A huge thank you to all the organizers, volunteers, speakers, sponsors, and attendees who made SharePoint Saturday Cincinnati 2012 (also known as “ScarePoint Saturday Spookinnati”) such a huge success! I had a great time making new friends and catching up with old ones.
I especially wanted to thank everyone who came out early on a rainy, cold Saturday morning to attend my session “SharePoint 2010, Claims-based Identity, Facebook, and the Cloud.” The audience was very engaged and we had some of the best discussions and questions of any time I have ever given this session.
One question I received that I wanted to address specifically here was about how to integrate a Facebook application with a Facebook Page. Unfortunately, you can’t create a Facebook application using the identity of your Facebook Page. You MUST use your “authentic personal Facebook account” to create the application that is required to set up Facebook as an identity provider in the Azure ACS management portal (note that this is not a limitation of Azure ACS; it would apply whether you were writing a custom STS to support Facebook login, or even if you were using Facebook to log in to a web site that had nothing to do with SharePoint or IIS). That said, this restriction is something organizations need to keep in mind as they plan the management and governance of the Facebook application required to support logging in to their web site—SharePoint or otherwise.
Note that it IS possible to post things like status updates from SharePoint to a Facebook Page’s wall, as long as you request the manage_pages permission from users who log in using your application. Note that you would have to write additional code to retrieve a separate access_token for the Page (which would require the logged in user to be an administrator of that Page). If anyone out there tries this approach, please let me know how it works for you!
Here are the slides from my presentation:
Source code and/or a WSP for the web parts I demonstrated can be downloaded from CodePlex.
Thanks again to everyone for such a great event!
Thanks to everyone who came out to SharePoint Saturday Boston yesterday! Once again, the organizers put together an outstanding event with well over 300 developers, administrators, and end users in attendance. Thanks, also, to all the sponsors who help to make such great events possible.
I had the great privilege of being able to speak at this event. I would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who attended my session on Claims-Based Identity, Facebook, and the Cloud yesterday morning. There were lots of great questions and discussions! Thanks to all of you for your participation. I hope you enjoyed the session and found the information presented to be valuable.
Below are links to my presentation, code, PowerShell script, and CloudShare environment. Additional background information can be found in my blog post Beyond Authentication: Deeper Facebook Integration with SharePoint.
If you would like a copy of the CloudShare virtual machine I used for my demos, follow this link to obtain a 14-day free trial of CloudShare (if you don’t already have an account) and access a copy of the environment. I used the VM called SharePoint 2010 Enterprise SP1 for my demos. If you would like to know more about CloudShare (I love CloudShare!), please contact me.
Also, to take full advantage of the functionality shown in this demo, I strongly encourage you to sign up for a 90-day free trial of Windows Azure. This will give you access to the AppFabric Access Control Service (ACS) capabilities I demonstrated. If you already have a Windows Azure account, or if you choose to convert your trial to a full-blown account, the ACS features are free through December 1, 2012 (after this date, the charge will be $1.99 for every 100,000 transactions).
If you have any questions or issues deploying or running the code and/or scripts above, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks again to everyone for such a fantastic event!
I had the privilege of speaking at SharePoint Saturday in Virginia Beach yesterday. This event is of particular significance each year within the community because the first ever SharePoint Saturday was held in Virginia Beach back in 2009 and SPSVB is seen as the “kickoff” for a new year of SharePoint Saturdays. As always, I learned so much at this event and had a great time meeting with and getting to know many of the speakers, volunteers, and attendees. I would like to thank each person who gave me 70 minutes of their time yesterday to learn more about Claims-based identity in SharePoint 2010 and see how we can do more than just log in to SharePoint with Facebook. I would especially like to thank those who provided me with feedback. I plan to refine and improve this presentation for future community events, so stay tuned!
Below is the slide deck I used in my session. In addition to introducing Claims-based identity in SharePoint 2010 and detailing some of the things to look out for when working with Claims, it illustrates how to configure Windows Azure AppFabric’s Access Control Services to support logging in to SharePoint with Facebook accounts. More detailed information about this process can be found here.
But we can do more than just log in…
Much of the feedback I received yesterday related to the various demonstrations of how I used the Facebook C# SDK to surface data from Facebook in SharePoint (and vice versa) using Facebook’s Graph API. When it comes to the potential of the integration of Facebook and SharePoint, the sky is truly the limit. The AccessToken claim that Facebook includes in the OAuth token it generates will provide your application with access to any data it requests (while still obeying the privacy settings you and everyone in your friends list have in place).
More about the Facebook C# SDK
You can download the Facebook C# SDK here. The “Assemblies only” version is all you need to get started, although it is interesting and informative to be able to see the source code. (Having access to the source code helped me troubleshoot this issue as well.) The SDK includes support for .NET Framework 3.5/4.0 and Silverlight. Obviously, we must use the .NET Framework 3.5 version in conjunction with our SharePoint development. The project is well documented and includes some great examples here and at Prabir’s blog here.
Data returned from the Facebook Graph API is in JSON format. To parse this data quickly and efficiently, my project includes the Json.NET framework.
If you download the source code for my demos here, you will see it includes a series of SharePoint project items. They include:
Largely based on this blog post, the Claims Web Part displays all of the claims included in the logged in user’s identity token in grid format. I added some Facebook-specific items in here for debugging purposes, such as displaying the user’s Facebook access token (parsed from the identity token), then using that token and the Facebook C# SDK to get the user’s current city, hometown, and Facebook user name.
The Claims Web Part is a great troubleshooting/debugging tool for developers and administrators who are new to working with Claims. It is a quick and easy way to verify the claim rules you configured when creating your Trusted Identity Provider are behaving the way they should.
In my demo, a Silverlight application interfaces with the user’s webcam and saves snapshots to a SharePoint document library (hat tip to MossLover for that code). This class contains an event receiver that then takes those photos added to the SharePoint document library and uploads them to Facebook.
This web part is the “dashboard” I used to do a handful of quick proof-of-concept demos, including the following:
- Changing the display name of the currently logged in SPUser to match the name claim returned by Facebook (instead of the user’s email address or Claims-encoded username).
- Adding information from the user’s Facebook profile (name, city, birthday, employer, job title, etc.) to a contacts list.
- Populating a calendar list with recurring events for all of your friends’ birthdays (based on friends whose privacy settings allow sharing of this information).
- Uploading a video from the file system to the user’s Facebook profile.
This web part allows the user to update his/her Facebook status directly from SharePoint. Optionally, the user may also include a link (with image, caption, description, etc.) with each status update.
This web part determines the current user’s city from his/her Facebook profile, then constructs a request to the URL-driven Weather Underground API to retrieve the current weather conditions in that city. While many of these web parts may only have value in demos, I believe this web part represents a meaningful way for SharePoint site owners to provide a nice personalization experience to end users who log in to SharePoint with Facebook accounts.
I also created a site template (SPSVB.WSP) that contains the custom lists and web parts I used in my demo. It is included in the code download.
Thanks again to everyone who helped to make SharePoint Saturday Virginia Beach such a great success! If you have any questions or suggestions about this code, please feel free to post them in the comments.