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External Comment Integration

August 4th, 2011
tech, facebook, comments, googleplus  [html]
For a long time I've crossposted blog entries to facebook (and now google plus) and have avoided needing to implement commenting by letting those serve as discussion fora. I got kind of annoyed with this making the discussion fragmented and decided to fix this. Unfortunately, there's not an api available for google plus yet. So for now I just settled for pulling comments from the facebook api.

If you're interested in the technical details, I needed a pretty roundabout solution because I have two constraints: (1) I don't want people to have to authenticate with facebook or something to see the comments and (2) I can't run any server side code on my blog host. I ended up going with a simple wsgi app that pulls from facebook's graph api with an oauth token in my name, makes it into html, returns "'document.write(%s);' % json.dumps(html)", which is then included into my document with a script tag where I want the comments to show up. I do need to specify the facebook id of the post, instead of it automatically discovering it, but that's not so bad. I was originally planning to use an iframe, but it turns out that including content with an iframe that acts like part of your page instead of independently scrolling is a really hard problem involving lots of javacript and browser workarounds.

So comment away!

Update 2012-03-24: The code, minus facebook access tokens, is now on github.

Comment via: google plus, facebook

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