Research Log of Web Science Students

Computer Science is not simply programming

Stumbling Blocks

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netvibes_screen

This post is about doubts.

From reading a lot of blogs, we had a few ideas on what we wanted for our PLE but I thought we needed something to build on — a solid ground, some building blocks (we already have our developer tools and skills ready).

The next step, I thought, would be to look for a platform. We wanted it more or less to cater to the requirements of our PLE: It would have social networking functionality, we could whip up our own look and feel to it, etc. I imagined a framework that was already coded to take care of authentication, persistence, managing comments (since our PLE is a social platform too),already had plugs to plug in widgets but it turns out it was rather aimless.

Looking at netvibes made me doubt the rationale of our PLE being a mashup.
Netvibes had everything we imagined our PLE to be. It had plugs for third party tools. Although social networking was within netvibes only, you could connect with your friends in other networks via widgets. Building code on top of it wasn’t problem, they have an API for that. You can make your own theme using their theme builder although I thought their UI was too tabularly layouted for the PLE we had in mind. And that was the only drawback I could see.

I needed to figure out why we can’t just use netvibes to build our PLE, save us time and effort. How do we justify building a semi-mashup PLE ourselves when a webtop had almost everything our thesis offers?

I thought the keyword here is “Almost”. Netvibes didn’t have the look and feel we had in mind but that’s not what our thesis is about in the first place. So that aside, I thought it would be more convenient for us to develop on top of Netvibes. We could leverage its plugins and functionalities and try to make compromises with the UI design goal. But something did not feel right. I didn’t know what. I looked at the Netvibes API again to find out if it allowed building our own AJAX powered UI. We wouldn’t have any problem if Netvibes did.

What I saw made me realize the mashup-ness of our thesis.

– Jeune

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Written by Jose Asuncion

July 29, 2009 at 5:20 am

Posted in Hardwire

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