Sunday, February 9, 2014

Programmatic interaction with Facebook data

The last time I interacted with Facebook using a program (2011), it was fairly straightforward, and perhaps it was too simple, it was abused.  As a result, in my recent experiments, I come to find out that, they have made it so complicated (my feeling, no offence to Facebook here), that its quite hard, if not impossible to do genuine development work using Facebook API, let alone achieve something sinister.

I am a self-anointed tech junky, and therefore no one should be surprised that i took up this challenge couple of hours back to build a brand new routine to get data in/out from/to facebook using a popular and open source Data integration tool, called Pentaho 

There were two triggers, one, I had not done some core debugging based research using something new. Second, a friend of mine is building this ecommerce site, www.freemall.in for which the marketing efforts would need a simpler interface to push details to the site, instead of some human going up there and doing all.  So, this programming interface becomes the first step of the future plugin for his ecommerce venture.

As I already indicated, programming with facebook's current API is a relatively hard task, at least for couple of iterations, before you get the hang of it.  So, I started with the tutorial at pentaho's site - http://www.pentahoevalcenter.com/data-integration/advanced-data-integration/facebook/ which turns out to be based on the old Facebook API and prompted me to look elsewhere for the right way of working.

Then comes the big thing - the oAuth authentication protocol employed by Facebook, get a token of this type, then of this type. go to this site, achieve this, copy this and take it there.. Its all so much that I had to go back to google and see if there is something simpler.. and yes, god bless google, there was someone like me who had gone to all the trouble and then of documenting it... God bless his soul for this - 
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12168452/long-lasting-fb-access-token-for-server-to-pull-fb-page-info

After this, I went ahead with the pentaho tutorial, which did work out nice and fine for me.

I was able to post couple of messages to my test page using the application that i built for this test case.

hope this collection of links at a single place helps others.



Monday, February 3, 2014

Proud - Cloudera Certified Developer for Apache Hadoop

I have not been a believer of certifications, that should be clear from the fact that even though I have been working with Informatica since 2002, I never tried their certification till 2011. And, same about Oracle, whose exam I have not yet attempted/planned/thought over. I used to think that the knowledge level will prevail anyway, whether or not an authority stamps on it.

However, I believe, I am changing, to a certain extent so to say.  It seems that I have come to accept the certifications' worth, and therefore, after the training provided by Cloudera, I picked up the opportunity and went through with the rigor of examination.

Fortunately, I came through.  And, as much as I try not to showcase it, its a great feeling.  Somehow, the knowledge is vindicated, that yes, this guy knows something about hadoop and you better listen to him, :) . Funny that one has to put a badge out there to be heard.

Well, all said and done, the certification is done, courtesy the employer, who sponsored the training and of course the examination coupon that came along.  I would like to thank our trainer from cloudera, Amandeep Khurana for his depth and breadth around all things hadoop.  As much as I knew about hadoop before going in the training, those 2.5 days added precious layers to my knowledge.  Thanks Amandeep.