When it comes to authentication options, eFront really has you spoiled for choice.
First, there’s eFront’s perfectly good built-in authentication mechanism, which is both really easy to use and quite flexible — with support for numerous security options, from expiring passwords to hostname restrictions.
Then, there is eFront’s turn-key support for LDAP and Active Directory-based Single-Sign On, as well as its support for the industry standard Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), that allows administrators to integrate it with all kinds of identity providers.
In this post we’ll have a look at yet another authentication option — integrating eFront with Facebook, so that you can have your users log in through their Facebook accounts.
Facebook you say?
Whether one personally likes the service or not, there’s no arguing that Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform.
It’s also, along with Google, a very popular identity provider — allowing users to use their Facebook account for logging in to all kinds of third party sites and services.
By setting up eFront’s integration with Facebook you give users that already have a Facebook account (in other words, nearly everybody on the internet) a way to immediately log in to your learning portal without having to sign up for (and remember) yet another account.
So how would you go about it?
Getting your Facebook on
Configuring eFront for Facebook authentication is quite easy to achieve. You don’t need to mess with programming APIs — or programming in general, and you certainly don’t need a rocket science degree, or an IT department to set it all up.
Just follow this series of simple steps, and you’ll be good to go.
1) The first step is to log in to the Facebook developers website, using your Facebook username and password (you might want to create a Facebook account just for your learning portal that is distinct from your personal account to keep them nicely separated — but that’s not by any means a requirement).
2) Within Facebook’s developers website, move your mouse to the top right corner of the page, click on the dropdown titled “My Apps”, and select “Add a new app” from the list that appears.
3) A pop up window will, well, pop up, asking you what type of app you want to create and for which platform this new app will be. Select the option “Website”, and give a name to your new app — “eFront App” would be a good one.
4) Now click on the “Create New Facebook App Id” button, enter a contact email, select a category for your app (“Education” or “Business” both sound apt), and click “Create App ID”.
5) Facebook will ask you to give the Site URL for your Facebook app — enter your eFront url here, and click next.
With your Facebook App created and configured, you’re almost there — now you just need to grab the newly created app’s details and enter them into eFront.
6) Select your newly created app from the list of your Facebook Apps (unless you’ve created others, it should be the only one). You can go there either by clicking the “Skip to Developer Dashboard” link or by opening the applications list from the top right corner of your screen.
This will get you to the app’s dashboard, where you can find the s App ID and App Secret. Open eFront’s admin screen in another tab, and get ready for a little copying.
7) Copy and paste the App ID and App Secret from Facebook into your eFront’s Facebook configuration panel (you’ll find it in “Settings” -> “Integrations”). Toggle the option to “Enable Facebook Login” on and click save.
And that’s it.
It really took more time for me to describe the whole process than it will take you to go through these steps.
To verify that your newly configured Facebook – eFront integration is working properly, visit your eFront’s login screen — you should now see a Facebook “Log In” button just below the regular “Sign In” form.
From now on, your users will be able to login to eFront with their Facebook account — and they’ll still be available as regular users in eFront for you to manage, assign courses to, etc.
Keep in mind that the first time a user tries this option, they’ll be asked to authorize your app to work with their FB account. That’s just an one-time thing though, with which the majority of your users will already be familiar from having used FB authentication with other services.
Oh, and another thing to keep in mind is that Facebook authentication works only for “verified” Facebook accounts — which is good, I’d say, as you won’t be getting spam accounts registering to your learning portal.
In this post we had a look at yet another of the numerous available options for integrating eFront.
Configuring Facebook authentication for your eFront-based Learning and Talent Development portal enables users to login to your service without having to create and remember yet another special-purpose username and password pair. Why not give them that convenience?