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Beautiful Architecture by Diomidis Spinellis, Georgios Gousios

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Creating a Social Web Portal: FBML

The services discussed earlier provide outside application stacks the ability to incorporate the social platform’s data into their systems, which is a powerful step. These data architectures realize the promise of making the social platform’s data more available: users in common between the external application (e.g., http://fettermansbooks.com) and the data platform (e.g., http://facebook.com) can share their social information between them, eliminating the need for a new social network with every new social application. However, even with these new capabilities, these applications don’t yet enjoy the full power of a social utility like Facebook. The applications still need to be discovered by many users to become valuable. At the same time, not all of the internal data supporting the social platform can be made available to these external stacks. The platform creator needs to solve each of these problems, which we take in turn.

product problem: For social applications to gain compelling critical mass, users on the supporting social graph must be made aware of other users’ interactions with these applications. This suggests deeper integration of the application into the social site.

This problem has existed since the dawn of software: the difficulty of getting our data, product, or system out into general use. The lack of users becomes a particularly notable difficulty in the space of Web 2.0 because without users to consume and (especially) generate ...

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