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Integrating Alpha with Facebook "likes" and "shares"

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  • Integrating Alpha with Facebook "likes" and "shares"

    When a page is "liked" (or"shared") on Facebook, a pop-up is presented that presents 3 pieces of information that then comprise the share in the timeline 1. Title 2. Content and 3. Image. These are set in the <head> section with tags that look like
    <meta property="og:title"content="myTitle"/>
    The problem is that AA "pages" are created dynamically by the AA server. Sure, you can put generic info on the A5w page and that works fine but the "pages" are dynamic. Example: a realtor wants to allow the liking of listed homes. A "like" should have the info associated with that listing. But, all listing would still be on the same A5w page and the "scrapper" would not see the content for each house. Also, though I know there is place for "header tags" in component properties, I do not know if the content can be set to dynamically take {field names} like a freeform edit container and if they would then be served by A5 when a page request includes a page variable - ?variable=field. Of course, content management systems solve this by serving fully formed dynamic html pages with no callback after html render.

    I know this is way out of Alpha's wheelhouse, but does anyone have any suggestions on integrating AA with FB so that dynamic content can be seen by FB and appropriately identify pages for sharing and liking?
    Last edited by ecalan; 04-14-2016, 12:23 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Integrating Alpha with Facebook &quot;likes&quot; and &quot;shares&quot;

    Update: I did a test hard coding a title tag in the <head> tag in a component and set it to pre-render. The Facebook scrapper did not pick it up, which makes sense when I realized that the component header is actually the header of an iFrame on the A5w page.

    So, I don't think this will ever work unless Alpha incorporates a "dynamic page" creation function. This would be a major change from how alpha works and I do not believe it is likely any time soon.

    I did a test hard coding a title tag in the <head> tag and in a component and set it to pre-render. The Facebook scrapper did not pick it up, which makes sense when I realized that the component header is actually the header of an iFrame on the A5w page.

    Still way open to thoughts.


    • #3
      Re: Integrating Alpha with Facebook &quot;likes&quot; and &quot;shares&quot;

      I use AddThis on my Alpha websites. See image:
      Attached Files
      Steve Wood
      There is no Cloud. It's just someone else's computer.
      Web - Mobile - Hosting - Products - Frameworks - Developer Resources
      AlphaToGo | IADN (100% Alpha Anywhere Websites)


      • #4
        Re: Integrating Alpha with Facebook &quot;likes&quot; and &quot;shares&quot;

        Steve, thanks for the reply. I was actually hoping you would as I thought if anyone had licked this it must be you. Question though, I see the social buttons in the pic you attached and I see how that is an easy way to add sharing. What I am asking about though is the pop-up after you select share. Here it is from AlphaToGo.
        2016-04-15 (1).png

        The problem isn't getting the share to work. The problem is getting the share to display the correct information on a page whose important content is dynamic. The question is how to control what is in that box on a page that looks like where the important info(image, description and title) should come from record 7.

        I did some inspection of your code and I see that you have not included any meta property tags and facebook is inferring the content from your traditional tags.

        You can see what FB scrapes from your site at:
        2016-04-15 (2).png
        Yours looks great even without the Meta property tags but this is a home page without dynamic content. if you opened a component on this page, the scrape would not see anything from the dynamically generated content.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Re: Integrating Alpha with Facebook &quot;likes&quot; and &quot;shares&quot;

          I guess I have a little modernization to do on my own sites..

          If the user goes to ** then the dynamic content including Facebook metatags would also need to be rendered.

          I found a reference at

          That AlphaToGo site is really old now; a better example is my Framework. It gets the metatag values dynamically from a table, unique for each page. Example code in the header is:

          ?"<meta name="description" content="" + wt_page("description")+"">"

          wt_page() is my own function that gets values from a table based on the name of the A5W page. Simplified, it would get the results from this query (using description as the example):

          sql = SELECT description FROM pages WHERE pagename = 'mypage.a5w'

          For simplicity, you can just use sql_lookup() where you want to populate the values. Example to a Products table, dynamic for id=7 would be:

          mydesc = sql(lookup("::name::conn","product","id=","description")
          ?"<meta property="og:description" content="" + mydesc +"" />"

          (I did not test the above code, check for syntax)
          Steve Wood
          There is no Cloud. It's just someone else's computer.
          Web - Mobile - Hosting - Products - Frameworks - Developer Resources
          AlphaToGo | IADN (100% Alpha Anywhere Websites)


          • #6
            Re: Integrating Alpha with Facebook &quot;likes&quot; and &quot;shares&quot;

            Check the syntax! I guess I can try though I have never used code like this to set a property.

            Question though. Does your framework deliver pages as mypage.a5w?name=greatpage or as greatpage.a5w. The reason is I don't think, even if the tags get set properly, that FB would pick it up as I don't believe the scrapper allows any script but just looks at the raw HTML. Have you tested any of your dynamic pages in the FB URL checker?


            • #7
              Re: Integrating Alpha with Facebook &quot;likes&quot; and &quot;shares&quot;

              BTW Steve, you and I had a spirited discussion on here several years ago about using Alpha for a public website as opposed to as an internal app. I was not a believer but you insisted it was a great idea. You were right and I am building a public site (as much for fun as anything else) and I think it looks pretty good with the new tools Alpha has given us. It is end stage beta and I am ironing out the last few issues. The target I am trying to share on facebook is And, I need to pick up specific info from the page including the campaign logo as the meta content "image."