A Photo a Day, On Facebook

1117 - Nov 17thThis will probably take more than one post to cover, but I thought I’d give it a little quick start. The final result: An automated way to feature new photo on a Facebook page or profile stream.

The Photos

There’s going to be some prep work on all those photos you’re going to need, but I’ll save that for another time. I already amassed my 366 photos for a daily calendar project, so that part was already taken care of. Those photos are hosted on Flickr and tagged with an individual date code. For example, the image in this post here is tagged with ‘c1117’ for November 17th.

Now, you don’t need to follow that tag approach, and you certainly don’t need a full year’s worth of photos to start with, but it’s one less thing you need to worry about later.

The Feed

Next up, you need a feed to serve up those files photos at regular intervals – such as every 24 hours.  For me, that’s where the date coded tags on Flickr came into play. Using the Flickr API, I easily created an RSS feed for a daily photo that you can actually subscribe to over at my Maui Photo Day Calendar website. It’s just a PHP file that determines the current date, and pulls the latest week worth of photos by their tags.

Other than the photo selection and tagging, this feed page is really the only code that you’ll need to right. Pretty simple.

The Delivery

So, you have the photos and the feed, all you have to do is tell Facebook about it.  For that, you can use just about any of the RSS applications on Facebook. I am happy with the Networked Blogs application, which many of my friends also use for their blog-to-Facebook needs.

Just plug in your Feed URL from the step above, and the app will take care of the work for you.  Depending on the Facebook app you choose, your mileage will vary as to when throughout the day your photo will be posted. If you’re not happy with the results, go ahead and try another app.  For me, I wasn’t too particular, so I just stuck with Networked Blogs.

The Result

If you want to see the final result, head over to my Maui by Photo page on Facebook.  It’s that easy.

If you do happen to be technically inclined and familiar with the Flickr API, take a look at this post that has more details about the API methods I’m using for the calendar project. They’re pretty much the same ones used in the feed, too.

With stuff like this, the sky really is the limit. I happen to be using this same set of imagery for an iPhone mobile web app, a WordPress Plugin, and looking into a Android widget. More details on those projects in the months to come.

Have Fun

If you do happen to implement something like this – whether it’s Facebook or anywhere else – please let me know and I’d love to check it out. If you’ve done something similar with a different technique or have another idea, feel free to share that, too. There is no right or wrong way to skin this cat, and the more ideas, the better.

– Kris

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About Kris

Programming since age 14, professional software engineer Kris Nelson practices his life motto of "Never stop learning" by developing websites and Apps around his passions, while staying current with trends in technology and social media.