their own official WordPress plugin too.

Such is the nature of the Internet, the cloud, and cloud services. I can appreciate that sometimes it’s easier to break an API than try to salvage a broken one. That something is easier doesn’t make it a better thing to do. But, sure, sometimes it is better to move forward.

Then, what about abandoning support for something, like a product or platform, altogether? Like, in this case, since I don’t want the hassle of writing my own apps and dealing with API versions myself, it seems like a good thing to simply use an official plugin. Again, it is understandable to abandon a product or platform if it is so outdated that it makes little sense to spend time and effort on it. However, surely WordPress doesn’t could as something outdated or obsolete?

There’s no point to continue sticking with an abandoned plugin. Particularly when it is Facebook themselves who are abandoning their own plugin. In fact, I’m wondering if there’s any point in continuing the same level of Facebook integration.

Prior to today, there were two chief features I used:

  • Automatic sharing of new blog posts to my Facebook page.
  • Facebook comment box on posts, instead of WordPress’ own commenting system.

There are also minor things like, for example, the Facebook likes on posts. The above two, though, are the main ones.

Now, there are a bunch of other Facebook related plugins available for WordPress. Every one, at least those I’ve checked out, doesn’t seem to do something right for me. I ended up looking at Jetpack. I’ve looked at Jetpack before, but I didn’t like their dependency on WordPress.com. I also don’t like how it is a huge plugin that tries to do everything. However, my options are fewer now, so I’ve got to weigh the pros and cons of each solution.

For now, it seems I’ll go with Jetpack. It offers a commenting system that supports Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and WordPress.com accounts. Commenters can decline to login too, and just enter email and name, like how the built-in WordPress commenting system handles things. Yes, it means I may have to deal with more spammy comments now, though thankfully Akismet has helped lots, with 55,543 spams blocked in the last 6 months. On the bright side, the comments display can be styled the my blog was designed. Previously, the Facebook comment box had its own style.

So from today, you’ll see some changes here. The only user-facing change is the commenting system. The per-post Facebook like button is also gone, though I’m still undecided if I should resurrect it at some other time. In its place, there’s now a bunch of social media share buttons provided by Jetpack.

In other news… oh well, I have a bunch of backlogged product reviews. Stay tuned.

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