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#1 Ntwiles  Icon User is online

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Social Network Site

Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:44 PM

I've been working non-stop on this project for two weeks now, and I'm very excited about it. I'd love for you guys to check it out and give me some of your feedback.

The site is aimed to be a compilation of a few different forms of online communication. Users have the ability to create threads, which are meant to be miniature chat rooms. They can be public and used as a message board, shown to friends and used as a status update, or between only two users and used as private messages. All if this will be done smoothly using a mix of content tags and dynamic viewing privileges. All of these threads are updated live, with 5-10 appearing on screen at once.

Particularly, I'm curious about:

- Security Holes
- Various Bugs
- Browser Compatibility
- Design (I've kept it simple so far though)
- Usability (Feature ideas?)
- General Opinions

I don't expect a rigorous battery of tests, just poke around and see what you like or don't like. I'm hosting it myself and the database is mostly empty, so feel free to try what you'd like to break/hack it (just please let me know if you find anything (: )

The account activation system is disabled for now, and registrations will go through instantly.

Check it out here

This post has been edited by Ntwiles: 28 January 2014 - 06:46 PM


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Replies To: Social Network Site

#2 Ntwiles  Icon User is online

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 31 January 2014 - 05:47 AM

I just finished put the finishing touches on the first chunk of my tag system. The registration isn't verifying emails right now, so you can just put in any fake address. To make things easier though, I've set up a test login:

email: test@user.com
password: password
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#3 Xaos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:18 AM

Could you give kind of a rundown of how it's going to work and whatnot? It's kind of confusing at this point just logging in as a test account.


Edit: saw your thing int he OP, but I kind of still need more, if possible. Maybe It's just me.

This post has been edited by Xaos: 31 January 2014 - 09:19 AM

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#4 Ntwiles  Icon User is online

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 31 January 2014 - 02:05 PM

Sure, sorry, I guess it doesn't make as much sense since it's lacking in thread content right now. I'll explain by page:

Profile
From the user profile, you can create a new thread. You can choose which tags are attached to it. Later you will be able to choose exactly who can view this thread. Right now anyone with a login can see this. Immediately on your profile any thread created by you will be displayed, just like a normal social network profile.

A thread is displayed next to an image of the user who created it. The first message, or title message of the thread is always displayed in large print at the top. Only the five most recent messages are visible, but later a full sized 'thread view' page will be available.

Dashboard
Your dashboard is a feed which shows all thread posted by anyone. Think of it as a facebook news feed, or a forum 'new posts' page. By default it just shows the 10 most recent threads (later it will show the 10 most recent threads by your friends). You also have the option to search for threads by tag name (you can click a tag to filter, but I haven't added the form to search just yet. You can test it manually by manipulating the url though.) The user will also later get the option to filter these threads further, depending on who created them (friends,strangers).

The idea of the site is twofold:
  • All these threads are updated as instant messages, so content is delivered quickly.
  • A single thread functions as a status update to friends, a public bulletin board style post, or a private message, depending on the settings you apply to it.


Feel free to play around with threads/tags/messages. I've been doing the same myself and cleaning the database every few days is no problem.

This post has been edited by Ntwiles: 31 January 2014 - 02:13 PM

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#5 Xaos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 06 February 2014 - 05:37 AM

Sorry for the late response, but what differentiates this from Twitter?
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#6 Ntwiles  Icon User is online

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 08 February 2014 - 12:08 AM

I'll offer another rant to explain (:

Post Quality
For one, these are content tags, not hashtags. You don't end a post in #ThugLife #YOLO #SWAG. Your tags are based on the content of your post, and are used for searches. The tag system is strict and will be community enforced. Duplicates will be merged/removed and a reputation system will govern the ability to create new tags.

While the distinction may seem arbitrary at first glance, I think it's an important difference. Tags will be reliable, and will be part of a system which promotes high quality content. The other part of this system is reputation. Take this post for example:

(tags simulated in red)
Been a long day, time to sit down for some tv. Breaking Bad

You might recognize this as your standard Facebook status update. While users on my site have every right to make such a post, it doesn't do much to promote conversation. So while a user is allowed to fill the Breaking Bad tag feed with posts such as this, they know that they could receive better reputation if they were to post something like:

Who thinks the ending was too easy on Walt? Breaking Bad

Conversational focus
Secondly, thread feeds put have a conversational focus, while Twitter feeds put focus on individual posts. Twitter feeds can have conversation threads via @ replies, but they're not the main focus of the Twitter feed and conversations become difficult to follow.
Edit: I see Twitter has actually made some updates to help with this, so disregard this part to an extent.

If I were to call it a clone of an existing social networking site, I would compare my site to Facebook before Twitter. I hope it shows some originality though.

This post has been edited by Ntwiles: 08 February 2014 - 01:13 AM

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#7 Ntwiles  Icon User is online

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 12 February 2014 - 09:07 PM

I've been up to my neck in migraine inducing MySQL queries for the last week, but *fingers crossed* I think I've got the filters for the thread feed search totally worked out. Users can now search for thread by everyone, or only by friends, and supply a number of tag filters.

I've also completed the beginnings of the systems for handling notifications, friendships, and custom thread visibility permissions. Besides that, I've just added lots of content to the site index and dashboard. I'd love to get some critical opinions from you guys.

Check it out.

This post has been edited by Ntwiles: 12 February 2014 - 09:08 PM

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#8 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 12 February 2014 - 09:22 PM

What language are you building this in, and are you posting the source on Github? I assume PHP. If so, why are you still writing out SQL queries? Most modern frameworks negate the need for this entirely.

What is your goal in this? If you're using it as a show your stuff, definitely open source the code so potential employers can see it. They love an active Github. If you're trying to make something to compete, what makes it different?

Depending on your intention here my advice could go quite a few ways.

This post has been edited by Lemur: 12 February 2014 - 09:26 PM

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#9 Ntwiles  Icon User is online

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 12 February 2014 - 10:42 PM

PHP for now, yes. I'm looking into moving towards Python for parts of the backend later though. I'm not using any frameworks for my MySQL queries; part of the goal of this project has been to teach myself MySQL. I'll definitely look into a few now that I have some experience though. That being said, with the complexity of joins and views that some of these queries have ended up with I'd be shocked to find that a framework that could handle them dynamically.

To be honest I hadn't put much thought into what I hoped to achieve from this. I just started building it one day because I wanted to. My answer I guess would be a mix of both; I want to be able to add this to my portfolio, but I also hope for this site to acquire a user base. I'm not opposed to showcasing parts of the code on GitHub though, thanks for the advice.

As for your question on what makes it different, I think a lot of this was covered in my responses to Xaos. While the distinction between Facebook's status updates, Twitter's tweets, and my threads are small on paper, I hope that the live, instant nature of my threads will promote a different kind of content. These aren't posts and comments, they're prompts and conversations.

While people could and may try to use this site as a Facebook/Twitter clone, I hope to use subtle mechanisms like reputation to reward and enforce content which uses the thread system as intended.

This post has been edited by Ntwiles: 12 February 2014 - 10:45 PM

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#10 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 13 February 2014 - 04:54 PM

If you really want to take off on this, here are the better frameworks to use:

Laravel, Cake, CodeIgniter(PHP)
Django, Flask (Python)
Rails, Sinatra (Ruby)

Myself, I'm heavily biased towards Ruby because of the power you get out of it.

Just to show why Rails: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=JaL9ul17kx0

That guy makes a blog in 10 minutes.

Don't worry too much about raw SQL, your focus is to get things done and do them at a higher level of abstraction. Only dive into it if you really need it.
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#11 Ntwiles  Icon User is online

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 13 February 2014 - 05:18 PM

Thanks for the great info. I was torn between Ruby and Python. Perl I hadn't put much thought into. I leaned towards Python just because I have some experience with it.

As far as the frameworks go, I wish I would have talked to you two weeks ago (: As it is a good portion of these queries have already been written and I've already started work on my own PHP libraries for simplifying them.

I do worry about the performance of these frameworks though. As is I'm polling the database every 5 seconds with thread search queries. I'm looking into either SSE or WebSockets ease the server load, but it's still going to be heavy. Are these frameworks going to be as responsive as I need them to be?

This fantastic advice from a technical standpoint, I'm also very curious what people think from the stand point of an end user. Has anyone taken the time to check out the site?

Edit: That Ruby on Rails demonstration is insane to watch. I will without a doubt be looking into some Rails documentation soon.

This post has been edited by Ntwiles: 13 February 2014 - 05:27 PM

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#12 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 13 February 2014 - 05:33 PM

Trust me when I say performance will not be a problem at small scale. Build in a language that allows you to build rapidly, then speed things up. Premature optimization is the root of all evil.
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#13 Ntwiles  Icon User is online

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Re: Social Network Site

Posted 18 February 2014 - 07:19 PM

That makes a lot of sense. Lay down a strong foundation and build up from there.

I just bought a domain name (sixmugs.com) so I decided to password protect the site while it's in development. I think I've got enough feedback for now, but if anyone wants to check it feel free to PM me for the password.
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