Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Take your jacket and go home!

My new born niece was named after my grandfather Jacob Friedman. Steven and Beth asked if I would write something up about my memory of him.

Dear Hope,

"Take your jacket and go home!"

Your Mom and Dad asked me to introduce you to one of the people you
were named after, Jacob Friedman. For everyone in our family I try to
hold dear to me the one thing they said or did the most often, and for
your Great Grandfather it was 'Take your jacket and go home'. Strange
thing to remember as it does not seem that nice. You have to put a
lot in context to realize that it was in jest and love.

Great Grandpa Jacob was a man who lived and pushed forward in this world despite everything he went through. Being born and living in Poland before and during World War I and II could not have been an easy thing. The stories they all shared with me remembers the family living in one room which included kitchen and bed. I don't think they had indoor plumbing at that point. It was a very different world than ours today. Great Grandpa Jacob was married, before he married Grandma Sonia. He had two children. All of his family however was taken from him during the war and were killed. After the war he met Sonia in Berlin, Germany and fell in love and married her. I tell you this tragic story for two reasons
1. We should never forget our heritage and and the holocaust.
2. We should feel very special and lucky to have the life we have.
- From this part of his life I have always learned to persevere.

But there is a great second part to his life as well. In 1950 when your Grandpa Mike was three years old, Jacob and Sonia moved to the United States. They started with very little, but what they did have was community. They had Sonia's sisters and Jacob's friends. The greatest memories of my childhood are being part of this community. Though Jacob lived a hard life he kept Jewish tradition in his house. The singular most favorite memory of my childhood was Passover in Brooklyn. I just remember starting a seder in grandma Sonia's house with the immediate family. By the end of the night every friend and cousin was there enjoying each other.
- From this part of his life I learned family is what connects us, tradition is how we enjoy it together.

So 'Take your Jacket and go home'. It was simply his way of telling us to behave. We were a bunch of little kids running around, breaking things, fighting with each other and what not. You can't blame him. But those words stuck with me all my life and as I got older I started interpreting it differently. He could have said 'stop that' or 'get out if you behave like that' or just ignored us. But it was not meant in a mean way, why else would he tell us to take our jacket? He loved us! He could have said leave or get out, but instead it was go home. That was because he was a caring man.
- From this I learn it's always better love and care for others, especially family, no matter if we are angry or happy.

Your Uncle Rich.
PS. Your great grandmothers hair is still that big!

Monday, June 2, 2008

IFrame, Facebook, OpenSocial, Widget, Ringside

With Ringside Beta-4 release, by default we support 5 application types out of the box.

IFrame - Similar to the Faceook IFrame application and protocol.

Facebook - Plug your Facebook applications in! Deploy facebook applications with your own network. (example included by default is Footprints)

OpenSocial - Deploy open social applications right next to Facebook apps. Example includes Hello World written by Bill Reichardt and one from Last.FM. Bill published a trail map of how creating and hosting open social applications is possible.

FBML Widget - Use this widget on any website and have FBML rendered from anywhere, no application required. Bill put together a tutorial on using this capability - FBML on any website.

Ringside - Deploy applications directly inside the Ringside platform, we call them system level apps. All of the web features such as the community panel, login, registration, friends are delivered as system applications. The stylecheck application listed in the image is a system application.

In there are two open social applications, one written by Bill Reichardt and the other integrating a open social application by Last.FM.

Deploying your social applications with the Ringside platform enables a single application to be located on any website, community or social network. Users can access the applications anywhere and their data is portable across the web (the open web).

Rich @ Ringside

Thursday, May 29, 2008

We All Scream for Ice Cream

I like how Facebook helped extend Ben and Jerry's brand awareness. They were able to use the power of a brand and a social network to make a media campaign connected. While TV spots give visibility and Google Ads extend that with a link for the consumer, Facebook is able to engage the user with the brand.

"Our users tell a lot about themselves, that gives us the opportunity" to work with advertisers, she said. One successful example of this, she said, was a promotion by Ben & Jerry's that resulted in 500,000 Facebook users giving each other free ice cream cones within 11 hours. That day, the Ben & Jerry's Web site picked up 53 million impressions, as people searched for store locations and wrote about their favorite flavors, she said.

I wonder if we could push further on this and allow the social interaction to be more open to other websites and applications . A similar experience could have been offered from Ben and Jerry's website. Maybe I should be able to share an Ice Cream directly from their store locator view. The second expansion would be to enable this feature through any application. There are 20,000 applications at Facebook, enabling them to participate in the social campaign might just further the engagement and virality.

If the application was deployed at Ben and Jerry's ,depicted to the right, then the interaction might have the opportunity to be further reaching. Another possible advantage is the campaign could be re-run on other social networks and other websites tailored for specific communities.

I think it is further expansion of applications into many web sites, communities and social networks which will further drive the idea of an open social web.

Rich @ Ringside

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Make more of the Open Source Facebook API

This Facebook open source effort is really getting to me, seriously guys.   If you could have done this a few months ago I would not have had to kill myself with implementing all your APIs.   I could focus more on how to wrap the APIs with security, graphing, metering, and more.

Luckily the Ringside team has discovered a way to warp time and get both done! As I posted a while back we already have an open source version of the Facebook APIs for application developers to test against. We have also shown how to extend the platform, and add APIs to your own network. This past week we updated the core implementation of the APIs, without changing how the APIs are implemented. APIs now are active participants in their lifecycle.

Load - we load the session and context specific to the user, application and network. This part is important since it ensures each requests data can be encapsulated to their session. At this point we can also determine if this user has identities across multiple networks and tie things together.

Delegation - an intermediary step which allows any api to participate in delegation. If this call maps to an open social container in the ether or facebook we can offer trusted delegation. We also ensure in the case of facebook the user and application are valid on that network. Notice no big pipe into a given social network but rather ensure that the Application and User are connected properly.

Validate - a sequence of validation steps to ensure the request is meant for this network and approved to make the request. Validating session, keys, signatures, callid's and request parameters.

Execute - execute the method and render its response in the appropriate format (json, xml, php). Exception process is handled.

We look forward to sharing with Facebook's open source release. And eagerly awaiting to validate against their code drop for compatibility testing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Social Everywhere

This story is short. Facebook, MySpace and others want their social to be everywhere, similar to how Google's search is everywhere. This is a three step process unfolding in front of all of us:

1. Open API where applications can be added to a social network. Facebook clearly had an early lead on this front, open social is trying to offer similar functionality, but with promises of a broader community.

2. Open Identity (Profile) to broaden attach rate of a social network. MySpace and Facebook made major announcements in this area last week, and Google and Open Social are expected to make announcements this week. They are promoting the use of your user profile on many sites. They will make it easy for any website to add the ability to bring your friends to that page. Developers will be able to associate a local profile to a users social identity on any particular social network. With this you can bring social interactions to your website.

3. Open Network to broaden your users into a larger social network. This is the likely next step. The social networks will allow sites to push their social information out. They will provide a set of integrations which allow you to enable your users to travel within their social graph. For example your website will be able to register a FEED or NOTIFICATION api, so if two users interact within Facebook as it relates to your site, Facebook will send out the viral message to your back end, and you can operate on that notification.

While the social media networks are currently at step two of their strategy it is becoming clear that the ability to use social technology for a website, a community or even software system will become very powerful and possibly transform the web. No one is saying rewrite your application to be a social application, that would be a mistake. However the transformation of social context becoming part of how we think of building sites, communities and applications is going to cycle through the development process over the next three years.

Ringside was built on the premise that social networking would become pervasive, each of the social media networks would gain market share, and that every site would need to consider its strategy around social networking. It's a lot of fun to be part of this time, hopefully to enjoy working as the platform which helps integrate the social context from social media networks to the value you need to deliver in your business.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Facebook and Ringside Tags

Tags provide a consistent user experience in a platform, for facebook it ensures all applications that 'hook' into the system can (if they choose to) have a consistent look and feel. Jeff and I continually discuss that the Ringside Platform does not have as many tags as the faceobook platform, as of yet, however we have two major differences
  • New Tags
  • Adaptation
We can add new tags to the platform that we ship or developers can add their own tags and make it available to applications deployed to their network. For example if you wanted every application to have the ability to use gifts you can add a tag . Now every application can have a gift component which is across the ENTIRE system. The gift would be scoped to the application, really no different than how fb:comment works today in Facebook but for anything you can think of!

In Facebook applications are adapted for the Facebook platform allowing all apps to have a similar user experience. In Ringside this is true as well, all applications can come together with a common user experience, but that experience can begin to change when the same application is rendered through to a third party community, network or site. This adaptation is being expanded for our June release but will allow the same application to maintain its portability of data and functions yet allow customization based on where it is being rendered.

Jason, Bill and I (and team) have been going back and forth on the how the adaptation would work. How much to put at the application scope, ie the application decides what to pick up from the third party network or how much the third party network controls how the application looks. I just started the thread in the forums (http://forums.ringsidenetworks.org/thread.jspa?threadID=16) as we were discussing this in IRC (#ringside).

Today we have about 50 tags implemented and more coming. Many of the standard Facebook tags and some example tags such as <>.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ringside APIs

While we have been putting effort into supporting Facebook APIs
  • Admin - 2 of 4
  • Application - 1 of 1
  • Auth - 2 of 2
  • Batch - not yet supported
  • Data - currently support UserPreferences
  • Events - 2 of 2
  • FBML - 3 of 3
  • Feed - 2 of 3
  • FQL - Supported but not yet for all tables ( but coming )
  • Friends - 3 0f 4
  • Groups - 2 of 2
  • MarketPlace - not yet implemented, but let us know if you need them
  • Notifications - 3 of 4
  • Pages - 4 of 4
  • Photos - 5 of 6
  • Profile - 2 of 2
  • Users - 5 of 5
We have also been adding our own about 50+ of them!
  • Admin - 14 apis supporting administrative functions
  • Auth - Things you just can't do with Facebook
  • Comments - 4 simple Apis for get, set, count and removing
  • Favorites - Built into the system
  • Friends - 4 apis including basic search
  • Items - I guess in the way of marketplace but generic to built on top of
  • Ratings - Ratings APIs so it can be used globally
  • Subscriptions - 3 for Payment stuff, expect a lot more of these soon
  • Suggestion - Use them as freely as you would comments in a facebook application
  • Users - 8 api's for administrative apps
We are in process of automating the documentation for ALL the api's, they will be available at Ringside Community.

Have ideas for more things which should be part of the core platform? Have an API you want baked in or at least visibile to others? Get involved in our development community and we can

Ringside Beta 2 Release

Beta 2 Released

We released Beta 2 tonight and we are on pace to have releases every 2 weeks here on out. To facilitate this we have a completely automated build and test process much thanks to the open source projects listed for making this possible.

* Hudson ( https://hudson.dev.java.net/ )
* PHP Unit ( http://phpunit.de/ )
* SimpleTest ( http://simpletest.org/ )

We have also started to add tests against our demo/tutorial applications with simpletest to ensure each beta supports the tutorials as well.
Beta 2 Includes

* Working Identity Mapping, though we are adding more in usability and demonstrations in the next Beta.
* Starting example of Payment APIs, Tags and administration (Brian is posting a screen show of this as well)
* Developer Network UI - Enables adding support for an app to connect to multiple networks
* Network Management - Ability to add third party networks (supporting lots of social communities to start using your application)

Release Notes Beta 2
Some insights into Beta 3.

* Identity Mapping
* Early beta of Open Social integration
* Open ID Integration for IDM
* More payment APIs and TAGs
* More example applications.