As many apps will find out today, Facebook is removing it’s offline_access permission on October 3rd. For most apps this will mean that many of your open graph shares start failing.

Fashiolista has built up quite some experience with tweaking this and today we’ll be sharing some tips. The actual code we’re using has been included in the latest version of Django Facebook.

1.) Store and retry your shares

There are several advantages of storing your open graph shares in the database. You get:

  • Stats
  • Error tracking
  • Ability to retry individual shares
  • Ability to retry a user’s shares if you get an updated token
  • Ability to delete shares (since you store the Facebook object id)

Especially the ability to retry shares was important to us. Django Facebook provides a convenient OpenGraphShare model to store all your shares in. Have a look at the example below:

class DjangoModel:
    def share_to_facebook(self, graph=None):
        from django_facebook.models import OpenGraphShare
        #this is where the magic happens
        share = OpenGraphShare.objects.create(
            user_id=self.user_id,
            action_domain='fashiolista:love',
            content_type=content_type,
            object_id=self.id,
        )
        share.set_share_dict(kwargs)
        share.save()
        result = share.send()

Note that we store all info required for sharing to Facebook in the OpenGraphShare model. The actual Facebook API request is sent when you call share.send().

Using this flow has the benefit that Django Facebook will retry your open graph shares if a user’s token updates. By doing this more of your open graph shares will actually reach Facebook.

2.) Extend your tokens

Facebook’s has deprecated offline access. By default you will now get a short lived access token (usually 1-2 hours). Often you will want longer lived tokens though. For example when your app keeps a user logged in for 30 days, storing a token once with a duration of 2 hours doesn’t get you very far. If you need longer lived tokens, you can now extend your token via a Facebook API call. These long lived tokens will keep working for 60 days.

The high level API for extending tokens is located in:

user.get_profile().extend_access_token()

In the new version of Django Facebook your token will be automatically extended upon connecting with Facebook. There is however a performance overhead to this extra API call. That’s where the following point comes in:

3.) Use Celery

Calling the Facebook API is something which takes quite a bit of time. If you’re unlucky a single API call can easily take up to 2000 ms. Celery is a tool which allows you to easily run tasks in the background, ensuring your pages stay fast for the users. At Fashiolista we use tasks for checking comment spam, adding loves, clearing cache, posting to Facebook and extending your Facebook access tokens. You can learn more about Celery in this guide.

Setting up Django Facebook to use Celery is trivial. Simply set the following settings to True.

#Use celery for storing friends or likes
FACEBOOK_CELERY_STORE = True
#Use celery for extending access tokens in the background
FACEBOOK_CELERY_TOKEN_EXTEND = True

Using Celery speeds things up enormously for the end user, so I recommend using it.

Concluding

Upgrading to the latest version of Django Facebook and implementing these tips will get you a very solid open graph implementation. Let me know in the comments what steps you’ve taken to get these numbers up.