Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Programming with Facebook

I'm not really into the whole social networking scene. I never bothered (and I refuse) to use Friendster. I'm not into MySpace nor Multiply. However, the techie industry has been all abuzz about Facebook. As some magazine (forgot if it was Newsweek) put it -- MySpace is for the Hollywood types while Facebook is for the geeks and nerds. Well, with an introduction like that, I just had to try Facebook to see what it is at the very least.

The registration was simple and straightforward. What I found really interesting is the method by which it tries to establish your initial social community. It asks you to enter a POP3 account. I assume it goes through your email headers and try to see if the persons you email with have Facebook accounts. If they do, the system sends them a notice informthem them that you just joined, I suppose. I say "I suppose" because when I gave it my GMail POP3 credentials, it seemed to time out. Maybe I have too many mail in my GMail account for it to process.

Facebook allows you to create applications using their API. This was my main interest in signing up really. I wanted to find a way to integrate Facebook albums to Mozcom's online photo printing service called Picatoo. Their API documentation is ok. Getting an API license key is also very simple and straightforward. No need to send X.25 certificates to the administrator unlike Picasa. In a few hours, I was able to get my Facebook album to appear in Picatoo, and transfer photos for printing.

There is just one thing about the Facebook photo album system that I can't figure out. They don't seem to have a way to let the account owner upload photos at full, or original, size and resolution. The upload process seems to automatically perform re-sizing of the jpg image for the web. While the effect on screen is fine because of the screen's lower resolution (72 dpi), it does not look well when the photos are transferred to a service like Picatoo for photo printing which uses a higher resolution (250 dpi or better). They are only ok if the photos are to be arranged in a collage. But a single photo to be printed on 4R will be too grainy. Anyone out there have any idea on how to upload photos at their original size?


Ravi said...

Hi Dick, I was wondering the same thing. Any luck with print resolution? Does Facebook even store high-res images? Or are they storing high-res images but not making them publicly available?

Dick Chiang said...

Hello. Unfortunately, I haven't found any solution around it. I think Facebook really does not store hi-res images for printing purposes.