Project SocialSite opens up
Sun Microsystems' Project SocialSite has been released, in an early development form, under a CDDL/GPL licence. SocialSite was previewed at JavaOne earlier this year as a way of incorporating social networking features into existing web applications, without requiring a rearchitecting of back-end systems and services.
SocialSite has two major components, a Java based server which maintains a social graph and a set of JMaki widgets which can be incorporated into existing pages to show parts of the social graph, such as friends and activities. It is also possible to use OpenSocial gadgets in the web application's pages; the server makes this possible by implementing the OpenSocial REST API. The gadgets are independent of the underlying application server and so can be embedded in Java, Ruby, PHP based applications.
By moving the social graph management work out to separate server, the social networking features can also be shared between different web applications within an organisation, enterprise or association. As social networking within the enterprise is regarded by some commentators as the next big thing to change how enterprises function, SocialSite is potentially of great interest to businesses and, when fully released, could be a very rapid way to overlay an enterprise social network over legacy web applications.
Project SocialSite still has some way to go though. The release is not a formal release but a snapshot of work in progress; the developers admit the code is "a bit rough and critical features, such as security, are not implemented yet". It has been released at this time with an eye to inviting other developers to join in the project's development.