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Facebook Comments are Coming…

As you have probably already figured out, we’ve been working a lot on improving existing and adding new Facebook integration functionality into ProPhoto4. The last big thing on our list for this round of development is built-in Facebook comments.

We’ll probably have a first-pass of Facebook comments integration ready to push in our next auto-update, probably about 2 weeks away. Straightforward integration of Facebook comments is trivial from a development standpoint — I implemented Facebook comments on this blog this morning in about 15 minutes. (So, scroll down and leave a comment through Facebook if you’re logged in!) What makes building Facebook comments for P4 not so easy figuring out the best way to handle two tricky issues:

Tricky issue #1 – Syncing Facebook comments with WordPress

Comments left via Facebook comments actually live and reside on Facebook, not your website. So, to do Facebook comments the right way, we need to make sure that any comments on your posts created through Facebook also get imported into your WordPress database. There are two reasons for this:

  • if you ever want to stop using Facebook comments, you will want to keep all of the comments left on Facebook and display them as normal WordPress comments
  • Google doesn’t read Facebook comments, so we need to have the comments in WordPress so we can use some trickeration to show Google the comments so that they get indexed

Thankfully, Facebook does provide a couple of ways to programmatically read comments from their API so we can insert them behind the scenes into the WordPress database. We’re just working on the smartest way to do this to ensure a more-or-less accurate sync with WordPress without slowing down your site page loads with expensive calls to the Facebook external API service. When we do push the update with Facebook comments, I’ll be able to share more about how decided to go about keeping your WordPress comments in sync with comments added through Facebook.

Tricky issue #2 – Dealing with old comments

The other tricky thing we need to do a good job handling is old comments – comments posted on your blog posts before you started using Facebook comments.

If you’re like a lot of ProPhoto users, you might have several years of blog posts with comments. If you opt to turn on Facebook comments, you probably want to keep displaying those comments. Unfortunately, there is no way to push comments created outside of Facebook into Facebook, so we can’t turn your old non-Facebook comments magically into Facebook comments.

So, we have a couple of options of how we could handle comments from old posts:

  • Option 1: we could just not show your old comments and replace them with an empty area for adding new Facebook comments
  • Option 2: we could use only the WordPress commenting system on old posts created before you started using Facebook comments
  • Option 3: for older posts with non-Facebook comments, we could mix old WordPress comments with new Facebook comments, showing the pre-Facebook comments in WordPress-style, but allowing for and showing new Facebook comments as well
  • Option 4: we could implement options 1 – 3 and let the user choose which method they would like for handling old comments
  • Option 5: you could tell us in the comments area below a different idea you have of how you would prefer this to be handled

Please weigh in by commenting through Facebook below and give us your input!

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