I have to admit that I’m a huge fan of Facebook. Since I’m almost always working on the computer, it’s one of the fastest ways that I can stay up to speed with what’s going on in my extended family’s lives. I can see pictures of their vacations, celebrate their accomplishments, and share our own lives with them as well.
It may seem unfortunate that people are now using Facebook to stay in touch far more than phones or letters like they used to, but on the flip side, I think Facebook is leading to people staying more in touch and more connected to family than they ever did before. In my book, that’s a good thing.
This is why, anything I can do to make accessing Facebook more convenient is a good thing. One thing that I’ve always disliked about Facebook is that I always have to open a browser or some desktop application just to do something as simple as posting my status. When you think about it, posting a status is nothing more than passing text to a server and posting it online – why aren’t there more convenient tools to post status updates from a desktop?
I’m pleased to say that there most certainly is a faster way, and it’s called FBCMD – short for Facebook Command Line tool.
Installing Facebook Command Line Tool
It’s exactly what it sounds like – a command line tool that you can use right from your desktop to not only publish your own status updates to Facebook, but even to check your Facebook stream, look up data about your friends, and even check their online status. You can do all of this by doing nothing more than opening a command prompt on your computer and quickly typing a command.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not, and I’ll show you how.
The first thing you need to do is install PHP on your computer for your operating system. If you’re running Windows like I am, choose an installer from the PHP download page and install it. Make sure to select the “Do not setup a web server” option.
Also make sure the Curl and OpenSSL features get installed as well.
When the installation finishes, reboot your computer so that the PHP system environment variable takes effect. Then, open a command prompt and make sure PHP is properly installed by typing :
php -r "echo phpversion();"
The response should show you the version of PHP that you’ve installed.
Next, install FBCMD by downloading the right installation file for your operating system. When the installation is done, it’ll open a command prompt that looks something like the picture below.
Now you need to properly provide your new Facebook Command application with permissions to access all features of your Facebook account. The first command you need to type is
fbcmd go access
This will open Facebook’s basic app access permission page. Just click on “Go to App” and you should see “Success“.
After that, go to your command prompt again and type :
fbcmd go auth
This will open a Facebook page with an authorization code on it. Go back to your command prompt and type :
fbcmd auth xxxxxx
(replacing the x’s with your code).
When that is done, you should see the “auth code accepted” message.
Next, you need to add extended permissions to your FBCMD app. So, to do this, you need to type :
This will open the Facebook page asking you if you give permission to the FBCMD app for all of the features it needs to access to perform all of its commands.
Once you accept the permissions request on your Facebook account, the full installation of FBCMD on your computer is done. You can now issue a very comprehensive list of commands to access your Facebook account right from your desktop.
Using FBCMD Commands From Your Desktop
I have to say that this app has to be the most convenient way I’ve ever accessed Facebook from my computer. You don’t have to open a browser or a desktop application. All you have to do is issue a command from your Windows command prompt or from the run menu. Here’s what it looks to issue a post from the command tool.
If the post is successful, you’ll see a POST_ID returned.
The post will immediately show up on your Facebook account – very cool!
There are lots of other commands available – far too many for me to cover in this article, so make sure to check out the documentation that details all of the commands available. Some of the most commonly used commands include checking the last 10 status updates of any of your friends with the command:
fbcmd FLAST "<friend's name>" 10"
You can issue the “fbcmd FONLINE” command to check out which of your friends are currently logged into Facebook with an “online” status.
Why bother asking all of your family and friends for their birthday, when you can just issue the “fbcmd FINFO birthday_date =all” command and see the birthdays for all of your Facebook friends!
Want to get a quick glance at what your friends are up to on Facebook without opening a browser? Just open your command prompt and type :
fbcmd FSTATUS =all
and see the latest status updates for all of your Facebook friends!
To add even more convenience, I decided to write up a little batch job icon on my desktop that I could just click, type a new Facebook status update, and it would instantly update my Facebook account for me. This is really easy – just put the following script into a “.bat” file (on Windows).
set INPUT= set /P INPUT=Type input: %=% fbcmd POST "%INPUT%"
Save that to your desktop or wherever is most convenient for you.
Now, when you click the file, it’ll prompt you to enter input. Just type in what you want for your new Facebook status update, and the batch job will issue the FBCMD command for you.
Here’s proof that it works!
Using FBCMD commands has to be one of the coolest ways to access Facebook. In fact I’m already dreaming up ways to incorporate these FBCMD commands into some nifty little VB windows scripts that could pull of some really cool automated Facebook functions. But that’s a post for another day.
Do you think issue Facebook status updates from a command prompt is something you would use? Have you ever tried FBCMD? Give the tool a shot and let us know what you think in the comments section below!
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