Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I am in the process of organizing a class reunion, and a tool that provides a forum, some voting mechanism, a wiki, a foto upload option and an adress book would be very useful. So I'd expect to simply select the tools that I'd like to see, configure them and off we go. Add a sprinkle of RSS and mailinglist support, and the reunion is already half way organized.

So I stumbled across Ning, apparently one of Marc Andreesen's startups.

Its a pretty cool idea - a social webapp builder that is available for free as a hosted service. The elevator pitch is just what the doctor ordered - I have been looking for tools that match my mounting ad-hoc requirements (s.o.), and ning sounds like it could just pull it off.

But no sir, that would just be too simple.

I must say I am uttely unimpressed. Not only was it dead slow (who builds such a thing on PHP?), it crashed on ever second click (thats ok, its beta). The thing that is really annoying is that I could not figure out how to do anything except clone an already existing app, or delve into the dungeons of PHP (a browser that lets you manage all properties of the system is available).

Maybe I missed something obvious, but for the moment I stick to email and phone to organize my reunion.


  1. Hi Boris - Jon here from Ning. Just wondering which browser you are using, and what error message you get on crashes (i.e. Ning errors, or Firefox timeouts).

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  3. Jon,

    most likely Camino or Safari on OSX

  4. Alright - thx Boris.

  5. Hi there - Yoz Grahame here, Ning Developer Advocate. I'm sorry to hear you had such problems using our service! We do have several apps for organising social groups, the most popular one being Groups - after you clone it, the setup screen lets you configure the settings.

    I'm worried about your talk of crashing - if you could let me know the specifics of what happened, we'd really appreciate it. You can email me at yoz (at) ning.com.

    Anyway, thanks for the report, sorry we didn't live up to expectations, and we'll keep working to make things better!

  6. That ("groups") is actually the app I cloned. As I said, there is no straightforward way to add functionality. Can't help you with details on the crashes, as I am really busy with Magnolia.