Arman's stuff
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Stupid Unhelpful API

(Tue Jul 13 00:47:23 2010)

Better functions? Yes. Simple? Not a chance.

I might be happier if I could actually get a single example to work, but unfortunately, there isn't one. Not even part of one. Oh, there's a solitary PHP script for login, but it doesn't work at all. Well, probably - I can't seem to get it to work in Opera or Konqueror on my own machine, and there's no chance of testing them at work - Facebook is blocked (for good reason!). Irritatingly enough, the script worked once on my phone. Sigh... I'm really getting fed up with it.

Then again, part of the reason I'm getting fed up with it is that I'm not a social person. I've spent days not seeing another human being, and didn't even notice. Now, of course, I've got a wife and kids and a job and all sorts of human-interaction-requiring obligations, but I've managed to keep my social life to a bare minimum anyway. Well, until yesterday, at least. Now, I've got people sending me friend requests lefts and right; old homeschool friends, church friends, college friends, not to mention family (and I've got a lot of family!). I'm... rather overwhelmed. And I've not even talked with most of these people!

Anyway, back to programming - the Facebook API is pretty simple - or so it seems. The pages describing it are laid out well, and the information they provide is simple and easy to understand fully. The trouble starts when you get past that first page of "guess what you can do!" and into... well, nothing. There are a lot of pages, but the step between "here's a simple sentence" and "So your fully-formed PHP web application will access things through this..." is a big one. I'm not asking for a hold-my-hand, step-by-step walk-through; I'm just asking for those two (or twenty) steps between 1 and "done".

I figured I'd start with the most useful piece first - really, the only piece I need - the Facebook login. It seems, by reading this page here that it's as simple as copying a bit of javascript and a little link thingy into your page, and you're set; then again, the next paragraph goes on to say that it's not really that simple. Even so, it's only a little more complicated, in a nice granular way that lets me know what's going on. I appreciate that, and find it useful. They were even so helpful as to provide you with a complete PHP page to test it out with.

And it doesn't work.

As noted above, I've tried it (actually, I've worked on it close to 5 hours now), and I've got nothing. Not even a tiny scrap of useful working-ness. ARGG!! It's seriously getting on my nerves, and cutting into my sleep. I wouldn't be so perturbed if I could get *something* working, but there's such a huge gap between the "easy way" and the "hard way" (and so much detail missing from each) that it's nigh-on impossible to figure out. I know I'm doing something wrong, but I can't figure out what it is - frankly, I don't want my site to be an app, I just want to use the login. I don't want or need all the useless information that goes along with making an app - icons, images, blurbs and developer email addresses are all useless when all it's going to do is log you in to a website.

I gotta give this a rest, but it's hard putting down something that is this blasted annoying without finding anything conclusive... I know it's because I can't find the right help articles, but have you ever tried Googling anything beyond "Facebook API"? It's a nightmare! "Facebook login API howto" gets me... a lot of links back to that page above. Pretty useless.

I know what the trouble is in me - I'm looking for the solid definition of commands, and that's just not how it's done any more. I don't want to know the Perl way, or the PHP way, or the Facebook way. All I want to know is what string of text do I send what address to get results. It's like a cookbook that gives you a list of ingredients that you don't understand, because it's all in some obscure dialect. Hen seeds instead of eggs, that sort of thing. The information is there, but it's so buried it's meaningless.

Ok, well, that was a bit more rantish than I intended... I'm off to bed.

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This blag is tagged: Blag, Facebook, Programming, All