Tag Archives: social app

So what is new in Anahita 2.0

Planning the upcoming  #Anahita 2.* releases

 

Just over a day ago we started distributing the Anahita 2.0 Birth release package as well as 2 additional free social apps: Anahita Groups and Topics. We also have the Anahita 2.0 API documentation available for the hackers and developers out there who would like to learn what goes on inside the Anahita framework. It was 4:30 AM that we announced the availability of the 2.0 Birth release and I promised to do another blog post describing all the new aspects of the Anahita 2.0, so here we go:

 

Completely Rewritten Framework

We have taken all the knowledge and experience that we had gained from the Anahita 1.5 release and rewritten a lot of the framework code to be more reusable and efficient. Anahita now provides one of the most comprehensive APIs specialized for developing custom social apps and services. You can take a look at the Anahita API documentation for yourself.

 

It is faster

Anahita 2.0 is about 30% faster now due to the improvements that we have done all the way from the low level system calls and database queries up to the user interfaces where pages are loaded and rendered. For those of you who are more technical:

  1. we are using the latest release of Nooku Framework which renders the layouts faster with APC on.
  2. Using technologies such as Twitter Bootstrap and LessCSS, Anahita now has a single compact CSS file which downloads very quickly and pages render quite fast.
  3. Stream paginations on the dashboard and profiles have been optimized to load and pre-load faster which results into a instantaneous and seamless user experience.

Lighter and leaner social apps

All the Anahita social apps have been rewritten using the new framework code and now contain on average 48% less code and that is while they perform faster and smoother than before.

That means the custom social apps that you wil be developing require less code than before.

Anahita 2.0 apps are on average %48 smaller in comparisons with the 1.5 ones

How much smaller are the Anahita 2.0 apps in comparison with the 1.5 ones?

  • Anahita Pages: 39%
  • Anahita Todos: 39%
  • Anahita Photos: 37%
  • Anahita Groups: 84%
  • Anahita Topics: 66%
  • Anahita Connect: 22%

Improved Story Feeds

The logic in the story feed has been greatly improved in comparison with the 1.5 release also a lot of the data grouping and preparation that used to happen at the application level are now happening at the database query level.

 

Improved Composers

Until now, the composers on the dashboards and profiles could only be used for posting stories. In the Anahita 2.0, the composers can be used for posting all types of media such as photos, topics, pages, etc. The Anahita framework also provides a very easy to use API for you to create your own custom composer for the social apps that you are developing.

Anahita composers

 

Improved Actor Profiles

The actor profile layout has been redesigned to be less cluttered and it provides more room for additional applications and modules.

Anahita Actor Profile
The Edit Profile user interface has also been completely redesigned so all the profile administration task can be done in one place. Anahita framework provides the necessary APIs for your custom app to include additional tabs into the edit profile area.

 

Notifications System

Anahita now has a notification system to alert the viewer about all the new comments, likes, and other events that they should be notified about.

 

Twitter Bootstrap & LessCSS

We have used and extended the Twitter Bootstrap 2.0 library with the Anahita set of styling libraries in order to construct and style the user interfaces. Anahita 2.0 also comes with a built-in LessCSS compiler so let’s say if you wanted to customize the Anahita Shiraz template, just switch on the debug mode, modify the Less files or include new ones, then refresh the browser and Anahita will compile a single compact css file that contains all the Boostrap library as well as Anahita libraries.

Important Note: We are still using the grid system provided by the Gantry Framework rather than using the fluid grid system provided by the Bootstrap. We will soon be discarding the Gantry framework and use the native Anahita template engine which will be using the Bootstrap responsive grid. As soon as we are done, the update will be available for free.

What’s next?

The 2.0 Birth release has opened a new chapter for the Anahita project and we have a whole new journey ahead of us. Our main focus for the upcoming 2.* releases will be: Search, content curation, and mobile accessibility.

Anahita™ Pages Birth Release Is Available For Download

Vancouver Public Library

Vancouver Public Library – photo by MostNonTriumphant

In the age of twitter micro blogging and facebook status updates we still need to publish documents and articles that are more than just 145 characters long.

 

Anahita™ Pages - List

We have a new addition to the collection of Anahita™ social apps. Using the Anahita™ Pages, people and group administrators can publish articles, documents, and instructions for their followers. They can also allow the followers to collaborate on creating and editing pages.

 

Anahita™ Pages - Edit Page with Visual Editor

While you are composing and editing the content of a page, this app keeps track of the revisions for you. A page can always be restored to one of the previous revisions by the profile owner or administrator.

 

Anahita™ Pages - Comments

People can leave comments on a page and participate in discussions.

 

Anahita™ Pages - Visual Editor

Anahita™ Pages provides a very user friendly visual editor so you can easily format your content. For those of you who are familiar with html language, there is also an HTML editor which you can use.

How Can I Download This Social App?

If you are a Premium Tribe member, you can download the Anahita™ Pages via the Bazaar in the administration back-end of your Anahita installation or just download an installation package from the download page.

If you are not a Premium Tribe member you can sign up here

Busting 5 Myths About The Anahita™

Mégaphone

Photo by Felipe Bachomo

This post was initially made on the Anahitapolis™ Atrium group, but with the suggestion of our good friend Mr. Johan Janssens from the Nooku project, I am blogging it.

Myth No. 1 – Anahita™ is not finished yet.

The birth release of Anahita was made available on late January 2011. A birth release is a stable release, however Anahita will never be finished, because it is an open ended project.

For a software project, finished is another word for as good as dead. That means the project is no longer capable of growing, evolving, and keeping up with the changes in the ecosystem.

By not being finished yet, sometimes people refer to a software that isn’t packed with all sorts of features for customizing using point-and-click tools. In reality products that reach that state end up becoming bloated and slow. In long term they become buggy, insecure, and hard to maintain.

That is why rather than packing Anahita with lots of point-and-click customization tools, we provide customization options in form of APIs, recipes and code examples. Anahita ™ social networking engine and apps are shipped only with features that most social networking projects require.

Myth No. 2 - Anahita™ is not a polished product.

Anahita was never meant to be a polished product. Polished products are made to function in a limited and specific context. Anahita is aiming to provide the generic building blocks for all sorts of social networking projects. As a matter of fact, you will be the one polishing it off before launching your project and by doing so, you will be saving tremendous number of hours and resources by not having to start building from scratch.

That is why Anahita is very similar to a box of Legos. You can build many business and hobby projects with the Lego bricks and constantly rebuild and refine the design. On the other hand, some kids are just happy with a shiny red truck that provides some customization options and it basically does only one thing: being a shiny red truck!

A red truck gets you started faster than a Lego project. You get to go around and show it off, it is shiny and red, but you can’t go far with it. The lego kids will always have a new game to play and they are often a lot more creative too.

Myth No. 3 - Anahita™ is about to change their underlying infrastructure entirely.

All the foundations of the Anahita™ framework and platform are in place, however in every new release we will be constantly changing, rebuilding, and improving the technology based on what we have learned from using the previous releases. Sometimes we have to implement an architecture in multiple stages and gradually walk the community through the iterative updates and get them to the destination.

So the constant changes are just a permanent part of the evolution and growth of the project. The only thing that doesn’t change, is change itself.

Myth No. 4 – There are no instruction manuals for Anahita™

When you become a Premium member we don’t give you an instruction manual. We do however provide help on the Premium support and project groups. You interact with other people and the core team on a daily basis. You must be committed and willing to learn something new everyday in order for us to be able to help you.

Seriously! If you really think that you can just read an instruction manual and put together a business idea or project of significant value on the web that grows and scales up, you are being naive! You are being very naive! You will be wasting time and resources of your own and others.

If you don’t believe me, there are already several point-and-click products out there that are crafted to entice people using long feature lists built on top of naive architecture or no architecture at all. Some of them come with instruction manuals too. Please do give them a try! If you liked them, then you have found your match. If not, then you have enough reasons not get distracted by them as much. Your mind will be free to get in the community and start learning the knowledge from your peers.

Myth No. 5 – Anahita is not for the none-technical users

If you know how to install and configure a Joomla, WordPress, or Drupal, you should know just about enough to install and configure a social network using Anahita ™ social networking engine and apps. If you know how to code, you can go far beyond that!

We have learned that people who benefit most from Anahitapolis.com services are:

  1. Hackerpreneurs (Hacker + Entrepreneurs) who have experience and knowledge in both technology and business development. These are the deadliest warriors in the technology world. You future competitor is very likely a hackerpreneur.
  2. Future Hackerpreneurs: People who don’t have all the technical skills, but have the ambition and commitment to use Anahitapolis.com as a social learning environment to improve and nurture their technical and community management knowledge while we give them the basic building blocks for launching their projects.
  3. Any combination of the last 2 who have software development resources. i.e Companies, Startups, and Integrated Project Teams who are either founded by Hackerpreneurs or have hired hackers in their group.

Please Note: I am using the term Hacker as Paul Graham uses it which is a complement amongst our type of species.

These 3 categories are worth investing in, because they are the ones who will most likely be impacting our future lives! If you look at many of the projects on the web that changed our lives (Facebook, twitter, Apple, Google, Amazon, Flickr, WordPress, or Drupal) they have been founded or co-founded by people who fit in one of those 3 categories.

Another question is: Why not build Anahita™ packed with point-and-click features? After all if we ever want to have any chance of success, we should serve the none-techie/none-coder/business-developer/idea-person! Right? Wrong!

  1. People who think by reading an instruction manual they can launch a game changing online business are unlikely to make it happen, but they waste lots of time and resources throughout the process.
  2. If a customization can be done with 10 or 100 lines of code, it will take thousands of lines of code to be done the point-and-click way. Now if you want to build a software that is packed with many point-and-click customization features, you will end up with with a software packed with hundreds and thousands of lines of code. Such a software does not scale up well, it is slow, does not evolve, and more likely to be buggy and insecure.

So neither the product nor the people who will be using it are going to have a significant impact on our future. Sorry idea folks! It is just how it’s going to be. We think it would be unethical that we grab your money and give you false hopes. Unless you are interested to learn the knowledge.

Todays Internet is powered with software and as Marc Prensky says in his article, “As programming becomes more important, it will leave the back room and become a key skill and attribute of our top intellectual and social classes, just as reading and writing did in the past. Remember, only a few centuries ago, reading and writing were confined to a small specialist class whose members we called scribes.”

Thank you Mr. Johan Janssens for pointing me to this great article.

Anahita ™ Todos has replaced Anahita ™ Projects

How do we find time to enjoy our cappuccinos? we use Anahita ™ Todos!

We have successfully started using the Anahita ™ Todos social app on Anahitapolis website for managing todos and milestones in all of our projects. There is also an Embryo release package available for download. We are going to use this social app for a while on the Anahitapolis.com and pretty soon there will be Birth release available to you once we find it stable enough to be used on your live social networks.

Anahita ™ Todos is replacing the Anahita ™ Projects which was initially developed as the project management social app for Anahita and we have been using it since Nov. 2010 to manage about 10 projects on Anahitapolis.com

Anahita ™ Projects was basically a custom groups with features to handle to-do items, to-do lists, and milestones. Back then we thought this app would evolve and specialize as a project management tool. After several months of using it, we realized that we were maintaining two social apps, Anahita Groups and Projects, which were mostly identical in terms of providing groups functionality. There was no point in maintaining two codebase with mostly similar aspects! So a better approach was to instead improve the Anahita ™ Groups app and then develop the Anahita ™ Todos which is now installable on both groups and people profiles.

There is always such a grace in simplicity!

I really would like to write more about how projects are managed in Anahitapolis community. A lot of people still wonder how 2 people get to manage and develop 10 projects and still find free time to enjoy their cappuccinos! That’s because solutions built on a social networking engine such as Anahita™ put your productivity and communication on steroids or shall I say on good wholesome caffeine!

If we can do it, so can you. So sign up as  Premium Tribe Member and start building the foundations of your business on the next generation of productivity and communication tools that Anahita™ provides.

Anahita ™ Photos 1.0 Birth Release is available for download

Before I start, today is Vancouver’s 125th Birthday so Happy Birthday to our beautiful Vancouver the city that many great Sci-Fi TV shows such as Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Stargate, and X-Files were filmed here. City of coffee, sushi, and natural beauty.

Anahita ™ Photos is now a Birth release

This is perhaps my most favorite app in the collection of Anahita social applications. I do take a lot of pictures (Glamour, Dance, Music, and Drama) and I’ve always been inspired by platforms such as flickr, tumbler, and WordPress. One of my major pet peeves is that a lot of photo sharing services and applications out there are not really built for the visual artists who put a lot of time and effort into every individual work that they produce and instead geared towards people who upload batches of poorly shot vacation pictures into their albums.

Anahita Photos is developed as a photo blogging and sharing social application for those who share their stories using pictures rather than words. In this application every image receives individual respect and attention.

Anahita Photos is very versatile and it can be installed on both people and group profiles. Owners and authors can adjust the privacy settings per photograph, and it seamlessly integrates with the Anahita social networking engine. In the birth release of this social applications we have done quite a bit of optimization and usability enhancements based on the feedback we have received from the Anahitapolis members and our own observations. The following are the summary of some of the improvements:

Improved Multiple Photo Upload Workflow

We have improved the entire process of uploading multiple images and adding them to an existing or new album. The photo uploader is also now aware of the file size upload limit which is set by the website admin in the back-end.

Multiple File Upload

Select and upload a set of images files.

Create Album

After a batch of photos are uploaded you can create a new album to which all the newly uploaded photos will be added.

Select Album

Or simply select an existing album. After the photos are added to an album, then you are forwarded to the album page. It is also possible not to add the photos to any albums and skip this process all together.

The Photo Stream

The photo stream renders as a blog view. Photo titles and descriptions can be edited at this view. Simply click on the title or description positions and they’ll turn into editable fields. We have increased the width of the images displayed on this page to 620 pix so they look quite prominent. All the pagination is done in AJAX. The list of albums on the right column is sorted based on the last update time so every time that you add a photo to an album, the album moves to the top of the list.

Photo Stream

 

The Photo View

Every photo can be commented on (and tagged in the future releases). You can edit the title or description field by simply clicking on them. They’ll turn into editable fields. A photo can belong to more than one album. The albums are listed on the right column.

Photo View

 

Albums View

List of albums is displayed as a growing grid.

Albums View

 

The Album View

The album view layout has been redesigned to make better use of the space. In this view you can also edit the album’s title and description by simply clicking those fields to make them editable.

Album View

 

Album Slideshow

By clicking the “View Slideshow” link you can view the images within an album in a light box and navigate back and forth using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

Remove photos from an album

You can change the cover an album by simply dragging and dropping one of the thumbnails over the album cover area.

Change Album Cover

You can also select multiple images and remove them from an album.

Edit Title

To edit the album’s title just simply click on the title field and it becomes editable.

Edit Description

To edit the album’s description just simply click on the description field and it becomes editable.

Where can we download it?

Our Premium Tribe members can download the Anahita ™ Photos from this page.

Not a Premium Tribe member yet?

You can sign up here and start using one of the most advanced social networking technologies ever built in the open source world.