Mashups are a unique aspect of Web 2.0 technologies. They incorporate features and information from multiple sources to increase access to knowledge and allow systems to interoperate in new and meaningful ways which would otherwise be challenging to build. From this perspective, an online community for sharing mashups makes a lot of sense, as no two will ever be identical and much of their value lies in the efficiency through which they integrate several systems. There is a great potential for interaction as developers look for new ways to improve the quality of their own solutions.
Challenge and Approach
JackBe's main product, Presto, is the tool used to author enterprise mashups. Educating users on how to achieve results with Presto involves understanding it's core operations as well as visualizing the possibilities for what it can be used to accomplish. Trellon developed a platform for online interaction focused on exposing the potential for using Presto targetted at user groups that incorporated the following elements as part of the overall strategy:
- Incorporate systems documentation with user generated content to allow users to share information on best practices within the context of authorative content.
- Allow users to interact online through blogs, forums, stories and other forms of social media.
- Operate on a mature, stable social media platform to manage content in multiple formats, including text, images, video, and audio, as well as content loaded from external systems via XML feeds.
Mashup Developer Community Portal
Trellon built the Mashup Developer Community site using Acquia Drupal. Since the community will consist primarily of enterprise developers, Acquia was chosen to provide the enterprise support the community is accustomed to and ensure the site stays operational at all times.
Sharing is Fundamental
Participating in forums. Publishing to a blog. Promoting projects through a video. Developers have lots of ways to interact and share information about their mashups. The community portal was built to handle a wide range of social media content, which enable users to see what other people are up to and receive support on technical problems directly from other members of the community. All content shared in the community is tagged and categorized to help users understand who the key players are with specific aspects of the functionality.
Personalization and Social Media
In order to make the user experience more meaningful, the site was configured to provide numerous personalization options. Users creating accounts on the mashup site are provided with a personalized user home page, listing account information, bookmarks to favorite content, and points reflecting their participation in the community. Users are able to upload photos and other information about themselves to help others identify themselves within the community. Links to popular social bookmarking communities are provided to allow users to easily share content through existing social networks.
In the midst of a discussion about how to carry out a task, people need to refer to the documentation to work out the nuanced details of technical concepts. Trellon integrated a system for integrating with existing systems documentation through an AJAX interface. Users are able to lookup details of the Presto API without ever needing to leave their current web page. JackBe is able to administer content within the documentation through existing systems, allowing them to avoid having information stored in several systems.