Sunday, 5 September 2010

facebrick: end of the line for me

Hi,

As many of you might have noticed in recent times, facebrick has ceased to work. This is (obviously) unfortunate, but mostly out of my control. I have attempted to look into this, without any luck, and at this point, I've decided to make it public that I have no desire to further work on Facebrick.

Facebook seem to have changed something on their API, which has caused Facebrick to cease to function, with an error about invalid source IP on the client end (but this is actually misleading: the real problem is that the session proxy appears to no longer work, constantly returning error 100 - invalid parameter).

Now, the why of why I no longer want to work on Facebrick:

  • I no longer (really) use Facebook as often as I did

    I consider other services like Twitter to be (mostly) better oriented towards the way I used Facebook, and they are also much less woeful at trying to make my private data public
  • As a result of the above, I no longer really use Facebrick

    I have been helping brik to keep writing code under GSOC and afterwards, but I haven't really done any development of my own for quite some time.

    This has partly been a result of time constraints (so much to do, so little time) - but a lot of it is simply that I don't use Facebook any more, and hence, have no need or desire to write a Facebook client for mobile usage.
  • Facebook's developer documentation is woeful

    This was bad when I initially started writing Facebrick, but now it's gotten rather critical. Facebrick needs to use what is called a 'session proxy' to talk to Facebook, yet Facebook's example doesn't actually work. (How they expect a third party to squeeze gold from a pile of crap is beyond me...) - see http://wiki.developers.facebook.com/index.php/Session_Proxy

    I (and many others) rolled our own session proxies (for example, http://www.n8gray.org/blog/2010/06/09/a-simple-facebook-session-proxy-for-google-app-engine/) - however, theirs, like mine, all seem to no longer function.

    This bad attitude towards documentation is also evident in things like occasional references to svn.facebook.com, which (helpfully!) stopped existing a long time ago, possibly replaced by github.com/facebook (but none of the documentation will mention that), and likewise, none of the documentation will tell you that the PHP SDK available there is nowhere near the original PHP Facebook API, etc.


I'd like to stress that this has nothing at all to do with my lack of desire to support MaemoMeeGo, it's purely related to the above (my frustrations with Facebook's closed mindedness and bad documentation, however, being the straw that has broken the camel's back). I still use my N900 and am as happy as ever with it.

I'm open to continuing to host the server end of Facebrick, if anyone can get it working again. If you'd like to help, your best bet is to join in the forums thread.

8 comments:

  1. Robin, thank you for your effort so far, it's a great app! Despite FB's antics.

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  2. This sort of thing is a shame, but I don't blame you.

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  3. Thank you a lot for all the effort :)

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  4. I've uninstalled Facebrick and re-installed it. In the install details it includes the libqfacebook 0.1.3-2 plugin necessary and I can confirm that Facebrick now works!!!!

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  5. Likewise, with the new libqfacebook library facebrick works.

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  6. thank you for your effort on the facebrick , it helps me a lot , angel Robin!

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  7. Now that libqfacebook has been updated and facebrick works again, would you consider to continue improving facebrick?
    Thanks a lot.

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