So as we are winding down on v3 development in the next week or so, we have finally come to the “My Network” page that so many of you have requested. I may have asked this before, but I have been very focused on other features in the last handful of weeks, so bear with me. My understanding of what you all would like to see on a My Network page is as follows:
1. Each subnetwork will have their own page, visible to only the subnetwork’s members.
2. The page would essentially be an aggregator of information for that subnetwork. It could have a recent activity feed for only that subnetwork, it could have a little “New Members” box, “Popular Groups”, “Upcoming Events”, etc.
Is there anything else you would like from this page? We’re having a hard time formulating a plan for it. It would be very helpful if those of you who want this page can tell us what you’re envisioning.
In other news, check out some of the new feature additions!
We added back the “Privacy” tab in the Account Settings area. It now holds your Recent Activity Privacy, your Profile Privacy, Profile Comment Privacy, Search Privacy, and two new features!
There will be some minor stylistic tweaks on this page (because again, I am not the master of front-end… that’s Alex’s domain), but you can see we have added the ability for a user to be invisible. If the user enables this option, they won’t show up in the list of “Online Users”. This feature can be turned on/off in the admin panel for certain User Levels. The other feature addition is the “Who Viewed My Profile” feature. If a user enables this feature, they will be able to see which users have viewed their profile. If a user does not want to be logged when viewing other people’s profiles, they will need to disable the feature.
Again, the layout may change some as Alex plays with the design. Another cool addition is to the recent activity feed on the user’s home page. You can now create an ad campaign that will display at the top of the feed.
Also, notice the “Preferences” link – if the admin allows it, the user can now decide what actions they care about seeing in the feed.
Another thing I’ve done is make it so that user’s comments don’t get deleted when the user is deleted. This will preserve the timeline integrity of discussions:
Again, this is still a little rough, layout-wise, but you get the idea.
Finally, I am rather saddened to report that I may have to give up the OpenSocial quest for now. I’ve done a fair bit of work on it (the admin page is pretty much done, the user area is a little rough, but working), but I’ve run into some fairly large obstacles. The first is that many apps require you to have SSL certificates in your Shindig server. This is not an impossible task, but it makes it harder on those of you that aren’t super-technical. On top of that, it is strongly recommended that you run Shindig on a separate domain than your container (in this case, SE) installation. The reason for this is security – iframes are used to display the apps and if you have Shindig running on the same domain as SE, these apps might be able to get data from, for example, your users’ cookies. Finally, as I mentioned in my classified listing, OpenSocial is still young and the apps out there are either very container-specific (only for MySpace, only for Orkut, etc), or they suck.
What all of this amounts to is that I’ve done a fair bit of work in this direction, but I can’t in good faith release it all packaged in v3. What I can do is offer up what I have done to those of you who want to tinker around with it. I will absolutely keep working on it for a future version of SE (because it would be SO cool and I really have enjoyed playing with the code), but until OpenSocial, Shindig, and the apps that are built for it are more mature, it just doesn’t make sense to release it within v3. I’m totally disappointed about this – I hope you guys don’t hate me too much for failing on this front.
With regard to v3 release, I am pushing to get a public beta up by the end of next week so that you guys can play around with the user side of it and report any bugs to us for fixin’. Then I can start work on the plugins. In any case, let me know what you think about this stuff, especially about the “My Network” page. Thanks in advance!