I really like the Travellerspoint website, most of it the Travel Map. What a simple genuine tool. But the Facebook integration is just euh crap.
My main 2 issues are that I can’t add the app to my Facebook favorites on top of my timeline (like Trip Advisor, Gogobot,…) and when I want to share my trips on my timeline I just get a blank square with the name of my trip and that’s it!
So you got this great website that lack a well working app or promotion (the apps page, what?) on the most popular social media in the world… I don’t get it!
My main question is, are there improvements expected in the near future for the Facebook integration? Because else... I’m out.
Hi Timmii, thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you enjoy using it on the site at least!
The main difficulty we face with FB is that every time we've committed resources to making it work on their system, they then turn around and change how things work. Once upon a time you could embed the map on your profile. They turned it off. Once upon a time, they had an apps directory that showed the app - they turned it off. They app used to have a rating, and a page attached to it that made sense. Then they changed that earlier this year and all the history was lost. It's safe to say that if something's not working over there at the moment, it's because they decided to change the rules on us and didn't bother letting us know (they rarely do). It's just a constantly changing environment that's a total pita to keep up with and we're not a huge team so we have to pick our battles
But of course we'd definitely like to have it working better there and if time permits we'll work on improving it. For now there's just a lot of other things that are priorities. Some related to the map, some related to other areas of the site.
Thanks for your response!
I already heard also other developers complain about the many and regular changes Facebook make on their code (without warning anyone). And if you with a small team I can understand this must be a huge frustration.
But it's too late to go back to TripAdvisor, I'm already hooked on Travel Map and I know discover little by little the other possibilities on your site for my trip to Southeast Asia. So I'll be patient and maybe one day I can add it to my favorites on my timeline.
I took some time to check out the different FB options, and it looks like some aren't even available to us I'm afraid
The main one is that we aren't listed in the App Centre, which I think you need to be invited to be listed in. That is very different than in the olden days where any old app would show in the travel category (there were different ranking methods, all broken it seemed). Mind you, it's very difficult to know what it takes to get in there or not. I can't see anywhere to submit an app for review for example. Clearly if we could be listed in the Travel & Local cat there we would put some extra resources into this as well We did look into this back when the timeline first launched, but maybe things have changed since then. It looks like being listed there also gives you a page like this for promoting your app.
Clearly we could improve the look of our Travel Map App Page though. Which is different to the appcentre page those apps get. And then of course you have the actual app page to deal with too, so it takes some keeping up
One interesting thing about the gogobot one is if you go to facebook.com/gogobot it basically redirects you to their app. I am pretty sure that isn't standard behaviour either, so they must be in tight with FB.
Now regarding how the posts show on the timeline. To add the app as a favourite I think you need to have been accepted as a Timeline app in the App Centre I mentioned at the beginning. For example I used the Travel Map app but it still doesn't show as an option to add to the favourites, whereas Nike's app does (and I rarely use/show that on FB, but it is listed in the App Centre I'm sure). So I think that's the reason it can't be added as a fav.
And then there's how the new trips show when you post them to your timeline. The ideal would of course be if an actual trip/stop showed on a little map within the timeline post, but I'm not sure if FB actually gives us that option (Peter?). In the absence of that we only have lat/long data and some basic text which we show. Facebook lets you show an image there, but the map is dynamic, so there is no static image we have to display (although perhaps we could use a placeholder to at least not be quite as boring!). Contrast this with if you click on the Trip Stats link within the app and then post that to your timeline. That is actually an image we generate and then post there for you.
It's all rather complicated as you can see, and like Peter mentions, FB change the rules on you all the time. Nowadays it's almost like they don't want external apps
[ Edit: Edited on 03-Oct-2012, at 14:27 by Sam I Am ]
Sam I Am,
I was already wondering why I can't see the app in the App Center. Clearly, like you stated, Facebook soley decide which apps are listed and which not. But in my opinion it's not on invitation. It's based on the quality and the ratings of the app (http://www.buzzom.com/2012/05/facebook-launches-an-app-center-to-help-people-find-and-rate-apps/). Another question is how do you rate an app? Facebook proposes to the user, the user itself cannot choose when to rate. (http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2012/04/rate-facebook-apps). Like I added Trip Advisor once again, and within 5 minutes I can see at the right of the page to rate this app. For Travel Map I've never seen it (and I used it often the latest days). (When I do, believe me 5 stars right away ).
I think the quality of the page is very important and you must meet the guidelines of dictator Facebook (https://developers.facebook.com/docs/appcenter/guidelines/). In these guidelines they also mention that Apps Center is not eligible for a Page Tab App. Is Travel Map a Page Tab App? I also read that https support is needed and, correct me if I'm wrong, that's not the fact with Travel Map.
But it's sure complicated and surly not encouraging for developers.
Anyway keep up the good work!