Experiments with Facebook iframe Tabs, Facebook Tab Manager WordPress Plugin

I’ve been doing a bunch of experiments with the new Facebook iframe page tabs and have cooked up a Facebook Tab Manager plugin for WordPress, which works pretty well. This plugin lets you compose and edit content for your a tab to appear on your Facebook business page (or campaign page or nonprofit page) from within WordPress. I use custom post types to treat Facebook tabs a just another kind of post, and the content can be integrated with other plugins using WordPress Shortcodes.

The content is displayed in a very simple template with none of your site’s normal navigation, etc. That makes it easier to make it fit into a Facebook layout. I provide some default styles, but you can also add custom CSS on a per post (or per tab) basis.

You can see an example iframe Facebook tab at http://www.facebook.com/carrcomm?sk=app_188292324537166

As part of some promotional work I’ve been doing with cloud database company Caspio Inc., I’ve also created custom tabs you can see on the Caspio Facebook page and ExpressDB Facebook page. These demonstrate how data entry forms and database reports from Caspio’s online database products can be embedded in a Facebook page.

Overall, I’m finding that these iframe based tabs are much easier to work with. Previously, page tags had to be coded in FBML (the Facebook Markup Language). Now Facebook is phasing out FBML in favor of XFBML, a version of the language you can embed in any web page, which works in combination with the Facebook JavaScript SDK. XFBML can also be used within an iframe page.

Using the full set of Facebook APIs, it’s possible to do much fancier things than I’ve attempted so far. But I’m happy to see that I can also do relatively simple things easily.

Caspio Deploy2 Plugin Published

A new WordPress plugin for integration with the Caspio online database is now available at:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/caspio-deploy2/

I reviewed the previous plugin the company had published and was able to recommend a better way of implementing it, using WordPress shortcodes. Here’s a summary:

Caspio is an online database featuring web-based tools for designing database tables, forms, reports, charts and graphs, and more complicated applications like store locators with Google Maps mashups. Applications can be created without programming, and embedding them in your website is as easy as copying and pasting a code snippet.

The Caspio Deploy2 plugin enables ShortCode placeholders that further streamline the deployment of Caspio applications. The shortcodes can be used for SEO deployment of content, as well as embedding the AJAX widget used to display Caspio forms. Caspio Deploy2 replaces the earlier Caspio Deployment Control plugin (which did not use shortcodes).

The [caspio] shortcode can be wrapped around the standard block of code generated by Caspio Bridge for SEO Deployment. You should toggle from the Visual to HTML mode of the WordPress editor before pasting in the block of code, but it will work even if you paste the code into the Visual editor.

Example:
[caspio]
<!– Begin Caspio Deploy Code (for inserting in body) –>
<?php require_once(‘http://b4.caspio.com/scripts/dpload.txt’);dpload(‘http://b4.caspio.com/’,’5F422000c3f2d8h4d3c9f4b9g9e0′,’l’);?>
<!– End Caspio Deploy Code –>
[/caspio]
Alternatively, you can cut out everything except the parameters for the dpload function (make sure to include the quotes around each parameter):

[caspio]
‘http://b4.caspio.com/’,’5F422000c3f2d8h4d3c9f4b9g9e0′,’l’
[/caspio]
Or the parameters from the dpload function can be embedded in the shortcode tag as follows:
[caspio url=”http://b4.caspio.com/” key=”5F422000c3f2d8h4d3c9f4b9g9e0″ style=”l”]
For Caspio application deployment in embedded mode, you can use this shortcode placeholder which will be replaced at runtime with the standard Caspio JavaScript widget. This lets you avoid having the JavaScript code scrambled by the WordPress editor in Visual mode.
[caspio embed=”https://b4.caspio.com” key=”5F422000i9f9a0h4e2i7c9g6c9c3″]
In order to deploy Caspio Bridge SEO DataPage in WordPress, you must have:

  • Caspio Bridge account with activated SEO deployment and properly configured DataPage
  • Installed and activated the Caspio Deploy2 plugin for WordPress.

For information about Caspio Bridge see the Caspio official site at http://www.caspio.com

Just Launched: votemarkmarciano.com

We just launched votemarkmarciano.com for Mark Marciano, candidate for Florida House District 83. This is our the first Carr Communications client website to launch on the WordPress content management platform. Features my custom plug-ins for event management, RSVPs, volunteer sign-ups, and PayPal donations. I’ve been delighted to find out how easy it is to extend the WordPress environment, while still taking advantage of all its standard features and popular plug-ins such as Sociable for cross-promoting website content via email and social networks.

The blog portion of the website is actually not active right now, but I’m using WordPress to manage the home page, bio, events calendar, and other content. The blog will follow as the campaign begins to make news.

The design will probably change, but here’s what it looked like on Day 1

Launch day version: votemarkmarciano.com