Facebook Page Like Redirect

We encountered some pretty nasty Facebook behavior late last night during a launch. Usually when you “Like” a page, the iframe application refreshes normally. However, if your application is the page’s default tab, the on “Like” redirect goes back to the wall. Apparently this is by design. There is a bug report filed, which states

“Once a user Likes a page, by design, the landing page for future visits will be the Wall tab. Thanks for the report.”

This is not what you’d expect – since it only appears to happen when the application is the default tab. I’d expect it would always redirect back to the tab you had open. They can still satisfy their above quote this way.

We couldn’t come up with any fixes, but found a few workarounds:

  • Don’t use it as the default tab
  • Point your marketing material to the actual tab and not the generic page URL

I also came up with a potential solution the next morning, which should work, though not tested:

  • Add some JS code (pseudocode): if window.top.href == ‘generic page URL’, set window.top.href = ‘page URL with specified application tab’

Hope this helps someone!

Local Facebook Development

I’ve started doing a little Facebook application development again lately, so I’ve been on the prowl on how to do things more efficiently. Working local is efficient (we all know that by now, I hope)…

Facebook has always been a bit of a pain with things like FBML, but now that page tabs support iframes, I thought I’d revisit it a little. It turns out that you can simply use your localhost (or any private) address, and the iframe will load. However, there are some major problems in the authentication process with this method. I moved on, and continued to do things the old fashioned way with a remote development server, and set up all my application settings accordingly.

However, since Facebook simply needs to check the URL, and expect valid responses once and a while, you can edit your local hosts file and map the remote hostname to This way, when Facebook performs its checks, the remote server responds properly, but you can still rapidly develop locally with the iframe pointing to your local development server.

Example, assuming our development server is set up at dev.somefbapp.mycompany.com, we’d configure the app with that (public) address. Then, when we want to test things more rapidly, we can enable this in our hosts file:    dev.somefbapp.mycompany.com

This seems to be working flawlessly for me as of today (July 28th, 2011) and on PHP SDK 3.2. Hopefully this brings a little light to someones day who gets as frustrated as I do with Facebook’s documentation.