With OpenSocial now on profile pages across 535,000 social networks on Ning, we thought it was a good time to share with everyone where we’re going from here. We’re evolving the Ning Platform in three key ways:
OpenSocial Network Applications
We will be launching OpenSocial Network Applications as the primary way to add new features or modify existing ones on your network in
early December late February or late March. OpenSocial Network Applications will be seamlessly added to a network’s Main page, have their own tab and display multiple “canvas” pages for the feature itself. OpenSocial Network Applications will appear and function almost exactly like our Photos or Videos features. Most importantly, you’ll be able to add them with one-click to your network.
Here’s a sample screenshot of what you’ll see with, say, GroupCard as an OpenSocial Network Application:
More Customization Options Directly in Your Network
We are bringing more ways to customize your network directly into the Manage page. The first wave of options includes a place to upload your own network favicon, adjust your timezone and add extra forums. We’ll be rolling these options out in the next few weeks. After that, we’re going to offer header and footer controls, more appearance options – including a 1-column Main page layout – and additional premium video, chat and music features in the coming weeks. This means you won’t have to learn to code or access WebDAV to make otherwise modest changes. These options will now just be there.
Easy Backup and Migration of Content
Today, we offer simple CSV exports of Member Data that any Network Creator can access from your Manage Members page with a click. We will soon offer a similar mechanism for content so that it won’t require a sophisticated understanding of our APIs to back-up or migrate the content of your network somewhere else.
As part of looking at the future and how we’re evolving the Ning Platform, here’s what we’ve done and are doing now:
- WebDAV access is now limited to a few customization areas like CSS, but no longer supports new PHP development directly on networks. While the direct programming model has served a few of you well up until this point, we’ll be launching much easier ways for everyone to make common changes, edit existing features and add new features on your network shortly. As a result, this shift will not have a long-term impact and, by moving away from this model now, we are able to focus on better alternatives more quickly.
- All modifications or scripts you’ve added to your network via WebDAV remain intact and don’t break with these changes. However, from here on out, you won’t be able to edit your modifications or add new scripts. These options will be replaced by OpenSocial Network Applications and additional customization options directly in your network shortly.
- If your network is decentralized and you’ve made modifications, everything remains as is. However, you’ll not be able to further customize your code directly from here. Again, these options will be replaced by OpenSocial Network Applications and additional customization options directly in your network shortly.
- External access to REST endpoints is no longer available. Retiring access to these rarely used APIs will make your network faster, more scalable and enable us to release better, broader network customization options to you faster. These options will be replaced by OpenSocial Network Applications and additional customization options directly in your network shortly.
- Our current target for launching OpenSocial Network Applications – as well as easier importing and exporting content options – is early December. We’ve started working on these projects now and as we get greater visibility into these dates, we’ll post updates here on the Ning Blog.
We’re looking forward to rolling out these new, easier ways to create, customize and add new features to your networks. We think this evolution of the Ning Platform will enable more Network Creators to fully realize the possibilities on their network and create the exact right network for them.
In the meantime, if you run into any issues with this transition, by all means drop us a note at the Ning Help Center so that we can get you squared away as quickly as possible.