Working Sample Site(s) and docs

Aug 31, 2008 at 8:40 PM
Does anyone have the FBML canvas sample sites fully functional (preferably in VB)?  If so, could you share?

I prefer VB but have tried both the C# and VB sample sites, but regardless of whichever one I set up, I get errors with the setInfo and in other areas just running it out of the box.  I'm trying to start a new project and none of the Facebook ASP libraries seem to be functional (FB Dev Toolkit, FBAsync, FB.Net, etc...), at least not in the latest changes made by Facebook about a month ago, and none seem to be adequately documented - FB Dev Toolkit seems slightly above but it's just got an extremely short getting started guide with duplicate content and some autogenerated documentation which doesn't help very much.  Is there another resource for the FB Dev Toolkit I'm missing somewhere?

Sep 4, 2008 at 2:34 PM
Edited Sep 4, 2008 at 2:39 PM
The latest release of the facebook dev toolkit contains support for the new methods facebook implimented recently. however, the getting started guide was not updated with this release.

As far as I can see though, the FBML canvas example included with the source code is using the latest release, and as such may be a good example for you to look at. Documentation for this release is provided via sandcastle, if you look in the source/doc folder. The included FacebookToolkit.chm seems to be out of date though, so you may need to complile it yourself.

Could do with an up to date copy of the autogenerated docs online somewhere for those of us who cant compile the project for various reasons.

But yes, it's lacking documentation as you've said. 
Sep 4, 2008 at 3:06 PM
So you've been successful in building an actual working site using the new Facebook API and the current release of the Facebook Dev Toolkit as it is?  The samples won't even run for me as they are (either C# or VB), and the set_info method sends the wrong format.  Do you have code or insight/advice you can share?
Sep 4, 2008 at 3:27 PM
Yes... well, perhaps no. Having installed VS web developer express today (as my employer doesnt yet have VS 2008) I've managed to successfully build the "FBMLCanvasSample" app. I say build, it builds with no errors, but I've not set it up proper on facebook and tested it!

You'll need to edit the references in the facebook, facebook.web and FBMLCanvasSample projects, and add the dll Microsoft.Xml.Schema.Linq which can be found in the bin download of the latest release. 

I think the set_info method is listed in the issue tracker 

I have an old app using version 1.7 of the api I need to update, but a lot of the method calls and auth processes have changed, still getting my head around it to be honest.

I've not generated the docs using sandcastle either, may try that next week.
Sep 4, 2008 at 5:52 PM
Yes, I can build it without any problem as well, but it won't actually run correctly in facebook.  Home.aspx won't load due to the parameters for set_info being built incorrectly for the current Facebook API.
Sep 4, 2008 at 6:00 PM
Edited Sep 4, 2008 at 6:14 PM
I almost can't believe someone got this thing to build!  I get 1370 build errors right out of the gate.  If someone has managed to get it to build, I sure would appreciate a link to the source files which will actually build.  I'm getting frustrated trying to use a library with no working examples.  I'd would also love to see this thing working through facebook.  Has anyone added the sample apps to facebook?
Sep 4, 2008 at 6:20 PM
Okay, I'm looking at this closer and most of my errors are revolving around the LinqToXsd.  I found Microsoft.Xml.Schema.Linq.dll in the "bin" folder and added references to both the facebook & facebook.web projects.  I'm still getting 1331 build errors and they all look to be related to LinqToXsd ... any ideas?
Sep 4, 2008 at 6:22 PM
Wel, here's how far I got, and how I got there...

I just took the latest, added the reference to the Linq dll (not sure why the developers decided to introduce that as opposed to simply making it work against the new API first...) then I added my App Key and Secret.  Then I published it.  From there I was able to get some pages to load in Facebook (using the FBMLCanvas sample).  The home and setup weren't working for me due to errors.  That's about all I've been able to do with it.   

Given that MS dumped money into Facebook, and this was their officially sanctioned library for .Net usage on Facebook, I would have expected them to dump some resources toward getting this at least funcional against the new API.  It's been a month now and it's not even usable.  I know the existing developers got caught slightly off guard as did everyone, but PHP developers aren't experiencing these sorts of issues.  In some ways it just seems like a personal side project someone is handling in between taking their kids to the pool and grocery shopping, especially with all the Linq stuff added when functionality hasn't even been met.  I guess I'm just confused - is this just someone's side project now or is Clarity still in charge of it and if so, why aren't the appropriate resources being dedicated to it?  

The Codeplex homepage says:

"Clarity Consulting Inc. developed the original Facebook Developer Toolkit for the Microsoft Visual Studio Express Team. We have seen great feedback and suggestions for improving the code base. We worked with Microsoft on an idea to keep the code relevant and up to date for all the Facebook Developers. Together we decided that hosting the source here on CodePlex will be the best way to track items and allow community involvement in the source. We encourage everyone to get involved.

We would like to thank Microsoft for the great support they are giving this project, and the effort they are willing to commit to helping us keep the library up to date."

Doesn't seem like much "effort" or "support"...
Sep 4, 2008 at 7:53 PM
Besides the default.aspx the home.aspx file is the only page that actually does anything.  The rest just say TOS, Privacy, Nav, ect...  The default.aspx page runs for me but it doesn't display a darn thing.

Home.aspx.cs references two namespaces that can not be found in the project:
using IFrameSample.util;
using IFrameSample.controls;

You can remove those or whatever but this line (53) is still not going to work:
return Utilities.RenderFBML(typeof(ProfileBox));

Hopefully Microsoft will take over this project soon... it sure doesn't seem like claritycon is making this project any kind of priority.  I'd like to know how many developers they have working on this, one or two?

I've come to the conclusion, the samples are almost completely useless.  I wouldn't even try to get them to run.  I used the starter kit I found at the link below.  While it isn't great, I was able to at least get started with it.

Sep 4, 2008 at 10:44 PM
Hi all,

We're setting up to release a final version of the toolkit.  We've hit a few snags in the road that are preventing us from calling it final, but we hope we should be able to package it up in the next week or so.  If you're working with RC2 of the toolkit, we've checked code that should fix many of the bugs you've been fighting with.  Please get the latest code from here:

With regard to documentation, the latest from source control should have the latest chm.  Even if it doesn't we're hosting a version of the documentation here:

One of the major goals of this project is to make it easier to for us as developers to move with the rapidly changing api of facebook.  We know there will be growing pains as we go through this restructuring of the code and thank the development community for walking though this with us.

Lastly, I see some good workarounds out there just in these forums.  This project isn't just a Clarity project, or a Microsoft project.  It is a an open source community project where we are (hopefully) just part of the larger developer community developing this toolkit.  That is the exact reason you see this project living on CodePlex, and not a link off of Clarity's or Microsoft's website.  Shoot me an email and I'd be happy to add you guys as developers to help make this toolkit even better.


Sep 5, 2008 at 1:04 AM
Edited Sep 5, 2008 at 1:05 AM
Hi Peter - I've been trying to use the latest code rather than RC2 and the same issues that we've been discussing are still prevalent such as the set_info format that even prevents the sample sites from running.

A lot of the frustration may stem from the fact that there are so few tools for those of us in the .Net world that want to create Facebook apps - there are: a) the Facebook Developers Toolkit; b) Facebook.Net; c) FBAsync; d) the VB Facebook REST Client; and e) a fork of Facebook.Net called FB.Net.  While absolutely NONE are currently functional against the 2.0 API of Facebook, this one was supposed to be the officially sanctioned and blessed library for .Net development against the Facebook API. It's touted by MS, yet it's currently nonfunctional - I've tried RC2 and several iterations of current code. The main page here indicates MS support, but dumping it in Codeplex and slapping an "open source" label on it isn't supporting it and seems to be dumping it in a way. It adds to the frustration to see Linq and major architectural changes thrown in and worked on as opposed to simply making it work against the current API first or even just work period.  While it may make things easier down the road, the Facebook API isn't changing that rapidly so as to completely leave the library unfunctional and unusable for so long in order to use what some may feel are simply new toys the developers want to play with - we're only at version 2.0 of the Facebook API and this was a major roll-out for them, albeit handled incredibly poorly. If you asked any developer that had invested themselves into the Facebook Developer's Toolkit to develop their application, if they'd want Linq thrown in or simply to regain base functionality, I think they'd prioritize it differently.  Does the pending release mean that the current API will be fully supported and the issues with such things as the set_info are going to be resolved as well?  I'm asking since they seem to have fallen by the wayside a bit.

Being unsure of the participation of Clarity at this point, but it seems minimal based on your response, will Clarity be creating actual documentation or will we have the same doc that's just been slightly upgraded from the initial release and the autogenerated file?

All that said, if you're about to release a final functional version in a week, that's great!