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You are here:Home arrow Blog! arrow Some out of the box testing of Joomla Facebook plugins
Some out of the box testing of Joomla Facebook plugins PDF Print
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Just doing some out-of-the box-testing on a few joomla extensions, namely plugins to implement facebook "like this" functionality on Joomla 1.5. There is more to it than just installing an extension because there is some hidden 'extra' stuff that needs to be done under strange-facebook-icon.pngthe hood. This involves implementing open graph functionality that supports the FB 'like'. You can see the FB like plugin working here, top right. To allow the FB look to work properly you need to have various "og" tags defined as follows:

<meta property="og:type" content="website" />
<meta property="og:site_name" content="Lightquick Web Design - High Quality, Low Cost" />
<meta property="og:description" content="Lightquick" />
<meta property="og:title" content="LightQuick Web Design" />
<meta property="og:url" content="http://lightquick.co.uk/lightquick-web-design.html?Itemid=" />
<meta property="og:image" content="http://lightquick.co.uk/images/stories/step1.png" />

These tags define what FB will do with the 'like' when it is presented. If the og:image tag is defined then FB will display the image that you provide, if you don't define it then it will simply take what it can find on your website and that image may not be appropriate. By defining these tags correctly you have the chance to ensure that FB displays the information correctly on each FB link across. There are other og: tags that can be defined, each relaying a pertinent bit of information relating to the subject of the article/page. Other FB tags can be defined that connect your website to a related Facebook API key. This API allows other FB functionality that you might care to implement, such as logging in using a Facebook id. This tag allows the API connection to be identified.

<meta property="fb:app_id" content="284396941601658" />

A site that has Facebook "like this" functionality is signigicantly enhanced if these tags are defined, so you'll need a plugin or two to achieve this. I have written a Joomla 1.0 plugin to do exactly this on this site and a few others and I was prepared to rewrite it in Joomla 1.5 but I didn't really have the time so it was time to have a look at a few pre-done plugins from the JED. A quick out of the box review of a few plugins follows, firstly a plugin that purports to be the ultimate Facebook Like Button.

Ultimate Facebook Like Content Button

facebook03-167.pngThe plugin is easy to configure and use. The version I had previously downloaded stopped working altogether due to a change at Facebook where a spurious 'width' parameter stopped the thing from displaying anything leaving a mere empty space where the FB 'like' should be. I blame Facebook for this, not the dev. as clearly FB had changed something at their end causing the previously good plugin to fail, although the devs slightly crap code had allowed the problem to manifest itself... Note: just one simple error in the code provided to Facebook can stop FB from working - I must remember that. I fixed this myself by removing the offending width code. I tried the dev's site to report the problem and to get an update but it is a little impenetrable if you can't understand Greek, even his translate button still gives you a page full of Greek. If not for these two problems it would have had a 4 star rating.The Dev responds that he does have a support area, all you need to do is to open a ticket at web-expert.gr/clients/index.php to report the issue (I don't need to as my fix means it is now working).

N-System Facebook OpenGraph

strange-facebook-icon-126.pngThe old version of this plugin created incorrect meta name tags and the new version 1.4 supposedly fixed this. Unfortunately it still does not create meta property tags as it should, they are still meta name tags... I cannot report this problem to the dev. as his site has no contact nor support area and is entirely in German (nothing wrong with that, but it means that it is harder for me to navigate as mein Deutsch ist nicht gut). Can't recommend this until the problem is actually fixed.

 





MBV Open Graph

round-screen-handles-126.pngI tested almost all the non-commercial plugins to generate open graph meta tags and almost none worked. This was the first to do the job, it generates "meta property" tags whereas all the others create "meta name" tags which are incorrect. Not sure if this plugin generates all the meta tags you will need. Test it out yourself to see if it does the job for you.

 

   


AutoOpenGraph

facebook02-126.pngTesting out of the box did not go well. Installed it, enabled it and my site died immediately due to a PHP error. Not a lot of reason to allow the test to go further, so I simply removed the plugin and the site worked again. Not the best experience for an out-of-the-box test. I checked and confirmed that the plugin was compatible with Joomla 1.5 and it was... I have no idea what caused the error as I had no time to check it and fix, I was merely testing. I cannot recommend this plugin for your site but it may well work on yours. If I were you I would test it on a less important site first.

 

 

 

 

 

 


strange-icon1-126.pngTesting out of the box and the plugin installed was enabled and immediately started generating og tags. Unfortunately it does not create the correct "meta property" tags, instead creating "meta name" tags. Not the best experience for an out-of-the-box test. Needs some changes to replace the appropriate text on a page "after render". The developer states that it definitely does create the "meta property" tags, but I did not see this on my test.



 

 


iBualoy OpenGraph

facebook01-126.pngI tested a few of the plugins in this category of the JED. Almost all incorrectly generated open graph meta tags of the type "meta name" when they should be "meta property" tags. In a small pit of despair I was going to convert my old 1.0 mambot to do the job when I found these two plugins from this rather good developer. They do the job exactly as expected. The two plugins generate the correct meta tags for article pages, main page &c. They will become my main Open Graph plugins for all my 1.5 sites. they do offer the opportunity to create a few 'extra' og tags such as the following:

<meta property="og:locality" content="Wallingford" />
<meta property="og:region" content="Oxfordshire" />
<meta property="og:postal-code" content="postcode" />
<meta property="og:country-name" content="GB" />
<meta property="og:email" content="email@domain.com" />
<meta property="og:phone_number" content="tel.no.here" />


Facebook does not really use these and regards them as spurious tags so I am not really sure why they are options in this developers offering. Otherwise very good indeed.

 

Finally a review of a non-Facebook related plugin :

Googlemaps Plugin


stonehaven-map.png I've used this plugin for years with the old google maps API no problems whatsoever. Since installing the new version of the plugin and since the old (and simple) google maps API has been deprecated I find that getting this plugin and the Google API information together are just far too complicated. I tried and tried and failed miserably to get this plugin to do anything at all, no errors but nothing. I do NOT blame the developer, I blame Google. Mr. Reumer, the developer gets four stars for the way the plugin has worked over the years. Loses one star for the way it interfaces with the new google map API. I have simply abandoned Google maps. The developer is a friendly chap though and I am sure he will assist in getting it going for you. As this is an out-of-the-box test.

 

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 January 2013 )
 
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