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[Social-discuss] An introduction, and info about Appleseed

From: Michael Chisari
Subject: [Social-discuss] An introduction, and info about Appleseed
Date: Thu, 13 May 2010 12:12:03 -0500


My name is Michael Chisari, I'm the lead developer for the Appleseed project.  I wanted to give a brief introduction, and get some discussion going about how to open up social networks.

Appleseed is a social networking project written in PHP using MySQL.  It's been in development for a while now, and already works as a proof-of-concept.  Distributed friend relationships, remote logins, remote messaging (using an approach similar to IM2000), all work relatively well.  It is still in early beta, and there's a ton of work to be done, but it's a good playground for distributed methods.

My next goals for the project are the following:

Use mature libraries in place of homegrown code - Much of Appleseed's code was written from scratch, and better libraries to do the things it does now exist. Replacing the internal code with mature, external libraries will simplify the project and allow the focus to be more on the social networking aspects. 

Move to a modular architecture - Right now, Appleseed is very monolithic. This was useful for getting the project to a certain point in terms of capability, but for future growth, moving to a modular, component-based architecture will be necessary. 

Settle on a common protocol - Working with other open source projects, such as Elgg and OneSocialWeb, we can create a common protocol for distributed social networking. I'm leaning towards an extension of XMPP, since Appleseed's current protocol is already very similar, and OnceSocialWeb already uses XMPP. Plus, building off of an established standard has it's advantages. 

I do understand the pros and cons of using a commodity-hosted approach, but I think it's the approach I feel most comfortable with, and which I think has the best possibility of attracting a sufficient userbase.  As far as which approach should be used, I really think it's a "sprint for the finish line and see who gets there first" sort of situation.

Here is a list of resources for Appleseed:

I created a Mozilla Drumbeat profile.  Please create an account and "like" the project so it gets noticed.

The main Appleseed project site is currently hosted on Sourceforge.

Also, I've created a test site for people who have been having troubles installing Appleseed to get an account to play around with.  The site is pretty bare, but it's available here:

It does use an invite system, so if you'd like an invite, please email me back and let me know.

I've set up a Google Group for discussions, available here:

And there's also a project/bug tracker using PHPCollab:

And a Wiki for documentation:

Michael Chisari

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