User registration and login is important, but if you have spent any amount of time building websites you have probably already built that kind of functionality in several different languages. As the main source of user identification and as the first line of defense security-wise, authentication is always an important piece of the puzzle not to be overlooked.
The real experience begins once your user has successfully created his account and logged into the application. This is the user interface: the boundary between the user and your system where all of the interaction will take place.
The user interface for our social network will consist of three parts:
A contact list
An activity stream
As you will see, despite having multiple things happening on the page, each component is quite distinct. When the application code is kept cleanly separated it becomes possible to think of each piece of interaction separately from all of the others; this makes it easy to build, change, and share code even between radically different parts of the application.
The account details page contains all of the information our user has entered about himself including his name, date of birth, email address, photograph, and biographical information.
You may edit any of the visible contents when you view your own account details page. Those edits will be immediately published and viewable by others next time they visit your profile. Later in the book this ...