Sunday, June 25, 2006

Web 2.0 Watch: Create your own Social Web Apps with Ning

For many, Web 2.0 is based on community and sharing online. Ning provides a platform to create your own social Web application in minutes. Ning promises that you can create:

  • Your own photo or video sharing website (like Flickr, Shutterfly or YouTube)
  • Your own group or social network (for your friends or school)
  • Your own reviews site for anything (like Citysearch or IGN )
  • Your own ratings or voting site (like Hot-or-Not™)
  • Your own marketplace (like Craigslist for your own group)

All this can be achieved by cloning and modifying existing Ning apps, or, for the developers out there, delving deeper into writing some code.

I browsed around some apps on Ning, and although very compelling, they all looked virtually identical. Sure, the tools may be there to modify to your liking, but it doesn't seem to be the norm right now.

With maturity, Ning could become a great launching pad for some good social Web ideas, but they must first make it even more accessible for non-developers and provide easy to use customization tools to allow each app to stand on its own. This is one to keep an eye on.


Yoz said...

Hi Ed - thanks for the mention! I'm one of Ning's Developer Advocates.

While we do provide quite a lot of customizability for non-coders (through the App's "Manage" interface), it's true that there's a limit to how much you can achieve without diving into code. But the flip side of that is that if you do go into the code, you can take more control than with any other web app service.

Obviously, diving into code should be a last resort, and it's way too difficult for many people. We're currently at work on making things much more point-and-click, not just for look & feel but also for features. Providing both extensive power and ease-of-use together is not an easy task by any means, but be assured that it's our aim and we're not stopping now.

If you have any questions or comments about Ning, feel free to get in touch: yoz(at)

Ed Caggiani said...

Hi yoz, thanks for commenting :-) I figured you guys were working on such tools to make customization more accessible to the lay person. It is a daunting task, I'm sure. I'll be keeping a close eye on your advances!