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.