GrandCentral Facebook App

Well, I took advantage of a low-hanging fruit, and wrote my first public Facebook app yesterday. My Picasaweb app is still in the works, but this appeared to be a bit more simple, as I would only have to deal with the Facebook API on this one, rather than the Google API as well. The concept is simple – you copy the code generated from your “Call Me” button generated from GrandCentral into a text box after you add the App to Facebook. The app then converts that embeded swf into FBML and sends it to your Facebook Profile for others to see.

The app itself wasn’t that hard once I got over the learning curve. The basics of the Facebook API are to generate a session key with canvas->validate_sig(), and then pull the session key parameter from the returned parameter hash to be passed through forms, used in a cookie, etc. Then on every page you need to access Facebook data (such as sending fbml to the user’s profile) you just run session_key(), passing in your session key you retrieved with validate_sig() on the entry page.

I also used this app as an opportunity to learn Perl’s Catalyst Framework, the Ruby on Rails of Perl. I will definitely be using this more in my web apps in the future – maybe even in some of my non-web apps (one advantage it has over RoR – it’s very flexible). The basics were I just run a simple command to create the basic Catalyst framework files and libs, then create my Database Model files and run a command to generate the libraries for that, including DBIx::Class ties. Then I just create my Controller libraries with a simple command, and then my TTSite (Template Toolkit libraries and files) libraries with another command. I’m then free to edit and write as I please, and it forces the code into a modularized structure. I used Perl’s WWW::Facebook::API libraries to access the Facebook API – once I figured out the session stuff everything else was very easy.

The one quirk I’m still trying to get around is Facebook forces you to click on an swf before it gets activated when it’s on a user’s Profile page. You’re supposed to be able to display an image in it’s place, but I’ve only been able to get that to work on the Canvas pages. The tag for that is , btw. I think I’m going to sniff httpd to see what that swf is doing behind the scenes to see if I can find a non-swf way of doing the call me button.

If anyone has issues in particular with either the GrandCentral App or WWW::Facebook::API, feel free to list your questions below. Also, please add my app and give comments! The url is:

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Jesse Stay has been a pioneer in the space of social media marketing since before it was called "social media marketing". Originally a software developer, Jesse built a tool called which helped brands like Pepsi, Brittany Spears, and MC Hammer grow their social media presence, and before he knew it brands were coming to him for help to grow their presence in very unique ways. His tool was featured on almost every tech blog and even mainstream news sites like New York Times, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Jesse also spent a brief period working FOR Facebook, Inc., helping them to build out their documentation to help companies integrate Facebook Connect into their websites and mobile apps. Jesse took his skills and helped the LDS Church kick off most of its social media programs. While there he helped launch the award-winning "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign with global reach worldwide in the millions of views and followers. Jesse established new global programs at the Church to further grow its reach amongst both members and non-members of the Church, working with every department of the Church, also including entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brigham Young University. He also helped the Church navigate its voice and presence during the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign due to the significant attention the Church was getting at the time. He established the social media advertising techniques and strategies employed at Deseret Digital Media growing over 20 million fans across their news properties in just 6 months, and was featured on AdWeek for his success. As founder and Principal of Stay N Alive, Jesse has developed very unique techniques in social media advertising to help organizations grow presences, within months on minimal budgets, into hundreds of thousands of highly relevant and engaging fans and followers. He designed and teaches social media advertising at LDS Business College. He has helped grow sales, and has a belief that yes, you CAN measure social! Jesse has been featured as one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter (next to Biz Stone and Ev Williams, founders of Twitter) by Entrepreneur magazine. Jesse has written 9 books on the topic of social media marketing and development, including Google+ Marketing For Dummies and Facebook All In One For Dummies, and eats, lives, and drinks social media with a personal combined presence of over 600,000 followers on his personal social profiles.

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