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fbcmd

Facebook from the Command-line, FB Broke FBCMD

By Burt Henry

Important Notice

Facebook in its continuing agressive efforts to keep people on the FB website for as much time as possible disabled API conponents that allowed FBCMD to interact with a user's Facebook account. In other words, FBCMD is no longer usable. For now this article is left for historical purposes.

Bitlbee Pidgin and Thunderbird among other applications still allow for easy and accessible chatting on Facebook, but most other interaction is onlly possible via a browser and the Facebook website. You can still do some things via email, but FB seems to have finally taken away all of our stand alone desktop apps that used to save users, especially those of us who need screenreaders, much time and or frustration in our dealings with FB. Be aware that that one now needs to install a new/special plugin to use pidgin with facebook chat, i.e. the xmpp facebook account type/protocol no longer works. Bitlbee also requires a new Facebook plugin for FB chat. Thunderbird continues to work with no need to modify configuration.

The original article begins below.

I have picked what I believe is the easiest way to install "fbcmd", a fast and user friendly way to use facebook from the command line. You'll need to know your friends' names for some features but the commands themselves are pretty easy to remember after having used them a few times. Ive written everything so that if you like you can copy and paste commands directly in to a Terminal or Console except for your auth code which you get from your web-browser and may of course paste it from there.

While some FBCMD commands still work there have been many major changes in the Facebook APIs since this guide was originally written, some of which have broken important functionality. There was one major rewrite of FBCMD a couple of years ago, but many of the changes on FB's side have occurred since then, and there is another major update to FBCMD being coded in as I write this. Fortunately both m.facebook.com and the main facebook site are easier to use with the assistive tech available to us as Linux-users now than they were when I started using FBCMD in early 2011. I recommend Lynx or similar CLI web-browsers for use with the mobile site, and most things are quite doable with Firefox/Orca on the main site.

Dependencies and Installation

We will be working in the Terminal. To open the Terminal press "Ctrl+Alt+t".

As "fbcmd" is not in any of the Vinux repositories, we will have to get it from the Internet and install it ourselves.

  1. install php:
        sudo apt-get update
        sudo apt-get install php5-cli
  2. Here are two different ways to download and install "fbcmd":

Using curl

  1. Type:
    curl -O https://raw.github.com/dtompkins/fbcmd/master/fbcmd_update.php
  2. Now type, pressing "enter" after each line:
    sudo php fbcmd_update.php
    sudo php fbcmd_update.php install

Using wget and zip

  1. Obtain the zip file containing the "fbcmd" files. Type:
             wget https://github.com/dtompkins/fbcmd/zipball/master
  2. Unzip the file by typing:
    unzip master
  3. Execute the following two commands to install "fbcmd". Hint The path to access these files is long. Type the first few characters of the folder name. Press "Tab". The command line will fill as much of the file name as it can. Type more characters and press "Tab" again. Repeat as needed until the entire file name is present. Type:
    sudo php ~/dtompkins-fbcmd-5fc0332/fbcmd_update.php 
    sudo php ~/dtompkins-fbcmd-5fc0332/fbcmd_update.php install

Test Your Installation

Try the "fbcmd" command. Type:

            fbcmd

If all is well with your installation you will see a little bit of help which will describe what happens next.

Basic Access and Authorization

You'll need to authorize this program to use your Facebook data.

  1. Type:
    fbcmd go access
  2. you will have your default browser open to a standard Facebook "allow access" page. if you want to allow this app to bare your soul to your virtual friends type:
    fbcmd go auth
  3. You will be given a six-character symbol code. mine was four uppercase letters and two numbers. Type the following, substituting your code for "XXX34":
    fbcmd auth XXXX34
  4. Now you will be prompted to give access permission for lots of individual features all at once by typing a general default set-up command. Type:
    fbcmd addperm

Now you will be given a totally insane list of things you can access from the command-line with "fbcmd". Congrats, you've made it. Just type fbcmd in your terminal and you will receive a list of your basic "fbcmd" commands. The help is good so you can use Facebook without waiting for painfully slow webpages to load and refresh. >

Commands

Your interaction with Facebook will be handled by commands issued from the command line. The output will be on your terminal screen. Rill likes to redirect this output to a file. You can do this by adding the following to your commands. Note: You will need a space before the ">" and "gedit" is a handy editor to use to read the file.

   >fbcmd.txt

Your output is in three columns:

  1. A number followed by your friend's name.
  2. The type of post.
  3. the post. Status updates will be presented as a few words per line because of the columns.

Some of the commands require the use of the number. It is a reference point. Once you execute another command which generates a new set of numbers your previous numbers do not apply.

Examples

  • To post your status:
    fbcmd status "Fancy this: I'm writing from the command line of Vinux!"
  • To get the last ten items in your stream:
     fbcmd stream

    If you want only status updates, type:

    fbcmd stream 4
  • To see a particular friend's stream:
     fbcmd fstream "John Q. Public"

    Note:You must match "John Q. Public"'s name exactly. If you typed "John Public" it wouldn't match.

  • To post on your friend's wall:
                      
    fbcmd wallpost "John Q. Public" "You're doing a great job representing us all."
  • To comment on the third item in your stream:
    fbcmd comment 3 "Hey, I have a comment to make on your status."
  • You can like item 6:
    fbcmd like 6
  • Check your notifications:
      fbcmd notify

You can find out more information about fbcmd at http://fbcmd.dtompkins.com Check the "commands" section.

Rill and Storm Dragon contributed to this article.

fbcmd.txt · Last modified: 2015/07/16 23:26 by Burt Henry