Monthly Archives: April 2007

You Can Share Documents on Your Network

We’ve been known to sneak in the occasional awesome feature that we then don’t adequately highlight. Call us humble.

One feature worth mentioning is sharing documents, or files more generally, on your network. You can do this right now. PDFs, Word Documents, Images, MP3s, you name it. It’s there. And it’s cool. It’s just a little hidden.

How to Share Files on Your Social Network
Links point to Ning’s Network Creators but it’s just to show these features in action.

If you are the Network Creator, go to your Features page and choose Forum. Forum is where the document sharing feature sits today.

From the Forum, you can start a new discussion. The link to do so is in the right hand corner of the main Forum page. On the new discussion page, you can see the fields to Attach File(s).

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You can attach a whole host of files here. You’ll even get a sweet icon for the document or file type.

If you want to keep document sharing organized separately within the Forum. You can do this via Categories. Just create a category for Document Sharing.

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Discuss Amongst Yourselves

New ReleaseFresh out of Ning R&D Labs, we’ve got new Discussion Forum features, including categories, announcements, the option to sort by latest replies, and a simple, yet powerful text editor.

The thing we’re most proud of in this release is how much of it – in the Discussion Forum improvements and elsewhere – was driven by you. Yes, “you” in the Time Magazine sense of the term. Your feedback in Network Creators and email has been fantastic.

Please keep it coming!

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An Invitation to Join

Life at Ning

When we started Ning, we wanted to create both a great company and a great service. We’ve assembled a small team of some of the best product managers, developers, designers, and ops people in Silicon Valley to work on creating beautiful software real people use in their daily lives.

We’ve been known to look for some serious chops in the people who join our team. That being said, if you think you have what it takes, we might have an incredible opportunity for you.

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The Developer Program

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Ning is an online platform for creating your own social network for anything. Being a platform means that, unlike other social networking services, you can request the source code running your social network on Ning and change not only how it looks but also how it works.

Your social network on Ning uses PHP, AJAX, and HTML, so if you – or someone you know – knows your way around those languages, you can customize any of the features on your social network or even add your own new feature. It’s that flexible. Or, extensible, if you’re trying to impress a technical person.

So, how do you get the source code running your network? Easy. Email us. We’ll send you the instructions for accessing your code. That’s Step One.

For Step Two, you’re going to want to keep getting the great updates and new releases we add to your social network weekly or every other week. When you get your own source code, you step off the train of automatic updates to your network. We do this to ensure that anything you customize or add to your network’s code isn’t wiped out by a new release. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have access to new releases, it just means you need to manually add them.

We just posted instructions on how to merge new releases on the Ning Developer Blog.

Enjoy!

Brooklyn Art Project

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There’s alot of things I really like about Brooklyn Art Project. The most obvious thing I like is the art. That’s a good start.

The Brooklyn Art Project uses a simple and clean design available to every Network Creator on Ning using the Appearance page on your network. For further design differentiation, you can also use your own custom HTML or CSS. Their choice to keep the overall design clean allows the simple black header and custom logo really pop.

The Brooklyn Art Project also highlights how powerful photos and videos are to creating an unique space for your network. Keeping everything simple enables the art to really stand out. A few examples after the jump.

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Widgets: When Enough Just Isn’t Enough

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There’s a lot you can do today with your social network on Ning. But sometimes a lot is simply not enough. Sometimes you need even MORE customization options for your network. It’s not your fault. The heart wants what it wants.

To help satisfy your digital addiction, there is the online power of widgets. These are small bits of code that pack a punch in terms of offering you even more features and functionality on your network. You and your members can quickly copy and paste them into any text box, chatter, profile answer, discussion or comment on your social network.

Widgets include music players and playlists, polls and quizzes, file sharing, and chatrooms. But these are only the beginning.

We’re big fans of yourminis, which is “widgetizing” Twitter, Yahoo, and Google as well as offering such fun stuff as:

A Calendar
A Quote of the Day
An MP3 Player
An Amazon Wishlist
The Weather
An Event Countdown
Maps
Webcam

Here’s the full yourminis list, and be sure to also check out Google Gadgets, Microsoft Gadgets, Widgetbox, Digg, Snipperoo, Clearspring and SpringWidgets.

If you can copy and paste a little piece of HTML code into a text box, you can use widgets. I promise. Happy widgeting!

Ning in Real-Time

Here’s a real-time action shot of the Ning crew working through the issue we experienced this morning. Sort of makes you feel like you were here…

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While we won’t be perfect 100% of the time, we were all over this about 10 minutes after the slowdown became clear and should be up shortly. Once we’re back up, we’ll figure out what happened and what we can do to make sure that this particular issue isn’t an issue in the future.

Life’s too short not to have a little Ning first thing on Monday morning!

The Need for Speed

New ReleaseWe did a new platform release early this morning.

You should now see:

  • Speeder page loads
  • More invitation improvements
  • Faster video encoding
  • No default country chosen for people. Like say, oh, the United States, for example
  • Even more stability, so you can enjoy 100% pure platform goodness any hour, day or night

Enjoy!

120 Minutes

Monkey

At midnight tonight, we’re going to take Ning offline to add a few new features. We’ll be back in action by the time the bars in California close and you’ll be free to resume your late night social networking.

Thanks!

Online Awesomeness

We’ve been huge fans of skinnyCorp for awhile now. They have become the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of online communities by creating projects like Extra Tasty and Threadless entirely on their own terms. They definitely fall into the category of those about to rock and we salute them.

More importantly, they are sharing their secrets. They gave a fantastic presentation at the Community Next conference at Stanford back in February and Google Video has the goods.

The skinnyCorp Method for Creating Online Awesomeness

With your own social network on Ning, you’ve now got the same shot of creating communities and making them awesome.

It’s worth a watch for any Network Creator, but if you just want to skim the highlights, I’ve added them after the jump.

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