Sunday, February 1, 2009

DISQUS rules!

I've been considering a authentication system for a site I'm building, but wanted to integrate social networking features. I looked at Facebook Connect (from others sites I'm running, I've found that FB generates quite a lot of inbound links), but found the documentation a bit incoherent. Also, I saw I needed to have my own user database anyway. Back to square one.

In my reasearch, I found Google's Friend Connect. Now, GFC is extremely easy to set up - you just paste a few lines of code into your page where you want the widgets/gadgets to show up, and you're set, really. GFC offers a set of predefined user-related gadgets, including comments, friend lists, and other social features. I tried it on this new site, but two things put me off (well, two and a half): 1) The design of the google gadgets can't go any narrower than 200 pixles, which means I couldn't use the login box, among other things, in the same place on every page in the design. 2) I'mnot really sure about the social networking aspects of GFC; I think FB may be better. and 2.5) Not all aspects of the widget could be designed to blend in with my color scheme.

Now, along the way, I found Disqus, of course. And it turns out they have integrated Facebook Connect in their solution! If I were running this new site on a standard blog platform, there are plugins to take care of Disqus integration, but in my case, it only involved pasting in a few lines of code in my templates anyway. Very, very easy, simple and quick. I was up and running with comments on my new page within 60 seconds of deciding to go with Disqus. Not bad at all! :-)

Now, when signing in to the Disqus main site, one can use an OpenID login, but the Disqus comments box showing in my site only has a specific Disqus login (in addition to unregistered, a register features, and FB connect). I'm not sure if posting on my site after using FB connect will allow me to post the same thing to my FB account, as would an application using "pure" Facebook Connect, but I'm optimistic. I'm going to try ut out very soon - I'm just not ready to show the new site to the Facebook public yet. :-)

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