Tuesday, May 18, 2010

eXo Social Project Released

We rolled out our Social open source project yesterday. To me there are two interesting things that Java shops will now be able to do very easily:

1. Activity Streams. Rich Friedman calls this the new Home Page. In Facebook land this translates to other messages posted by friends. In the Enterprise world, this means events that happen in the organization. The critical events in an organization are typically tracked by enterprise Java Apps - things like new sales, new leads, escalation of problems, thresholds being hit, inventory levels rising or dropping too fast. With eXo Social, we make it easy to let users have access to these events via their own Activity Stream.

2. The Real Organization. Companies are not always run by the formal organization, but the informal network that is created when individuals work collaboratively to solve problems and move the company forward. Social networking has a bad image of employees wasting time with Farmville, but when implemented within the enterprise it can help enable the natural collaboration and communications channels that are needed to move companies forward.

We got a lot of coverage on this announcement. I like this one from CMSWire - "Things have changed a lot for eXo". Other highlights:

"Free to download under the AGPL license today is eXo Platform's new eXo Social 1.0, a software package based on OpenSocial. It allows developers and IT organizations to "own" the move to enterprise social networks, unlike the simplistic packages that let business managers run the software." - JavaLobby

"The eXo software is part of a platform that extends Java middleware into cloud applications." - Dana Blankenhorn, ZDNet

"A set of built-in gadgets are included as the starting point for those developing custom enterprise social gadgetry. Applications can appear as "users" of the social network too, allowing users to follow the progress of, for example, a bug tracking or integration system or results from a data analysis process. eXo says that eXo Social will make it easy to integrate with other applications to create developer dashboards, present aggregate data or just incorporate social features in existing applications." - The H Open

"While there are many proprietary tools aimed at allowing enterprises to customize their social networking, eXo Social may command an advantage because it is open source and therefore easy to tweak according to varying needs." - O-Static

"Very excited about eXo social: the activity stream as a service. Beautifully restful & open http://budurl.com/xsoc" - Edwin K

And of course the official eXo Social blog post:
  • From a simple corporate directory to an Enterprise Social Network
  • Spaces lets any user become a community manager by simply clicking a “add a new space” button. In a space, a community manager can add and remove applications to the workspace in a single-click. Behind the scenes, Spaces manages all the plumbing of creating a page, adding an application on it and setting up permissions.
  • The support for gadgets offer great mashup capabilities, and they can be integrated as first-class applications with spaces.
  • As an example of it, take a look at this video that shows how a team of developers has tuned eXo Social for their own needs. They created activity streams for JIRA, Sonar and Hudson applications, which then publish application activity into a development team space.
Also, check out the eXo Social Resource Center for some great tutorials and videos like this one showing extending the Grails Bookstore demo app. This is similar to how VMWare/Spring demonstrated with Salesforce Chatter for VMForce - only it can work with your data, not just the SalesForce data model.

Java developers can download eXo Social now and have sample apps up and running in an hour or less.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New version of RunSignUp Coming

There is an exciting new release of www.RunSignUp.com coming next week! We would like to invite all of our race directors to be a part of our testing process. All you need to do is go to http://test.RunSignUp.com. You should be able to login with your usual username and password (there is a convenient button if you forgot your password that will set up a new one for you). We have your registered users for your race as of a few days ago. The best thing to do is go in and try to add some of the new features, like store items or a donation or a coupon code and see how your race page looks. Go ahead and add runners to your event. The credit card processing is NOT hooked up – so there will be no charges if you test that out. And we will not be saving any of this data or any of the changes you make to your test race. Let us know any feedback or suggestions. Thanks! Here is a look at the major new features:
  • Easy Family Sign Up. Allows a person to sign up multiple people at the same time, making things faster, easier and less expensive.
  • Custom Questions. You can now ask runners for additional information – such as if they want to be on your newsletter mailing list, or how much they have been training, or what they like most about your event, or how many years they have run your event, or even what team or relay they are a part of (we will have a better solution for that in the next release in June).
  • Donations. You can now accept simple donations. You can set up predetermined levels, and people can donate anonymously. This can also be a separate widget that you put on your website all year round to accept donations to your charitable organization.
  • Store. This gives you the ability to easily sell additional items, such as Pasta dinner tickets, or perhaps race logo clothing. Again, this can be a separate widget that you could have on your website all year long. There is also the ability to have a cut-off date for ordering. This is convenient for doing pre-order only items.
  • Store Order Management. Manage your orders with adding shipping information, archiving orders, and doing partial refunds.
  • Coupons. Set up any number of coupons. For example, you could have an “Elite” coupon to take 100% off the cost of a race. You could have a “USATF Member” coupon to take $2 off of a race. Use any combination of $ and %, as well as set what type of registrations can use it (first time only, once per family, etc.)
  • Participants Widget. Use this to show who has signed up for your race. Since you can upload paper entries for free, you can show all runners who are registered for your race.
  • Custom Email templates. We now allow race directors to customize the emails that are sent to race participants.
  • Easier to use Race Director page. We have gone to a full menu system on the races page that will allow you direct access to more functions. This makes it simpler for you to use and allows us to keep bringing you great new features.
Unless we find bugs that delay us, we plan on releasing the new system on Monday, May 10. Please take some time and let us know what you think! Thank you!