Monthly Archives: April 2007

As well as the FMS development there’s a whole load of back-end to be constructed in PHP/MySQL to support the Flash. This week I started building that lot.

Registering and managing user accounts are pretty straightforward, on top of that there are some access levels around creating the new boards, which are essentially self-administrated user groups – again quite easy with Dreamweaver’s built-in authentication features.

With these groups I can then play with some networking, I don’t really want to do much about defining friends and relationships between users that explicitly, that whole side of social networking isn’t so central to the project but there’s obviously connections generate automatically that users could maybe do something with.

What I’m defining are wider networks, unique to each user based on their communities’ connections.

Talkboards - Preliminary Networks Diagram

Basically the networks are quite large, divided as Immediate or Extended. Immediate Network members will be those who are members of communities the user have themselves created – admin, above. Extended Networks are then the users who are part of the groups that that user is also part of, more ‘indirect’ connections, obviously far larger.

The diagram is pretty self-explanatory, as admin of Board C, User3 would have User6 and User7 in their Immediate Network, where they remain in the Extended for User1.

As of the end of this week most of this in now in place, I’m finding problems with nested repeat regions querying this information. For example, returning multiple users from a single SQL query which itself returns the multiple connections a primary user has with the defined communities. It works for the first returned results, I’ve jus got to figure out how to do this across the board.

OK so today was the beginning promised yesterday of wearing out my Flash icon instead of Word anymore.

My previous post went here (via here) for a very basic prototype of the text API/interface going on with the project. Basically all the stuff presented in my Minor, and that too, are static Flash media, yet to be put onto the Media Server.

Essentially whenever anyone visits a HTML page on the Web they access a page stored on a host server. Whenever a user visits a static Flash media, they view a single instance of that .swf that they alone are accessing. All other users seeing that .swf are visiting their own individual instances – similar to having their own duplicates of a copy stored on a server – none are connected to any other users’ instance.

Flash Media Server hosts networked .swfs on a server enabling multiple users to access specified instances of a .swf to any users visiting that same (prepared) instance. So there’s the ability to interoperate and it facilitates web-cams and audio conference etc, some nice stuff.

Anyway, so my Flash files right now are all static, pre-Server. Most of the client-side interface and functionality are operating, today began that massive commute to server-side work.

Flash Blocks

Here’s a really simple example knocked up this morning.
You can drag around these squares, but when you refresh the page the blocks reset to the original position.

With this example though, when you move then refresh the page – i.e. reload the .swf, the blocks remain.
Right now the data is stored locally using SharedObjects and .getLocal() methods, the variables are stored within locally to your Flash Player.

Eventually the data will be stored (host) server-side for regenerating environments as left by users. More like a message boards than chat systems, each community space can then collect content over time, layering and collaborating info as it ages, so any state can be left and revisited, rebuilt dynamically.

Hello.

Seems even though I’d planned not to start a production blog until I’d finished the dissertation, I’ve spent the past week celebrating the hand-in and clearly not even got around to registering yet.

So here it is. Monday 2nd April 2007, Stardate -315749.1 apparently.

The project is kind hard to explain, it’s basically collective community-defined chat spaces, but unlike chat rooms and message boards everything is non-linear, the structure and the interface are totally different to the conventional methods. It’s a bit concepty so it’s not like strictly a communication ‘tool’, it’s a bit of fun – it’s not going to make anyone redundant any time soon.

About 6 o’clock this morning was the deadline for the Rhizome Commissions Project which I just about managed to meet, here’s a shiny excerpt – the working title seems to be Talkboards:

Talkboards are community-defined and administrated spaces creating interactive, collaborative art formed on users’ online communication.

Built on subverting the accepted ideas and structures of ‘traditional’ communication platforms, Talkboards converge features native to chat rooms, message boards and instant messengers, borrowing existing, familiar and already successful functionality, to find innovation with an entirely original and highly interactive interface. Talkboards challenge the essential form vs. function argument in a place where it’s completely unexpected.

Full version here.

Most of it is superfluous spiel, but its 500 words explaining it a bit better and there are a couple of screens on there too. There’s a very basic prototype as well, I’ve got far better versions I used for my Minor presentation that I’ll get up here later.

Four weeks to go I believe, guess it all begins today.

Sometimes it might seem like it was planned.