Skip to main content

Secure Facebook Apps on Google App Engine

A few weeks ago, I asked a friend of mine if he'd mind testing a Facebook app, (MapMyFriends) that I was working on. It's a simple little app that maps the locations of your Faceboook friends on a Google Earth plugin. the app has grown and now it will fly you through a global tour of all your friend's photos displaying them on the globe where they were taken... But I digress.

My buddy came back with the rather unexpected response that my app wasn't setup for secure browsing on Facebook and he couldn't see it at all. This led me into a few days of work to make the app secure. I've included my notes below in case you run into the same issues I did.

First: It's not difficult
You'll find lots of documentation on OAuth 2.0 and user authentication, but at the end of the day you probably don't need it. You've already setup account login however you want it in Facebook right? If all you want is an application that communicates back to the Google App Engine Servers over a secure connection, all you need is to add the following lines to your app.yaml file for each address that you would like to serve over a secure connection.

- url: /fbapps/stechtest
  secure: always

I made a separate address for my secure connections just so the unsecured application wouldn't consume the resources necessary for SSL unnecessarily. Within my file, both the normal and the ssl addresses are routed to the same handler like this.

                                          ('/fbapps/techtest', FBTester),
                                          ('/fbapps/stechtest', FBTester),

This is important: The handler wasn't modified at all. All of the SSL work is handled outside of your handler. That's it, you're done! Except for making sure the scripts you call in are also secure.

Securing Javascript Libraries
When I converted my app, I performed all the above steps, set my Facebook account to secure browsing and went back to my site. Upon arriving I received the message "This page has insecure content". I selected the recommended choice of not loading the insecure content and found that the Google Earth plugin and the Google Adsense ads didn't load. Fixing the plugin was easy. I just referenced the secure version of, so:

became The map reappeared on my next load.

For now your Google AdSense code will always show up as insecure. You can read more about it at:

If you're using Google Maps instead of Google Earth check out the following link for the path to the secure libraries:
Picture of the Day
From 6/6/12


Popular posts from this blog

Cool Math Tricks: Deriving the Divergence, (Del or Nabla) into New (Cylindrical) Coordinate Systems

The following is a pretty lengthy procedure, but converting the divergence, (nabla, del) operator between coordinate systems comes up pretty often. While there are tables for converting between common coordinate systems, there seem to be fewer explanations of the procedure for deriving the conversion, so here goes!

What do we actually want?

To convert the Cartesian nabla

to the nabla for another coordinate system, say… cylindrical coordinates.

What we’ll need:

1. The Cartesian Nabla:

2. A set of equations relating the Cartesian coordinates to cylindrical coordinates:

3. A set of equations relating the Cartesian basis vectors to the basis vectors of the new coordinate system:

How to do it:

Use the chain rule for differentiation to convert the derivatives with respect to the Cartesian variables to derivatives with respect to the cylindrical variables.

The chain rule can be used to convert a differential operator in terms of one variable into a series of differential operators in terms of othe…

Lost Phone

We were incredibly lucky to have both been in university settings when our kids were born.  When No. 1 arrived, we were both still grad students.  Not long after No. 2 arrived, (about 10 days to be exact), mom-person defended her dissertation and gained the appellation prependage Dr. 

While there are lots of perks attendant to grad school, not the least of them phenomenal health insurance, that’s not the one that’s come to mind for me just now.  The one I’m most grateful for at the moment with respect to our kids was the opportunities for sheer independence.  Most days, we’d meet for lunch on the quad of whatever university we were hanging out at at the time, (physics research requires a bit of travel), to eat lunch.  During those lunches, the kids could crawl, toddle, or jog off into the distance.  There were no roads, and therefore no cars.  And, I realize now with a certain wistful bliss I had no knowledge of at the time, there were also very few people at hand that new what a baby…

Lab Book 2014_07_10 More NaI Characterization

Summary: Much more plunking around with the NaI detector and sources today.  A Pb shield was built to eliminate cosmic ray muons as well as potassium 40 radiation from the concreted building.  The spectra are much cleaner, but still don't have the count rates or distinctive peaks that are expected.
New to the experiment?  Scroll to the bottom to see background and get caught up.
Lab Book Threshold for the QVT is currently set at -1.49 volts.  Remember to divide this by 100 to get the actual threshold voltage. A new spectrum recording the lines of all three sources, Cs 137, Co 60, and Sr 90, was started at approximately 10:55. Took data for about an hour.
Started the Cs 137 only spectrum at about 11:55 AM

Here’s the no-source background from yesterday
In comparison, here’s the 3 source spectrum from this morning.

The three source spectrum shows peak structure not exhibited by the background alone. I forgot to take scope pictures of the Cs137 run. I do however, have the printout, and…