Managing AutoTweet NG component. Case study: BITSPEC
All of us know that the joomla extension components help us to improve the web site development experience. Most of them are free, and the documentation is not available from developers. If you want to access support, you have to pay for component and for a limited time support. This is ok for finalizing all the component installations issues. The future problems will arise when a new version will be released, or if a new joomla update will make the component to work hard or not at all.
The first experience with Bitspec already installed components was a very useful component that was supposed to post on all the Bitspec’s social channels (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – for now) the link for the every new article published on bitspec website. This Component is AutoTweet, with AutoTeetNG Component and AutoTweet post plug-in (for automate publishing). The installed version was 6.6.0 and I had to find why the component doesn’t publish on LinkedIn Company account, and for the others accounts do. The major question was why not today and four days ago yes? What was changed in a few days? Maybe at LinkedIn, because it was happened the same in the past. The first thing was to recreate another application al LinkedIn, for changing the tokens and passwords. The result was an error, the company name was unlisted and the article not published.
I found the same problem on the developer free forum. The final solution was not posted there, so I tried to ask the component support staff. But they asked for transaction ID, because the support was only for subscribers. I dropped this track and I asked on developer free forum. They were in Europe and it was already night time there. I have to find a solution myself. My restriction was that I have not to make any site modification yet. And I already made one, I’ve read that in the free version only two channels is available, and we have three. I unpublished the twitter channel and he suddenly disappears! So I have to re-create the twitter channel again.
But I have many test sites on other servers, so I tried to find if I can recreate the same scenario on my website. I’ve put the same version component on my site. The result for the LinkedIn Channel was the same. I tried even a AutoTweetNG nulled script component for testing if there a license restriction or not. The result was the same: error.
I finally tried to use the updated free component for my site, and VOILA! It works! Then I came back to Bitspec Admin panel and I uninstalled the 6.6.0 version, and put the free 7.1.1 version. The channel was up and publishing the new articles on LinkedIn and Facebook social accounts.
And then I found what the major change was in this free version: Since I already have two channels active, I have no add new channel button! I couldn’t install a PRO version without buying it, this is illegal. Then I observed that the Facebook and LinkedIn data channels for connecting with applications were preserved in this forms. So, I could use the data from the mysql database. Remember, my concern was that I’ve lost the connections data – passwords and tokens – for twitter channel. I’ve found in the table and I observed the new and old data applications still there. I saved in a file all the important data and tried to find how I could add the twitter channel even in this free version (the third channel). And I’ve found a field in the table named “published” with 0 in it. When I change it in 1, all of the channels were up and alive! I think this method is suitable for adding other channels to this component (google+, another FB, Tweeter, LinkedIn accounts etc). Simply unpublish one channel, adding another, verify if this is ok and publish old channel again (change field from 0 to 1). This is a HACK? Yes, it is, I presume.