Anahita Social Networking Engine ™ Alpha3 is now available to the tribe of partners

Almost 100 days after the alpha2 release we now have made the Anahita Social Networking Engine ™ 1.0 alpha 3 codename Red Angelica available to the Anahita tribe of partners. We have also updated Anahitapolis with the most recent code in the trunk including a number of updated social apps: Anahita Social ™ Groups, Discussions, and Photos. That’s right! We are now aiming to have the Beta release ready.

We usually make the code that is one release behind available for free download, therefore Anahita Social Networking Engine ™ alpha2 code will be made available on our website in a few days for those who enjoy reading code and experimenting.

What’s New in the 1.0 Alpha3

During the last 3 months we have updated the Anahita ™ code  to work with Nooku Framework 0.7 revision 2536, rewrote Anahita Social ™ Photos and Discussions to work based on the new Anahita actor node architecture, and started developing two new social applications: Anahita Social ™ Connect and Groups. The latter is currently being used for delivering support and services to the Anahita partners.

Light and Powerful Nodes

We have further simplified the Anahita nodes architecture for speed, performance, and API Flexibility. For speed and performance, everything from the database to code has been revisited again. Right now when you install the Anahita Social Networking Engine, only 7 tables are created in the database. That is all you really need for the social networking engine. Many of the social apps may not even need to have tables of their own, for example: Anahita Social ™ Groups and Photos simply use the same tables created by the Anahita Social Networking Engine ™.

For better API flexibly we have added some of the default operations for the medium nodes (topics, photos, etc.) to the base controller in the Anahita libraries. These are basic operations such as:

  • BREAD (Browse, Read, Edit, and Add) and the related Authorization Rules
  • Subscription: users can subscribe/unsubscribe to a medium node (photo, album, topic) and receive email notifications for the comments posted on that node. This feature is now inherit to all medium nodes.
  • Privacy: privacy settings are stored automatically during the insert and update operations if a medium node is required to have privacy settings.
  • Commenting: Using only few lines of code you can quickly add commenting to any medium node (photo, topic, album, etc.) for example to add comments to a photo just do:


<?= @comments($photo, array('pagination'=>true)) ?>

Enhanced Node Privacy

In a correct architecture of a social network all entities are nodes (people, groups, photos, albums, topics, …), the relationships are maintained by the graphs, and information (Stories) are exchanged across this network based on the topology of the graph.

Now everybody is worried about privacy on social networks these days. In the alpha2 we have partially implemented the privacy system for people, but we didn’t think that was enough.

This is how we figured to implement a more polished privacy management. We thought if we implement a strong privacy for the actor nodes and medium nodes, then all derivatives of them will also inherit the strong privacy features, and that is exactly what we did. We have created fine-grained privacy for people, groups, photos, topics, boards, and all the actor or medium nodes that you could be using within your custom developed applications too. The API is also quite simple to use. For example if you decide to add privacy to a photo, all you have to do in your view layout is:

<?= @privacy($photo) ?>

If the photo belongs to a person, then Anahita provides the following options in a popup list:

{public, registered, followers, leaders, mutual, myself only}

and if the photo belongs to a Group or an Event etc. the popup will show:

{public, registered, followers, administrators}

Photo Privacy in Anahita

Changing the popup list triggers an AJAX call and the privacy is set for that photo (medium node). Then Anahita will do the rest by magic. If a user is not supposed to see that photo individually (read) or within a list (browse), the record won’t even get loaded from the database to begin with.

Enhanced Actor Nodes

A movie or theater actor has an identity, uses tools and props, and tells stories to an audience. An Anahita Actor node has an identity (name, description, unique url), has (or uses) a list of applications (Discussions, Photos, Blog, etc.), and generates a story feed for the followers. The combination of all of these elements make up the actor’s profile page.

People, Groups, Events, Projects, Organizations, etc. are all examples of Anahita actors.

For the Anahita Social Networking Engine ™ alpha 3 release, the implementation of the actor node’s has been significan’t improved. In the administration side, it is now possible to assign different social applications to different types of actor nodes using 3 different access control settings: Always, Optional, and Never.

Assignment of Content Apps to Actor Nodes

For example, you can set the Anahita Social ™ Photos to only be available within the Groups profiles but not the People profiles or the Anahita Social ™ Discussions to be optionally available to People profiles but always be available within the  Groups profiles.

That means for all the People, Groups, Events, or Organizations profiles, you get to decide what content creation applications (photos, discussions, blogs, invites, etc.) should be available or removed from different profiles.

Anahita ™ Group Profile

Anahita ™ Person Profile

There is now also a more elaborate view for editing an actor’s profile. A person or an admin of an actor node (i.e group, event, etc.) can change the settings for privacy, notifications, and applications within their profile.

Anahita ™ Person Profile Privacy Settings

Anahita ™ Group Profile Privacy Settings

The privacy setting lists that you see can easily be created in the application.xml file of every social app.

Jazzing up the Story Nodes

A profile’s story feed is basically a list of story nodes. Ash and I have been thinking for a while to do a proper implementation of links and media sharing using the Anahita story nodes. While we were busy improving that concept, one afternoon Ash came up with an idea and coded a few small adapter classes in the Anahita library. Within the time that I went to make some coffee and came back, he was done implementing a pretty decent prototype. We could post Youtube, Vimeo, Google map, Facebook page badges, and code snips by entering them in the story update composer box on our profiles.

Of course we are still working on a more elaborate implementation for sharing and posting media and links, however this was yet another great example of how powerful and flexible the Anahita framework has become before even reaching the Beta stage.

Some new social apps for the Anahita collection

The last 100 days was not entirely spent on the Anahita Social Networking Engine ™ alone. We have been busy updating Anahita Social ™ Discussions and Photos as well as starting two new social apps: Anahita Social ™ Groups and Connect.

Right now we are actually using the Anahita Social ™ Groups for delivering support and services to the Anahita partners. One of the great aspects of Anahita Social ™ Groups is the fact that group admins can install and use other social apps such as Photos, Discussions, Invites, Wiki, or a blog within individual groups.

In the back-end, the website admins can also configure the social networking engine in a way that a particular app always becomes available in all groups or people profiles by default, or make them optional, or never use them at all.

Anahita Social ™ Connect is an OAuth integration social app which allows you to connect your Anahita powered social network to other services such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and LinkedIn. You can allow authentication using these services or post status updates and notifications from an Anahita powered site to either one of those social networks or services. Anahita Social ™ Connect also supports multiple twitter accounts per actor node which means a person, group or event can each have multiple twitter accounts.

So what’s Next

As usual, we have a tradition of not talking about something unless it is already developed, but to give you an idea, the next release will be a Beta release. It is very close to happen because our alpha release seems quite stable.

We will be continuing to polish and improve the existing social apps and in the mean time we will be experimenting with a new Anahita template that is developed using the Gantry Framework from I must say after doing a few client projects using the Gantry framework we were quite impressed! Now we are interested to see how Anahita and Gantry technologies together will work together. We will be posting updates to let you know the results.

Become part of the experience. Become an Anahita Partner.

We now have 40 partners from around the globe who are working on developing all kinds of interesting projects using the Anahita framework and platform. For example you should really check out which is a social event management Saas project developed using the Anahita and Nooku technologies. We can’t wait to see Ohanah on the alpha3 and later releases of Anahita.

As you partner  you will get full read access to the Anahita code repository and knowledge-base through Anahitapolis community. If you would like to use a powerful framework and platform that uses the true architecture of a social network (Nodes-Graphs-Stories) Anahita is perhaps the only open source implementation that does that.

If you can only understand a social networking technology by comparing features lists and no more, then wait a bit and keep following our updates and news. We’ve invested quite a bit of resources in developing a powerful framework and from now on we will be focusing more on developing solutions that will help people get things done on an Anahita powered social network.

If you have a social networking project, tell us more about it, and we will give you an account on Anahitapolis.

If you think you are ready to sign up as a partner, please visit this page

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Twitter: @anahitapolis

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