Big news for WordPress blogs and BuddyPress came last weekend with a new plugin that enables logging in with a Facebook account on any BuddyPress installation. You knew it was coming and there are many reasons to welcome it. Creating new accounts for every site you visit can really be a pain sometimes, especially when there are activation emails involved. Nobody wants the trouble of selecting a new username and password just to use your website. Break down that barrier on your WordPress and BuddyPress sites with the new WP-FB-AutoConnect plugin. Visitors will be far more likely to become members and participate on your site if all they have to do is login with their existing Facebook account. Adding this convenience to your blog is an almost guaranteed way to see a spike in your user numbers. This is a yummy new addition for all of you social networking junkies who love to have everything hooked up to your Facebook account. :)
WP-FB-AutoConnect Plugin Features
- No user interaction is required – the login process is transparent to new and returning users alike.
- Existing WP users who connect with FB retain the same local user accounts as before.
- New visitors will be given new WP user accounts, which can be retained even if you remove the plugin.
- Custom logging options can notify you whenever someone connects with Facebook.
- Custom actions allow you to modify connecting users according to their Facebook accounts.
- No contact with Facebook servers after the login completes – so no slow pageloads.
- Simple, well-documented source makes it easy to extend and customize.
- Won’t bloat your database with duplicate user accounts, extra fields, or unnecessary complications.
- Built-in BuddyPress support.
How to Install WP-FB-AutoConnect on your WordPress / BuddyPress Site
It’s not difficult but it does require a few more steps than your ordinary plugin. I’m going to make it simple for you. There are two parts to getting it working:
1. Create a Facebook Application for your site
Go to: http://www.facebook.com/developers/createapp.php. Give your application a name. This is what Facebook will show on the login popup. Copy the API Key and Secret, because you’ll need them in a minute. Click the “Connect” tab and enter your site’s URL under “Connect URL.” Last step is to click the “Advanced” tab and enter your site’s domain under “Email Domain” (i.e. example.com). Save changes.
2. Install, Activate, Drag and Drop the Widget
Appearance -> Widgets, and add the WP-FB AutoConnect widget to your sidebar, OR if you’re using BuddyPress, a Facebook button will be automatically added to its built-in login panel.
How is this different from other Facebook Connect options?
Most Facebook connect options do not offer auto user creation, which is what I believe makes this plugin far superior to all previous options. It also does not require users to manually “Connect” their WordPress account to their Facebook one before they can login. Here’s what truly makes this plugin big news for the WordPress community:
What other kinds of cool stuff can I do when a user connects?
See the Facebook API for ideas. By the time the ‘wpfb_login’ hook gets called you’ve already got a valid session and matching local user, so the bulk of the work is done for you – all that’s left is to pull the information you want from Facebook and use it on your site however you wish.
Chew on that for a minute and hopefully it will spark up some innovative ideas of your own!
I’ve tested this plugin with WordPress 2.9.2 , WP 2.9.2 + BuddyPress 18.104.22.168, as well as WPMU 2.9.2 + BuddyPress 22.214.171.124 and it works flawlessly in all scenarios.
The homepage for the plugin has even more detailed information about installing, customizing, and troubleshooting. This is a very well done plugin with lots of documentation for extending it. Many thanks to Justin Klein for this exciting new plugin for the BuddyPress community. Somebody please buy him a coffee. ;)