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Facebook Apps Development 101 (Java)
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Facebook Apps Development 101 (Java)


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Thinking of developing your very own Facebook Apps? Here is a basic guide to start and get to know the important elements of a Facebook application. (Samples are in Java)

Thinking of developing your very own Facebook Apps? Here is a basic guide to start and get to know the important elements of a Facebook application. (Samples are in Java)

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    • 1. Facebook Apps Dev 101
      Damon Widjaja
    • 2. Facebook Apps Basic
      Integrate web applications with core Facebook Experience
      Example: getting user information and posting to wall
      Benefit? A powerful and cost effective measures for one's product/service to gain exposure (i.e. user engagement, viral effect)
    • 3. Getting Started
      Step 1: Registering application
      Step 2: Setting-up application
      Step 3: Authorizing application
      Step 4: Accessing user information
      Step 5: Interacting with Facebook
    • 4. Step 1: Registering Application
      Add Facebook develop apps @
      Verify Facebook account (Mobile phone or credit card)
      Create your application!
      Get a unique application ID and secret
    • 5. Here we go
    • 6. Canvas
      A blank window within Facebook on which to run your application
      Minimum screen size of only 760 px wide
      Type of Canvas:
    • 7. Tiny screen
    • 8. iFramevs FBML
      iFrame Benefits:
      Scalability in the long run (i.e. easy to move to Facebook Connect website)
      Let you use Javascript, HTML, CSS (Ajax anyone?)
      Easy to debug
      FBML Benefits:
      Easy to access Facebook elements
      Faster loads
      Note: FBML might be deprecated
    • 9. Step 2: Setting-up Application - Canvas
      Set your canvas name (Very important!)
      Easy to remember
      Branding perspective
      Set your canvas URL
      Opens in canvas
    • 10. Hello world!
    • 11. Coding time!
      Development environment assumption
      Most tutorials and examples on the web is in PHP
    • 12. Step 3: Authorizing application
      Is it required? No!
      BUT it is necessary to create a personalized user experience (i.e. retrieve user email address, post to wall)
      App creator controls the degree of permissions required during authorization
    • 13. Tell me how?
      Call the following URI on your default index page upon load
      Or, append specific scope parameters,read_stream
    • 14. Add this application
    • 15. Sample code - Part 1
      <script type="text/javascript">
      String uri = "";
      String appId = "12345678910";
      String perms = "email,user_birthday";
      String url = ""+perms+"&client_id=" + appId;
    • 16. Sample code - Part 2
      if (uri != null) {
           try {
                uri =, "UTF-8");
           catch ( e) {
      url = url + "&redirect_uri=" + uri;
      if(url != null) {, "_parent", "");
    • 17. What’s next?
      Have to know fact! Facebook passes user information in the form of signed_requestparameter to the canvas URL
      This signed_requestparameter is a base64url encoded JSON object
      Huh? Simply saying, signed_requesthas to be decoded to be meaningful!
    • 18. Super Secret
    • 19. Why bother?
      Within the encoded signed_requestparameter, lies the very important access_token
      Cool, so what is it for? access_tokenis necessary to gain access to private information granted during authorization
      And oh, Facebook defines the steps to decode signed_request
    • 20. Facebook says
    • 21. Sample code - Part 1
      String accessToken = null;
      String signedRequest = request.getParameter("signed_request");
      if (signedRequest == null || signedRequest.length() == 0) {
           log.error("AUTH ERROR: Facebook signed request is missing");
      int count = 0;
      String payload = null;
    • 22. Sample code - Part 2
      //Break the code using tokenizer
      StringTokenizerst = new StringTokenizer(signedRequest, ".");
      while (st.hasMoreTokens())
         if(count == 1)
                payload = st.nextToken();
    • 23. Sample code - Part 3
      //Decode Base64
      BASE64Decoder decoder = new BASE64Decoder();
      //Replace spe
      payload = payload.replace("-", "+").replace("_", "/").trim();
      //Decode Base64 - payload
      try {
           byte[] decodedPayload = decoder.decodeBuffer(payload);
           payload = new String(decodedPayload, "UTF8");

      catch (IOException e) {
           // TODO Auto-generated catch block
           log.error("ERROR: Unable to perform Base64 Decode");
           return null;
    • 24. Sample code - Part 4
      //JSON Decode - payload
      try {
           JSONObjectpayloadObject = new JSONObject(payload);
           //Parse JSON data
           accessToken = "" + payloadObject.get("oauth_token"); //Retrieve oauth token

      catch (JSONException e) 
           log.error("ERROR: Unable to perform JSON decode");
    • 25. Step 4: Accessing user information
      The simplicity of Graph API
      REST standard, returns data in JSON format
      Try the following
    • 26. Utilizing access token
      Most still returns information without access token
      BUT Data is limited to public information
      Try the following with access token
      WHILE Some strictly requires access token
    • 27. The Java Way
      Easy way to execute Graph API request
      Generic functions supported
      Get the API from
    • 28. Sample code
      FacebookClientfacebookClient = new DefaultFacebookClient(accessToken);
      JsonObjectfbUserJSON = facebookClient.fetchObject("me", JsonObject.class);
      String facebookId = fbUserJSON.getString("id");
      String firstName = fbUserJSON.getString("first_name");
    • 29. Step 5: Interacting with Facebook
      Accessing popular Facebook features
      Client-side scripting using Javascript SDK
      Extensive functionalities: From making Graph API calls to opening Popular Dialogs
    • 30. Popular Dialogs
      Javascriptfunction to trigger commonly used Facebook dialogs
      Post to wall
      Invite friends
      Permission requested during authentication applies here!
    • 31. The familiar pop-up!
    • 32. Sample code - Part 1
      <div id="fb-root"></div>
      <script src=""></script>
          appId  : 'YOUR APP ID',
          status : true, // check login status
          cookie : false, // enable cookies to allow the server to access the session
          xfbml  : true  // parse XFBML
    • 33. Sample code - Part 2
      function postToWall() {
                  method: 'feed',
                  name: ‘FacebookDialogs',
                  link: '',
                  caption: ’Reference Documentation',
                  description: ’Dialogsprovide simple, consistent interface…',
                  message: ’Facebook dialogs are soeasy'
           }, function(response) {
                  if (response && response.post_id) {
                  } else {
                      alert('Uh-oh, something is wrong.');
           return false;
    • 34. Congrats!
      You are now a full-fledge Facebook Apps Developer!
      Why don’t challenge yourself to do the following:
      Create a simple Facebook application that incorporates what we have learnt in this session
      Impress your teacher!
      Claim it at