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Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

BBC Radio Facebook app give-away

posted by Duncan at 2:54 pm on December 7th, 2008

A year and a half or so ago I wrote a Facebook app called BBC Radio. It’s main reason for being, was to easily let you listen to BBC Radio whilst on Facebook, showing friends which networks you liked and when you listened to them as well as now/next information, and for me to understand how to build an app using the then new Facebook Developers Platform.

BBC Radio facebookThis is what appeared on you Profile Page

The app has now been switched off, and the application page will be removed just as soon as I finish this post (here is a link to a screengrab of the BBC Radio Facebook App page that was). This is due to lack of permanent hosting and to be honest interest from me to keep it going. Whilst the app was running I had a constant barrage of emails asking me if I could build them similar for their radio station. Other than give people advice, I never did. Anyway, now it’s been switched off, I’d like to give the source out to anyone who wants it. Before I give out the location, first some facts and stats:

  • It’s a Ruby on Rails 2.0.1 app running via Mongrel
  • It was deployed with Capinstrano
  • It only uses publicly available BBC data
  • It ran for over a year without me touching it
  • It was hosted on Amazon EC2 without problems
  • Application stats before switch-off:
    • Total Users: 18000
    • Monthly Active Users: 885
    • About Page Fans: 885
    • Radio Listens by the app: 30000

So there you go. You can now go and download all the source from

[REALLY IMPORTANT] This source comes as is, with no support what so ever. It was written at speed and with no concern for code quality, so I take no responsibility for how good or bad the source is, how few tests there are, and whether you can get it working or not. If you do choose to use it for anything though, it would be nice if you gave me a mention in some small way.

BBC Radio facebook app

posted by Duncan at 1:34 pm on June 24th, 2007

[Update]: It’s now running on it’s own EC2 instance using Apache and Mongrel. So far so good.

I’ve been playing with facebook recently and have built my first app. It simply lets you display your favorite BBC Radio channels in your profile with a link to play and information about who’s currently on. Go install it and let me know what you think.

BBC Radio in facebook

It’s a rails app that uses the BBC Web API (beta) to find all the schedule information. In order to push all the updated show info to facebook there is a cronjob running that in-turn runs a rake task in my rails app to look for new data. If it finds any it pushes that data to handles within my facebook app’s namespace and each users profiles fetch data from these handles.

It has been a bit of trial and error along the way due to facebooks API being very new; Their documentation being lacking and incorrect at times, and Oh, their crazy session handling. I’m sure these things will be addressed in the future. They use a push system when it comes to showing stuff in people’s profiles. So in order for me to stop making more and more requested to facebook’s server every time a new user, and networks chosen, I’m using the handler approach of sending data about each network to facebook. The users profile then just collects the network info from facebook when it needs them. This means that hopefully the app won’t die the more people use it (saying that it dies already once, but that was out of my control). It’s actually running on one mongrel instance at the moment until I sort out mongrel clusters and apache proxy forwarding. Not ideal but we’ll see what happens.

I can see why the likes of flickr and lastfm have not created crazy apps yet. In fact I don’t see how they can currently. Without posting info about every user up to facebook every few minutes their apps are gonna struggle to be useful.

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