Blogs

What's the Next Big Social Network?

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I was playing around with the social networking CMS AroundMe this weekend and this got me thinking of what will the next big social network be. It has been a bit of time since we have seen any really huge social networks pop up and I am wondering what kind of social network would make it big. Lately most of the news has been about aggregation services like FriendFeed or our own BuddyBlend, but I haven't seen much in the new social network space.

As I see it nothing will probably happen in the spaces that huge services already have a strong hold, such as the video space and social bookmarking space. While we will see many new challengers, I don't see anybody beating a site like YouTube any time soon. So, I think that if a new social network is to gain a strong hold it will be in a space where there is no clear leader currently.

Below are the spaces that I think that there is a chance for a new social network to dominate.

  • Video Game Space
    While there are currently a few Video Game social networks, there is not yet a MySpace for gamers. I think that in order for a site to clearly win this space they will need to provide on-line games, a space for gamers to talk about their favorite games and a place schedule on-line games.
  • Music Space
    While there are a few sites that are in this space, with last.fm leading the pack, I'm not sure that there is a clear winner in this space. The tough thing in the Music Space is the copyright information if you share music. What I think needs to happen for someone to dominate this space is they need to make a deal with the record labels like iTunes has where perhaps I can listen and share music for free on the site, but if I want to download it to my iPod I need to pay a very small fee.
  • Athletics Space
    I haven't seen many good sites in this space, but think that with so many sports fans that this could be a huge space if done well. Just think of the amount of people in this audience all over the world!
  • Collectible Space
    This would be a place where people who collect items, whether they be baseball cards or cars, could connect with people that have the same interests. I haven't seen any social networks in this space, probably because of ebay, but I think there could be a large social network in this space.
  • Outdoor Activities Space
    I haven't seen many sites in this space, but with so many people enjoying outdoor activities, this could be a huge social network. Just think of a social network where you can share and find your favorite camping sites or places to go rafting.

This is just a small list of possible spaces where the next great social network will exist. I would love to hear your thoughts on the space where the next great social network will exist.

Web Based Document Viewer

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AJAX Document Viewer www.ajaxdocumentviewer.com
Ajax Document Viewer is a web based online document viewer and can embedded into any web page or linked from any page. It is fast, customizable and FREE.
Are you having problems displaying documents, pdf's, images, word documents? Do your customers have to download a reader to view a file? Do you need a fast pdf reader? Do you need a universal viewer for any kind of documents?

All these problems go away by using Ajax Document Viewer.

For most companies, getting software products to market on time, on budget, and with the right features and functionality is always a challenge. But it doesn't have to be.

Tibco General Interface 3.6.0 Released

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General Interface (GI) 3.6.0 has been released. This new version promises JSON data mapping (a very good thing as JSON is being highly used by Web 2.0 sites) and template custom control among other things.

Below are some of the key features highlighted on the GI website.

Make Richer Ajax Applications. Faster.

TIBCO General Interface™ 3.6.0
Professional Edition

100+ ready made Ajax controls

Unparalleled visual tools

Extensive docs

Open source BSD licensed


General Interface 3.6.0 brings you:

Template custom control

CDF form mapping

JSON data mapping and JSONP protocol support

One of the main issues that I have had with GI in the past is that it is very heavy on the front end load. Tibco has addressed this issue by allowing you to use different deployment types that allow you to fine tune what is loaded. This really helps the performance and makes the possible use of GI on public facing sites closer to a reality (there are still some browser compatibility issues that will keep the tool from major adoption on public facing sites).

You can learn more about GI (including downloading of the application) here.

The new version of GI is a good tool for developing Ajax applications for internal corporation use. While it is getting closer to possibly being useful in public facing applications, there is still some work to be done before I can see this happening.

The Next Great Language

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Actually, the title should be "The Next Great Mid-Level Language", but doesn't sound quite as snappy...

There has been a lot of talk in the last year or two about Java losing ground to newer languages and about which language is going to replace Java as the dominant language going into the next decade. Various factions from the Ruby and Scala camps have weighed in on the debate in earnest, leaving even some die-hard Java programmers wondering if they should be learning a new language (and soon). After all the smoke clears, what should the reasonable person conclude? Is it time to move on?

12 Websites To Help You Learn Flash/ActionScript

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Six Revisions has put together a great list of Flash and ActionScript resources. Since Flash is used throughout the web for animation and with ActionScript you can do some pretty nice programming to go with the animation it is nice to have some good resources.

You can read an excerpt from the post below.

6. ActionScript.org

ActionScript.org - screen shot.

ActionScript.org is a site that provides resources and information pertaining to Flash, Flex, and ActionScript. They have a fairly active Forums section as well as an ActionScript Library that currently has over 700 objects you can download.

Tutorial examples:

7. Flash and Math ActionScript 3 Tutorials

Flash and Math ActionScript 3 Tutorials - screen shot

Flash and Math has a great collection of tutorials on AS3. They cover basic to advanced topics so that Flash developers of any level can find something they can read and learn from. Many of the tutorials include the source files for download.

Tutorial examples:

8. Flash Tutorials on Pixel2Life

Flash Tutorials on Pixel2Life - screen shot.

Pixel2Life, according to the site, is the "largest tutorial index catering to graphic designers, webmasters and programmers". With over 40,000 indexed tutorials, you’ll find many links to tutorials in their Flash Tutorials section.

Indexed tutorial examples:

9. Flash Perfection

Flash Perfection - screen shot.

Flash Perfection is a website with a large collection of Flash tutorials, tips, and tricks from various websites. Flash Perfection has 23 categories to help you find information more quickly.

Indexed tutorial examples:

You can read the full post here.

With the major use of Flash for animation on the web this resource will help many web developers.

Yahoo Lets You Be BOSS

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In an attempt to beef up its ad-search business by opening up its search technology, Yahoo has launched a new program called BOSS (Build your Own Search Service). The move is part of the new "Yahoo Open Strategy", a strategy that aims to attract more users and developers to Yahoo's technology and services by opening them up. It's not a totally free lunch, of course, as traffic over a certain "query threshold" will require some type of agreement with Yahoo, either hosted ads, revenue, or some type of exclusivity agreement.

With this first release of BOSS developers can fetch search content for Web, News, Image, and Spelling Suggestions. The API itself is a RESTful web service, with the option to receive data back from the service in JSON or XML formats. Full documentation on the search API is here.

Ext GWT 1.0 Released

The Ext JS team has released version 1.0 of its SDK for developing GWT applications with the Ext JS library. Despite some controversy around Ext's licensing strategy (namely the switch from LGPL to GPL), Ext GWT is currently one of the better integrations between a Java web application framework and a JavaScript framework.

Ext GWT 1.0 has been compiled and tested against GWT 1.5 RC1. Downloads are located here.

Not a Fan of Scala? An Evolutionary Approach

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The Scala programming language, heralded by many of the Java cognoscenti as the language to replace Java, has garnered well-deserved praise as a sophisticated and capable language. But to many who have grown up in the tradition of C-C++-Java, Scala's hybrid imperative-functional design may be just too alien to their sensibilities. Given the history of popular programming languages, this is not a surprise. It was, after all, not Smalltalk but C++ that introduced OOP to the masses; and Java in no small way gained popularity by fixing many of the pains involved with programming in C++ while still retaining the same general style of syntax.

Now along comes a language called Fan, which takes a more evolutionary (as opposed to revolutionary) approach to language design, incorporating concepts from Java, C#, Ruby, and other languages (e.g. Erlang) into a fluid style that would be very comfortable for a programmer well-versed in any of these languages.

Here is a short list of interesting features in the Fan language:

  • Compiles to either JVM or .NET bytecode.
  • A Ruby-like syntax for using closures (with the method signature expression enclosed between two "|"). Like C#, functions are first-class citizens in Fan (represented by the Func class).
  • Fan has no concept of interface classes, but rather uses mixins for multiple inheritance. Mixins are like abstract classes in Java (i.e., they can declare concrete method implementations), but can contain no state (i.e., fields). This addresses one of the weaknesses of interfaces in Java (and C#), namely that it is very difficult to introduce new methods into the interface without breaking all of the existing implementations of this interface; this is a problem in widely-used public-facing APIs such as the Collections API in Java.
  • All threads in Fan have the ability to pass messages to other threads, i.e they use the Actor model for concurrency popularized by Erlang.
  • Fan is, generally speaking, a strongly and statically typed language. But Fan supports a special syntax for using dynamic typing with a "dynamic call operator", the "->". This operator allows you to call a method on a class without the compiler enforcing type checking. In other words, you don't have to cast a type just to call a method.
  • A unified namespace and deployment structure. The deployment unit in Fan is called the "pod". The first part of a namespace is always the deployment unit (pod), so identifying a missing class becomes much easier than the "jar hell" of Java (though arguably Maven makes this much easier).
  • Fan supports a "literal syntax" for programming with lists, maps, etc. that makes working with these common elements much easier.

More thorough documentation on the language is available here. In general, Fan does not introduce any world shaking concepts--certainly all of its elements are present in some form or another in other programming languages--but is distinguished by the fact that it makes very smart decisions about which features to use, combining them in a style that is both fluid and familiar to the average programmer.

Great Accordion Scripts

A very useful design element on the modern web is the accordion element. With this useful design element you can never have enough accordion scripts to use. Well, WebTecker has put together a nice list of accordion scripts.

Below is an excerpt from the post.

  • jQuery Horizontal Accordion - This is another jQuery Plugin but the accordion is horizontal. It is very similar to the XBOX 360 interface. This plugin requires you use the interface plugin.

  • MooTools Accordion - This MooTools Accordion script is very nice script that is very easy to implement. There is no additional plugins that you need to get this script to work. The one problem with this is that there is no support for this script. But you can easily figure out how to integrate by viewing the source code.

  • Horizontal JavaScript Accordion - This script requires no JavaScript frameworks and is just 1kb. It has been tested in all major browsers. This is a great an easy script to implement.

  • Accordion v2.0 - This accordion script is built with Prototype and Scriptaculous. This script handles both horizontal and vertical accordions. It can even have an accordion inside an accordion. You should check this out.

You can read the full list here.

This is a great list and many of these scripts could be useful if you want a different accordion script.

More real-time quotes on Google Finance

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Google has announced that they have added more real-time market data to Google Finance. This is great news for any user of Google Finance.

Below is an excerpt from the Google post announcing the change.

We're excited to let you know we're adding more real-time market data to Google Finance, Google.com and other Google properties. Starting today, you'll have access to real-time, last sale prices from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), along with those from NASDAQ, which we recently launched. Here's the NYSE press release.

What this means is that you can now get the latest real-time stock quotes on Google for free. Wondering what Ford (F) is trading at today? Search for it on Google or Google Finance and keep the page up to have the quotes stream live.

If you use iGoogle, add the Google Finance portfolio gadget to your homepage, and monitor all your NYSE and NASDAQ traded stocks in real time throughout the day.

You can read the full post here.

Google Finance is a very useful app to anybody following the stock market and anything that makes this app more useful is great.

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