Facebook connect application creation errors

If you’re in the process of developing a new website nowadays, chances are you’ll want to link it to Facebook in some way. Facebook Connect is the Web 2.0 API style way of doing things, if you’re willing to get handy with yet another markup language… FBML. I’ll leave you to work out what it stands for*.

But anyone trying to get started is likely to stumble over two of the most bizarre, yet simple errors, right off the bat. I was trying to get things working with one of my sites, Saint Saviours Cricket Club, when I encountered these two errors:

1) Facebook Connect “Invalid URL” message

Crazy. You can try every version of your URL which you know is correct:
http://www.mydomain.com
mydomain.com
www.mydomain.com
http://mydomain.com

etc.

What works?

http://www.mydomain.com/

Notice the trailing slash. That they didn’t include a little bit of help on that is ridiculous.

2) Facebook Connect signup page closes out to a blank page

You get the page to submit, but nothing happens, and you just get a blank page. This is most likely due to a problem with the site name you’ve specified. I haven’t worked out exactly what causes the error, but it might the existence of spaces in the name. You can get through it by picking a random number (e.g., 6 digits from your mobile number) – that worked for me. And you’ll then notice that all your other attempts to submit actually got through – and you’re free to use them (and delete all the ones you don’t need).

I’m gobsmacked that there are such weird little bugs in such a big system. Have they not tested these things?

* Footnote: if, like me, you’re doing this on a WordPress install then be sure to check out the Simple Facebook Connect plugin. He’s done *all* the grunt work for you – you’ve just got to turn it on!

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