FaceBook and BES Express

Not too long ago we told you that Research In Motion had released BES Express, but I found my first problem with it soon after.  As you may or may not know, the latest FaceBook application for BlackBerry allows you to connect FaceBook to your calendar and contacts.  If you are not on a BES (or BPS/BES Express), this works ‘right out of the box’.  If you are on a BES of any sort, there is a special IT policy that controls whether FaceBook can connect to your organizer data.  If the BES does not have the policy (older versions of BES require a free policy add-on for this, it’s included in BES 5.0), then the settings will be grayed out on your handheld.  This is also the case when the policy is enabled (the IT policy in question is Disable Organizer Data Access for Social Networking Applications, which can be added to BES/BPS 4.1.X by following the instructions in this KB article).

Although BES Express is based on BES 5.0.1, the IT policy is not included, and you will need to download the ATTValueAddedApplications-PolicyPack.zip from that KB article mentioned above.  It has an XML file that must be imported into BES Express from the BlackBerry Administration Console (Policy–>Manage IT policy Rules–>Import IT policy definitions).  After the import, there will be a new section when you view the Complete IT policy labeled RIM Value-Added Applications, and this is where you will find the IT policy, Disable Organizer Data Access for Social Networking Applications.  As long as this IT policy rule exists or is set to No, connected BlackBerry smartphones should be able to connect their FaceBook friends to BlackBerry contacts, as well as connect their FaceBook calendar to the calendar on their handheld.

For more information on this specific IT policy, please refer to BlackBerry KB article 18427.

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  1. BES-EX-user
    July 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks, took me a while before finding this….

    Quick question, after doing this process, do we have to restart services, wipe, or something for the policy to take effect?

    Thanks again!

    Like

    • July 24, 2010 at 7:30 pm

      You don’t need to restart anything, you just have to either wait for the IT Policy to refresh, or you can click on intividual BESx users and resend the IT Policy to make it go a little faster.

      Like

  2. November 7, 2010 at 1:08 am

    cant find the import policy on BES Expres 5.0.2
    did they take it out ?

    Like

  3. November 10, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I just upgraded our BES Express to 5.0.2.29, and you’re right…it’s gone! Perhaps it is built into this version? Go to Policy–>IT Policy–>Default–>View Complete IT Policy. Since the policies are not there, and the Import option is missing, login and then go to this URL (replace with the hostname or FQDN of your BESx):

    https://:3443/webconsole/app?component=goToImportPageLink&page=ManageITPolicyRules&service=direct&session=T&sp=SImportITPolicyUserDefinedTemplateItem&sp=X&sp=X&sp=X

    This is a backdoor to the policy import, but it just generates an error when I try (which could be because they removed the import option, or could be because I’ve already imported it before).

    One last thing…are the options actually grayed out in your FaceBook application?

    Like

  4. FNC
    November 16, 2010 at 4:35 am

    I am also running Express 5.0.2.29. I tried to import the policy with the link you mentioned, but I also get a error.
    It seems that the import option is disabled in Express.

    Is there any other way to get around this?

    I would really like to connect my FB calender to my BB.

    Like

  5. Jason
    December 6, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Anyone get this to work in the latest version of BESExpress or is this a dead subject?

    Like

    • December 17, 2010 at 10:00 am

      I apologize, Jason, I just saw this comment. We recently moved into a new office and things have been pretty hectic, so I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting the blog a little. What version of BESx are you running? I have ours up to 5.0.2.29, and I just upgraded my Tour to the latest official OS build, and it made me re-accept the FaceBook EULA and login. My options for Calendar/Contact integration are all grayed out again, and without the IT Policy import options, I’m at a loss. I am still waiting to hear back from our RIM contact, and I will let you know what I find out. This is a bit ridiculous that the feature was silently removed, and why FaceBook templates would only be in the full BES product is beyond me.

      Like

  6. Etai
    January 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Any news?
    we have BESx version 5.0.2.29
    did any one found a solution for this issue?

    Like

  7. January 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I’ve been working on this off and on, but so far I have not found a resolution yet :/

    Like

  8. Louis
    January 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I’m also on 5.0.2.29 and hoping for a fix. Tried everything suggested on numerous google searches, still not working. I’m subscribing to this thread. I hate you RIM for that.

    Like

  9. January 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I had asked around on some other forums, but never really found a solution. It hadn’t been bothering me too terribly, and I’ve stayed busy with other projects, but now there are 5 people looking for some help on this (in this thread anyway), so I may just dedicate some time this week to compare SQL traces between BESx 5.0.1 and 5.0.2 to see what changed. Since I can get to the IT Policy Definition import screen from the direct link (see my previous comment), I’m hoping there is just something in the database that disabled this feature…but that’s just a hunch. If I figure something out or hear back from my contact at RIM, I will be sure to update this thread for everyone (so check back often or subscribe).

    Like

  10. Simon Baker
    February 15, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Also pondering this one and subscribing to this thread so that our marketing people are able to track their promotions through Facebook. At least thats what they say they are doing!

    Like

  11. February 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve been trying to reverse engineer the SQL database to see where IT Policy definitions are stored and how they are referenced, but I haven’t had much luck. I looked at a working setup of 5.0.1.4 to see that the only mentions (that I found) of the imported policy definitions were in dbo.BASAuditEventDetails, dbo.BASLocalNamesAndDescriptions, and dbo.BASITPolicyTemplate2. The only one that seemed to contain useful data was in dbo.BASITPolicyTemplate2. The values in it seemed to correlate to the XML that you are supposed to import (the Tag and SubTag fields were exactly the same as the XML), so I manually added the corresponding rows to my post-SP2 BESx, restarted all BES services, resent IT Policy changes to my handheld, uninstalled FaceBook, rebooted and reinstalled FaceBook.

    Sadly, all that was in vain, as I still cannot sync my contacts/calendar with FaceBook…but I’m not giving up yet!

    Like

  12. Drew Tauber
    February 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I just went from BES 4.2 to BESX 5.0.2 and lost my Facebook integration. Very sad!

    I knew there would be fewer policies when we moved to Express, but I assumed they’d be policies that would give admins options to make devices more restrictive. THis is a policy that doesn’t let me make our devices more open. That seems crazy to me.

    Maybe we’ll get lucky in BESX 5.0.3

    Like

  13. March 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I think we might get this back in BESx 5.0.3. I forgot to post it here, but I did end up hearing back from RIM (I opened a TS incident):

    I can understand your frustration and your points are valid. It seems this was an oversight. However we do have a feature enhancement request addressing the issue to include the it policy related to “Organizer Data Access for Social Networking Applications” in future release of BES express. I have checked if there is any workaround or SQL script available to make it work in the mean time. Unfortunately I could not find any. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

    If I am reading that right, BESx 5.0.3 is supposed to revive this policy, so we will see…

    Like

    • Rich Gardos
      March 25, 2011 at 11:55 am

      I am also currently using BESX and installed the Facebook v2.0 beta yesterday. I instantly notice the greyed out options and figured I’d quickly resolve as I had in the past and noticed there was no longer a way to import the RIM value add policy to solve. I can’t believe they removed this capability. Hopefully BESX 5.0.3 will solve as indicated above. Any idea when it comes out? I will subscribe to this thread as I’m anxious to find out when it will be fixed….

      Like

  14. March 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    While I do like that this blog is starting to get some followers, I wish it were for other reasons. I have not heard anything official on BES 5.0.3 for Premium or Express users, but there is an article over at BerryReview (http://www.berryreview.com/2011/02/21/bes-5-0-premium-service-pack-3-coming-in-marchapril/) that hints to an imminent release for Premium users. While the release data has not been confirmed (nor has the FaceBook fix been confirmed for 5.0.3), it’s hard to say when we will see this for Express users, but I would keep an eye on BerryReview as they usually have stuff like that posted as soon as it is leaked/released.

    As soon as I get my hands on BES 5.0.3, I will be installing and testing to see if this FaceBook/LinkedIn issue is resolved.

    Like

  15. Scott Barnett
    May 5, 2011 at 10:26 am

    This is now avaiabile in BES Express 5.0.3 that was just released.

    Like

  16. Rich Gardos
    May 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Yup, BESX 5.0.3 is now available for download and also found what the new IT policies are which are being added and thankfully the RIM Value Add that controls social networking for FB and LinkedIn will be included. Not sure if we will actually be able to upload/manage any new policies but at least they are baking in what we need:

    http://docs.blackberry.com/en/admin/deliverables/27987/New_rules_in_Xprs_release_5_0_3_1517684_11.jsp

    Like

  17. May 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Oh happy day! I am downloading now :)…I so miss my FaceBook integration

    Like

  18. May 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Worked like a charm :). I upgraded my BES, modified the IT policy, and once the IT policy was re-applied to my handheld, the options were unblocked. I didnt restart my phone or reinstall FaceBook or anything fancy.

    Like

  19. Louis
    June 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Niiiiiiiiiiiiiice!! I’m glad I had this blog bookmarked Derek! Will try that today !!

    Like

  20. June 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    The real thanks should go to Scott and Rich, as they pointed out that BESx SP3 (5.0.3) was released. All I did was confirm that it fixed the problem, as we all suspected it would.

    It is nice to know that someone out there reads this blog besides myself :-D Add to this comment stream if you have any issues getting the update to fix your FaceBook integration in case others have the same problems.

    Like

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