JFBConnect v8: Social Networking Leveled Up

In April, Facebook started making many changes to their platform to improve privacy for their users. Those initial changes, and the reasons behind them, were detailed in our previous blog post, "Facebook is Changing Quickly. JFBConnect is Ready". We will be releasing an updated version of JFBConnect with an incredible amount of updates on Monday, June 4th. We are highly recommending all users upgrade to the latest release to ensure social networking continues functioning on your site.

Due to the amount of changes, we wanted to give a heads up to any administrators on what to be aware of before installation. We want the upgrade process to go as smooth as possible.

Updates and Changes to Prepare For

JFBConnect changed *a lot* under the hood in this release. Below is an overview of the biggest, and most impactful, changes and what you need to be aware of when you upgrade.

Autotune Upgrade

Our automatic configuration tool, Autotune, was introduced in 2014. Since then, it's helped configure more than 10,000 Facebook applications for our users. This release updates Autotune with a new section called "Network Settings". This new feature allows JFBConnect to fetch a continuously updated list of settings for each social network. These settings include available profile fields that can be imported, scopes required for each field, network specific information (like Twitter character counts and available Open Graph object types) and more.

Updating these settings with the click of a button in Autotune means less full updates using new installation files, which should make administration of your site that much simpler.

After you upgrade or install: Go through the entire Autotune process to fetch the latest settings which will allow you to setup profile import, Open Graph settings and other features of JFBConnect.

Profile Import Changes

Facebook has added, changed and removed multiple profile fields. Additionally, more fields have become restricted and require additional approvals from the user for your app to fetch those details.

After you upgrade or install: After running Autotune, go to the JFBConnect -> Profiles section in the admin area and check that profile import is still configured how you want.

Facebook Channel Updates

To prevent abuse, Facebook has made multiple changes to how reading and posting works with Pages, Groups and Users. The following changes have been implemented in JFBConnect to work with this new policy and abilities:

  • Page and Group integration both require new permissions.
    • After you upgrade or install: If you have channels already setup you must go through the authentication process to accept these updated permissions.
  • You can no longer able to post to a Facebook Page as a user, only as the Page itself.
  • You can no longer publish to a User profile.

Facebook Scope Review Changes

The Review process for Facebook has been expanded. This is the process you must go through if you are requesting additional permissions (also called 'scope') from users to use your app. Permissions could be for additional profile data, the ability to read or post to Pages, manage Groups and more. In the Facebook Developer Area, you can see a list of scopes that your app has used recently that are recommended to submit for review.

After you upgrade or install: Submit any scope your app uses for review. Until the review process is complete by Facebook, your app will not be able to request those permissions from users on your site.

Open Graph Updates

Facebook no longer allows custom Open Graph objects. After you run the new Autotune - Network Settings tool, JFBConnect will show the current list of supported objects while editing or creating new Objects in the Social Meta configuration area.

Open Graph Actions were deprecated by Facebook a while back. With the latest changes, they have effectively removed all Open Graph Action functionality. Because of this, JFBConnect has removed the ability to configure Open Graph Actions, the Open Graph Action widget and anything else related to Open Graph Actions.

After you upgrade or install:

  • If you have Objects setup in the Social Meta area, double check that the "Type" is set properly and that the open graph tags are set on your page as expected.
  • If you used Open Graph Actions, check that the features you had setup are properly disabled and the removal does not impact the use of your site negatively.

Google Authentication

In addition to Facebook, we've upgraded the Google authentication login integration to use the latest available Google API. The new API provides a common interface for logging into many of Google's different products (Gmail, Google Suite, etc), which means more Google users should be able to authenticate on your site without issue. However, the profile names for some fields have changed, been updated or been removed.

After you upgrade or install: After running the Autotune - Network Settings tool, go to the JFBConnect -> Profiles admin area and ensure the profile import details for Google is setup properly. Double check that authentication on the front-end using Google works as expected.

Detailed Changes

The Changelog for this release is extensive. We highly recommend looking over the entire log to determine if some changes affect you. If you have any questions, as always, don't hesitate to contact us through our forums or Contact Us page.


Alex Andreae

Alex co-founded SourceCoast Web Development in 2008. Based in sunny Florida, SourceCoast develops extensions for integrating your Joomla powered website with popular social networks. He has spoken at more than a dozen Joomla User Groups and Joomla Days, including the Joomla World Conference in both 2012 and 2013. Topics have included social networking for Joomla, running a business around Joomla extensions, and Joomla development.

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