The truth about sending Inbox messages and other limitations.

Update: Having friends list issues? Send me your log!

Hey all,

As I am working on the next patch of Bloo I figured I should pause and post about the Facebook API limitations. It seems that despite my efforts to inform new or existing Bloo users about certain limitations the API has, I still receive a ton of email and comments regarding certain features that techincally are impossible to implement.

For starters, Facebook API (Application Programming Interface) as the name suggests is an interface which Bloo — and other Facebook apps for that matter — communicate with. It includes a variety of methods that allow apps to perform actions (e..g Like a post). These methods are defined and supported by Facebook. For the sake of security, Facebook has created a permission system in which it allows the user to explicitly allow a 3rd party app to perfom an action. This is why the first time you run Bloo you have to enable these permissions. This has been improved a little bit as you now can add a batch of permissions with one button (something not yet implemented in Bloo but I do have plans for it…) Otherwise, someone could write up an application (for any platform) that possibly could start spamming other Facebook users.

Now, let’s get down to the important stuff. The API does not offer any function to send inbox messages and an extremely limited API fo chat. In fact, there is only one method for chat I have seen and that requires a browser, something that Bloo avoids and also is not able to handle. During a phone conversation I found out that Facebook only offers inbox send functionality to trusted partners. This is why apps like iPhone or BlackBerry can send them. These are official apps and are trusted partners with Facebook. Until this is exposed to 3rd party apps or I somehow magically become a trusted partner of Facebook it is impossible for me to do this. The only workaround to this is to invoke a web page, in which case Bloo will stop and your phones browser launches. However,  this would require you to login (on the m.facebook.com site) for a second time, and it goes outside the  possibilities and domain of Bloo. I have seen countless of posts as well for people complaining that the web site opens up. Bloo is truly native. The only place a browser is used is when you open a link.

The same applies to other functions such as poking. There are other limitations that I have created enormous workarounds for you guys (e.g. Clicking on a notifications story to take you to the actual post, which still does not work extremely well in the case of photo tagging stories)

I have not overlooked such functions and I do not ignore you guys. I explicitly state that this cannot be done on the Bloo market page. I am hoping the API opens up soon so I can add this functionality for you.

-dc

80 Responses to The truth about sending Inbox messages and other limitations.

  1. Ken says:

    I get notifications on my phone for friend requests and Inbox messages, but I don’t get any kind of status updates sent to my phone automatically, does it currently have the functionality to do so, or is that still in the works?

  2. Bob Garon says:

    Great write up Dimitris! Thank you so much for your communication. Since returning to the workings of Bloo you have been right on the ball.

    What plans do you have for your next release?

    And what is your anticipated release date? We won’t hold you to it, but just curious.

    Thanks again Dimitris and if there is anything I can do to assist you please let me know.🙂

    Bob

  3. ruel says:

    So when do we get chat and send message? Lol just kidding! Anyway, yeah great write up. I bet there will STILL be people asking about those two regardless if you stated it in your description on the Market or not.

  4. raul says:

    I strongly suggest adding a “help” option that leads to some FAQs inside the app. Most of the users dont bother to visit your website (unfortunately).

  5. latedate says:

    Not sure if this is the proper venue for bug reporting, but… is anyone else experiencing issues when using verizon droid’s keyboard? Everytime I use it, and upon completing a task, e.g. commenting, bloo doesn’t take me to the same place I was at previously. Sometimes it takes me back to the top of the page, and other times it puts up a “refresh” screen before bringing me to an old, cached page. The workaround for this is to force another refresh. I love using bloo, but the lack of keyboard support is very disappointing.

  6. Mike says:

    Great Write up… lets hope you get trusted partner some day. Your app certainly is by far the best so far, and has so much potential of being better than even the Blackberry one! Good luck!

  7. Nick says:

    It might also be a limitation of using the official facebook API, but I have seen an issue where the mobile site or the official facebook app list updates from users in the feed that bloo does not. I am assuming that applications that use the facebook API receive limited feed information according to users Application Privacy settings. Is this a known issue? Does anyone else experience this?

    By the way I love bloo. The quality and content far exceed the official facebook app. I even bought the paid version back when it was out.

  8. aimee says:

    First off this is by far the best fb app I have seen well done! I’m curious as to a few things though.
    1. Are you able to clear old notifications? Or do they disappear after a certain amount of days? I’ve got notifies from 14 days ago (first installation)
    2. I am not getting all of my notifies, I do use the mobile website for replying to messages and such and find notifies that weren’t sent to me thru Bloo? Anything to fix that? Did change my update to check every 5 minutes. We’ll see.
    3. Last. Why doesn’t Bloo notify me when I receive new inbox messages?

    Thanks again for this awesome app!

  9. Andrew says:

    You might have addressed this already, but is there going to be a Bloo widget at any point? I generally like Bloo better than the droid’s Facebook for android app, but I use FB for android primarily for the widget. I use the Motorola Droid on the Verizon network. Let me know if you could. Thanks a bunch.

  10. chris says:

    I couldn’t find out how to accept a friend invite.

  11. Miguel says:

    Could you please allow users to decide whether to display people’s profile pics next to their comments? It’s annoying to me that next to a person’s name is a blank space that serves no purpose and could be used to display a photo.

    For example, I post a Status Message that says “Got lots of work ahead of me today”. Then several friends comment on my status with things like “Work hard!”, and “Get that paper!”. But next to their names I don’t see their profile pic. I just see a blank space.

    The official app shows their pic. Babbler shows their pic. Yet Bloo doesn’t. I understand your concern is performance, but the official app doesn’t suffer a speed hit with this feature, and at least offer us the option to enable or disable it. I don’t pay $35 a month t T-Mobile for 3G internet to limit my experience.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Bloo. In fact, last week I uninstalled Babbler and deleted the official app shortcut from my desktop, and replaced it with Bloo again! I still keep the official app installed just in case. But Bloo is my everyday Facebook app. I just want to see it compete with the same features, and more, as the other apps.

  12. Jason says:

    Overall great app.

    I’m wondering if a “Help” option with info like you’ve presented here would help with all the people giving it 1 star because it doesn’t have chat and stuff….and it could also provide useful info like “long press to do this” blah blah blah. I think there are a lot of new Android users out there that simply don’t know how to really USE Android apps.

    One concern of mine though…why am I getting 8 million notifications? I get a notification, check it, then not even 5 minutes later I get another notification for the same stuff. I usually get it around 4-5 times for each thing. Used to not do this, but it started recently….

    And lastly a suggestion. It’d be nice if you had options in the menu to go to the feed, the homescreen, and to share. Currently if I’m viewing a post or something, I have to hit back a few times to get to the feed, and back another time to get to a point where I can click “share” to post something.

    Thanks for the great app!

  13. Frank says:

    Dimitris thanks for clearing what you as a developer can and can’t do with the limitation of Facebooks API. Just updated to the latest version of Bloo and I have been getting a few bugs.

    This does not happen all the times but at times when I try running Bloo I get request timeouts, while trying to see more of the feed it sometimes cant expand the feed and then takes me back to the main menu…and the one bug I get frequently is an error message saying it couldn’t process my request and leads me back to the main menu. I have also noticed when you change orientation on the phone it will refresh the feed and instead of loading up the latest feed I get older feeds.

    I am not sure if I am the only one dealing with them or not but these bugs do make it a hassle for me to use Bloo and I’m forced to use Babbler. I hope it can be fixed because I prefer using Bloo over Babbler & the lame official Facebook app.

  14. kithros says:

    Hey Dimitri,

    I was kinda let down by the official facebook app. I didn’t really like it. I stumbled on bloo in the market I Have been HOOOOOKED. I love the fact that almost nothing triggers a browser. I appreciate that you limit the implementation of feature that would require you to open a browser session. If i wanted to open a browser i would do it my self. why would i need an app. Keep up the good work, and just let me know who i have to talk, to get you trusted partner status.😉

    .k

  15. equisxx23 says:

    Now question is when will u explain why the free version is better than the paid version? ??

  16. Dimitris says:

    Facebook is experiencing Platform issues. Bloo is down until they fix the issues.

  17. evolve says:

    A bug i noticed is, say i changed my fb status on the web or mobile. When I LOAD bloo/refresh bloo it shows my OLD bloo status and won’t refresh to a newer status is set from mobile or website.

    • Dimitris says:

      Bloo has cached your status for the home screen. If you press back and reload it will receive the new one. This is expected behavior as the home window has not refreshed!

  18. Ric says:

    Why did you remove the “Refresh” option on the update before last? I sometimes get notifications and when i’m taken to the notifications page it will not be there, just the same old ones. Hitting refresh usually fixes this and shows the most current notification.

    Also, is there anyway you could had a “Home” option to the app? It gets annoying having to hit the “back” button several times to get back to the main home screen of the app.

    • Ric says:

      Please bring back the refresh option on the notifications page. As I stated before, some notifications come though but do not update the notification’s page with the most recent one sometimes. You replaced the “refresh” option with a “search” option on the notifications page which makes no sense. Who in the hell needs to search their notifications and for what reason?

      Again, please also add a “home” option to bring us back to the main page so as not to have to click back all the time.

      Also, why are we still getting an error when trying to view comments to a photo? Yet we can go to a friends page and see the photo AND comments with no problem. When someone posts new pictures in the feed I can only see those 3 max it seems from that page, but there is no way to see all of the pics in that album without going to that friends page THEN to their albums to find their new pics they just posted.

  19. Miguel says:

    I have another 2 requests or fixes or whatever you call them:

    1. When uploading a photo via Bloo through the “Share” menu, I don’t believe there is an option to add a caption to the photo. One day I used it and after selecting the album, it simply uploaded the photo without giving the option to add a caption.

    Additionally, I actually don’t like having to be asked which album I want to upload to every time I upload a photo. Why not just default it to the “Mobile” folder that FB Mobile creates, or create a folder called “Bloo Uploads”, or allow us to set any default we want?

    2. Is there any way to allow us to filter the Feed? I see constant automatic spam updates about how my friends have done something on Farmville or Mafia Wars etc.. and it takes up alot of my feed sometimes, even when I have the Feed set to display the max posts allowed. I know in earlier versions your preferences was to hard filter these, but you allowed them after many people requested it. But we need an option to set the filter ourselves now!

    Please respond to some of the feedback here!!! Even a short response like “Will add it to the list thanks!” at least tells us you care.😉

    • Ian says:

      Don’t like the idea of suggestion #1 to be honest. What if you’ve taken a lot of pictures one night and want to put them in their own album?

      • Miguel says:

        My suggestion is to allow the user to set a default album or have Bloo ask each time.

        When I am on the move, I like to be able to quickly upload photos. The least steps the better.

        When I get to a computer, I can do any appropriate housekeeping of photos. I don’t use Bloo as a 100% replacement for Facebook on a PC.

        Besides, I find it more important to be able to add a caption to the photo, which we can’t do at the moment.

        I find myself using the Facebook e-mail feature to post photos because the subject line becomes the caption.

  20. Izz says:

    Let me start by saying I like Bloo. or more like i want to really like it. But this notification bug is killing me. I’ll check a notification and then 2 min later i get another alert, but no new notification. Im sure this as been addressed before, but I just thought i’d let u know as i dont know how many others are complaining about it. I’m using a droid. Its gotten to the point where i wont check new notifications just so I dont keep getting the same alert over and over again

  21. fre says:

    Disagree with the going to a default such as mobile upload. Love the fact that bloo is special that way. You can choose which album to put it in. Awesome feature. Please. Don’t change that D. “Mobile uploads” so impersonal.

    • Miguel says:

      My suggestion is that we get to set the Default album (i.e. Photos from my G1) instead of having Bloo ask every time which album we want to upload to.

  22. kitso says:

    Each time I rotate orientation from portrait to landscape the news feed keeps getting older and older. Weird.

  23. Ian says:

    Good write up Dimitris, but sadly, it will fall on deaf ears. It must be really frustrating to hear the same requests over and over again, it frustrates me and i’m not even the dev on the app!

    Anyway, looking forward to the eagerly anticipated widget, which was mentioned in the release notes in the latest version of Bloo.

    Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but are wall-to-wall posts possible in the API?

    Keep up the good work.

  24. Dom says:

    Can you optimize it for HTC Tattoo (small screen resolution) Because Im unable to install the app at all.

    You can find the tools how to make it on the google developer page.

    Please!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats why it doesnt even show on a marketplace for these kind of devices, thats a bit draw back.

  25. JM says:

    I installed the new version of Bloo on my Droid with OS 2.01 and still can’t tag friends on photos. I enabled the permission on Facebook, but it wont do it. Bloo says its successful but when I check it, it doesn’t show the tag. I was able to tag myself successfully though.

    • JM says:

      In another attempt to get tagging working, I uninstalled Bloo from Facebook, then did you preinstalled permission settings from a previous post. Still tagging didn’t work.

  26. TH1882FC says:

    What happens if I delete the paid for bloo, will you eventually charge for the free version?

    I can’t seem to find an explanation why support for the paid version was dropped in favour of a free one? Most odd.

    Thanks.

    • Jeff says:

      It was dropped because Bloo is free now. He made a post about it a while back. So go ahead and remove your old paid one (I did as well).

  27. Steve says:

    dc,

    First, how can I send you a log? Where do I find it and to what email?

    Second, I am not receiving notifications! I have reinstalled the app a bunch of times and I think that it may have caused the issue. Any idea? I checked the app settings and the permission settings on Facebook’s main site.

    Thanks,

    Steve

  28. Miguel says:

    Notifications are not showing up for me until I open Bloo. I use TaskKiller but I have Bloo and it’s relevant Notifications program set to be ignored. Is this because the OS is killing the app?

    • Steve says:

      Nope. I even uninstalled taskiller, and some others. Actually, I installed Bloo right after a restore and had this problem. I did notice that in settings the app has no cache. Which seems odd..because I read that it caches the status and stuff until refresh. Could this be a problem?

      I also check permissions again in facebook and compared them to my girlfriends account and they are the same. We have the same phones, same setup, she gets notifications and I dont. Any ideas?

  29. Lenwe says:

    Great program… just d/l it the other day and im loving every min of it. Is there a way to impliment (or if someone could show me how) a filter to just view status updates? I play a few of the web games like mafia wars and farmville and Id love to filter those out.

    • RyanP says:

      I think the feed basically mimics most of what’s in your news feed on the live site. If you set it to only show status messages, then that’s what you should get in the feed. I know when I filtered out mafiaville, farm wars and all of the other things I couldn’t give a whatsit about playing, they stopped showing up on Bloo.

  30. badbob001 says:

    Does Bloo support showing an android notification (the stuff in the top bar) whenever my facebook feed has an update? I first thought ‘notifications’ was what I wanted but I think it’s for facebook notifications and not android notifications.

  31. Fx says:

    When I upload a picture it gets into the ‘pending’ state in FB. So I have to go to the webpage and ‘allow’ that pic manually.

    Any solution for this? I’m working with 1.4.3c beta to check the app out. The rest looks pretty awesome.

  32. Ryan says:

    Great app! Just dissapointed the long press to save images feature was removed with update… any chance of coming back?

  33. jay says:

    I’ve sent you several emails asking for a reason why you can’t view photo comments when clicking on the notification that says “joe blow commented on a picture of you” and still haven’t gotten a response or fix for it

  34. Miguel says:

    Still no profile pics in Friends responses in comments or status updates. Switching to official app for viewing comment replies until this is fixed.

  35. joe says:

    What happened to the streak of updates were on? Not even a blog update. I’m still getting up to 5 alerts for the same notification. Meanwhile, native app improved greatly. Would love to know what’s up…

    • Patrick says:

      It really is a shame that development has stopped. As I have thought in the past, the updates were brought on by competing products. Now that their updates have stopped, so have Bloo’s.

      The features have stalled, and the complaints about bugs and implementations have gone unanswered. This is the reason why I have abandoned this application. The only reason I still check this blog is the fact that I hope that there will be some announcement of a great improvement or new feature that will restore my faith in the program. But that was lost months ago …

  36. Raymond says:

    Can’t see who likes other friend’s posts or anyone’s photos including our own, can’t add friends, can’t tag in friend’s photos, can’t change profile picture, can’t view tagged photos of yourself or friends. Little things like that. You’re doing a good job though I know you’ll get to these things when you can.

  37. Caitlin says:

    Photo uploads are not working for me. Bloo says it went through, but when you go to see the actual photo nothing is there, but the comment is. Just a head’s up! I love this application by the way!

  38. Dave says:

    Multiple repeat notifications is absolutely ruining this app. Please fix it!

  39. Laura says:

    I was wondering the same thing. I still don’t get a notification when someone comments on my status or pictures, but I get all sorts of multiple notifications that I do not want. Guess I’ll go back to using the native FB app. It would be really nice to get a Bloo update!

  40. Alec says:

    Great app as everyone else had mentioned. The limitations you face are things that can’t be helped on your part and like someone else said there will always be people who don’t look for the answer before yelling about it.

    As for Bloo being native and wanting to prevent links for messaging(inbox), do you think you could implement the feature to turn something like that on and just have it turned off by default?

    I realize that might not be something you want or even can do but I thought I would throw it out there. lol

    Thanks for the best facebook app I’ve come across.

  41. Alex says:

    Great app. One suggestion: could you possibly change the app icon to something that more closely resembles the Facebook logo? The native Facebook app on the Droid has a perfect icon. If you can perhaps mimic it?

  42. John says:

    my wife is unable to upload any videos using the bloo app on her mytouch 3g, but i am able to upload videos using my motorola cliq. on her mytouch it goes all the way to 100% uploaded and then throws up error message “an error occurred while processing your request”

    can someone tell me why i am able to upload on my cliq but not the mytouch.

    other than this i have no issues with the app

  43. andy says:

    it’s been so long since the last update. so is this dead?

  44. Merlin says:

    Just in the past week I have been getting duplicate notifications for all my stuff (wall posts, comments, etc). It has been getting a little annoying! Any ideas why its happening??

  45. Patrick says:

    Hrm … It’s been since 11 Dec 2009 since Dmitiris has commented on this blog. It’s almost looking as if Bloo is dead. Has anyone else heard any response to the comments, or to the bugs regarding notifications? It seems as if either he has abandoned the program, or he does not care about his users and likes to keep them in the dark about any work he might be doing.

    Maybe it’s a good thing I haven’t installed Bloo on my new device yet … nor do I plan to!

  46. Bloo Hater says:

    There is another app named facebook that has an inbox feature. Also, Fbook used to do it too. LIAR!!!! This app was a rip off from the start!!

  47. aimee says:

    ok so this used to be the best fb app by far now all of a sudden there’s no updates and everythings gone downhill. It didn’t even notify me of 7 notifications last night and this morning ?! What’s goin on? Has the dev died or something? This used to be my fave app now they all suck even the mobile website is getting so many page errors on Droid. So disappointed😦 hope this app gets a serious overhaul, and SOON. Anybody know of any good free fb apps? Apparently babbler isn’t made for moto droid, so I’m lost w/o my fb😦 boooo hissss

    • Ian says:

      More than likely, it’s a Facebook issue. If the site starts having problem, then all the apps will suffer too.

      To be honest, Bloo still works fine for me. It has missed the odd notification, but it still picks up the majority of stuff I get.

      I know Dimitris has said that he wouldn’t be able to work on this as much as he used to, hence the reason why he went free with the app, but i’m still needing that Widget.😦

      • aimee says:

        Come How bloo never notifies me of inbox msgs? I’ve had to set up text alerts so that I don’t miss them. And when people make a comment on a photo how come I always get an error??? Then it just throws me to whoever made the comments profile???? I can comment on photos, upload, like and pretty much everything else. It does miss notifications now and again but the 7 was the highest missed in one night. It just never says hey new inbox msg! Grrr

  48. wayne says:

    I hated to do it, but I switched to the “official” app. I miss the refresh button from bloo’s notifications and I really wanted a widget. I am one of the many who purchased the app (for me and for my wife so x2). I don’t know what happened but the stagnation has led to it falling behind

  49. Tony Bullard says:

    Not sure where to properly report bugs, so I’ll do it here.

    I’m having issues with getting notifications I’ve already checked. It comes back over and over again.

  50. Patrick says:

    6 1/2 weeks ago since Dimitrius posted anything. It really seems that Bloo has fallen into abandonware. Especially considering the limited Facebook integration that is offered, as well as his lack of responding to customers’ questions. Just because he decided to make his application free does not mean that he has no more responsibility to those who actually purchased Bloo.

    Not only that, but the features that Bloo claims to offer are lacking, and notifications are hindered. Where is the TRUE Facebook app we were all promised?!

    • Ian says:

      Seriously man, you’ve made your point. You’re getting kind of boring now.

    • jax says:

      PATRICK STFU!!! I’M SO sick of you!! You paid an effing dollar dude!! But I think I unfortunately just gave you what you want..attention…Dimitris, don’t respond to this lunatic..and posters I beg of you not to.. The only reason I did this time is to beg of you not to..ignore this idiot..he a lonely desperate person..

  51. chosen_one1 says:

    Well he posted on his facebook that a update coming this weekend .. so lets see what he has in store

  52. Paul Kopalek says:

    Almost every single time I look at my Feed, Wall, Events, Friends, etc, I get ‘Request timeout —- The Facebook server is not responding, you may retry your request. If the problem persists, check your data connection and facebook server status.’.

    When I click ‘Retry’, it often pops right back up, a second later. After anywhere between 0 and 5 ‘Retry’s, my feed/profile/whatever comes up just fine.

    No other apps or websites or synchronizations have a problem with my data. Over the mobile network. Strange on my Eris!

  53. mcab says:

    Are you done working on Bloo Dimitri???

  54. Tristan says:

    man, I hope he blows us away with any future updates (also hope he updates the icon to match android 2.1 better) but yea…cause this silence has been ridiculous, and I know hes not required ot be deadlined but at least speak…

    Bloo has been the best so far, the official app caught up in many aspects…lets hope bloo can reign supreme again.

  55. Patrick says:

    Now that Facebook has opened up their chat servers, is Bloo finally going to offer what other Facebook clients have had from the beginning?

  56. amir Ajani says:

    I sure do miss blooMan

  57. damo says:

    Used this for a while way back then went to use babbler. Just come back to this and love it, far better than babbler since the updates. Speed is much quicker now. Only request would be to change the notification icon.

  58. Lame says:

    fuckin lame developer hurry the fuck up with a new version dumb bitch

  59. Miguel says:

    What a lame Dev. In over 2 months not even a damn “sorry” or notification of cease of support for Bloo. This guy has no good business sense and worst of all, no class.

  60. Ron says:

    Miguel I can see the no good business sense comment, but where does class come into play here. I think you are a tad bitter over this disappointing lack of information.

  61. Apostol Apostolov says:

    Am I late to the party to rave about Facebook Chat Jabber support? I guess now it is possible for Bloo to implement Facebook Chat via XMPP, even if it is possible also to implement it via any other third party XMPP client and have it running outside Bloo.

  62. Kyle says:

    I don’t agree with all of the brash criticism of the dev, since he’s obviously putting in his own time to make this, although as others have said, I’d appreciate an update of some sort letting us know exactly what’s going on.

    We were told of great changes coming to Bloo in the next update on Dec. 8 and suddenly nothing. The official facebook app is starting to catch up and Bloo is losing the edge that put it so far ahead.

  63. Fre says:

    For those who paid the 1$ we got more than what we paid for. I just hate looking forward to something that was promised two months ago that never came. He doesn’t have to do anything..its his time he’s giving up for free..I would pay for more if it meant he would keep his word…at least once..

  64. chris says:

    i wonder, just a quick question, there rly is great potential in this app but will there ever be an update again?, afaik facebook chat servers are open now…

  65. jermaine says:

    Guys!!! A UPDATE WAS JUS RELEASED!!!! GO GET IT QUICK!!! LOL

  66. Kyle says:

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you for the update! I was contemplating switching (grudgingly) to the official Facebook app because I thought they had shut you down!

    You’re awesome. Keep up the good work and thank you so much for the time you put into keeping this app around.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: