Truth is, I’m not sure if this is the technically the world’s “first” Flex-based social networking application, but I can say that I haven’t see anything else like it in Flex – so there’s a good chance it is. Nevertheless, hopefully the title was enough to grab some attention
|I came up with the idea for Xuland a year ago. At the time I simply wanted to come up with a project that would allow me to dive into the Flex 4 Beta and try out some new frameworks (other than Cairngorm). I chose Swiz for its “brutal simplicity” and I was immediately impressed.|
I present this first to the greater Flex community as I’m really interested in feedback at this stage of its development. Does it make sense? Does it load fast?
My biggest concern: determining whether Flash was the right platform for a site like this. Honestly, I don’t see why not. Flex is a great framework. Flash is a great multimedia platform. Add a little social networking features and you could have the makings of something great.
I wasn’t able to attend MAX this year although I did enter Xuland into the 2010 MAX Awards. There were several other amazing sites that Adobe chose over Xuland and I don’t blame them. There truly is some fantastic talent out there and I feel blessed to even be remotely part of this group.
To put it simply, Xuland is a social network centered on location, rather than a friend’s list.
It started off as a way to get to know your neighbors…the people that are most likely *not* on your friend’s list. I’ve always thought Facebook was a great way to re-connect with old friends and family (not “old family”, sorry Mom) but you wouldn’t necessarily meet new people on Facebook. I remember back in the days of MySpace when random strangers would friend each other…some folks had thousands of “friends”. It was always so bizarre to me. I’m not sure if that same trend has crossed over into Facebook since its advent of fan-pages but still sites like these didn’t feel like the appropriate place to establish new friends.
|A better opportunity arose through Yelp. Yelp centers itself on geography. You can see reviews of the restaurant down the street which is fantastic but it was difficult to carry on a conversation with past reviewers. Sure there’s message boards, but it would be nice to carry on a real-time conversation with someone in your same town that you did not already have a past relationship with (i.e. “on your friend’s list”).|
Xuland eventually morphed into a FLASH-ier alternative to Craigslist, complete with a commenting & rating engine, Google map that pools postings into the comment stream based on location and selected radius, a built-in ad & local event submittal system and there’s even a simple image editor. No, this isn’t your father’s Craigslist.
I’m going to add a lot more, including extending the project to include mobile. What I’ve done so far took a lot of work (spare time with a family, mind you) but I’m happy to keep chugging forward as long as the site finds some real use out there.
What I really hope is to prove that Adobe Flash & Flex can be used for much more than dashboard and charting widgets or for unseen back-office intranet apps.
I had a lot of fun exploring Flex 4′s new skinning architecture, the Swiz inversion-of-control framework, the cloud technology that I’m using to host Xuland and many other bits and pieces of knowledge I had to find to assemble this all together.
I don’t think the site is ready for global public consumption quite yet. There’s a lot of little details I need to iron out but it works for the most part. I invite anyone reading to try it out and let me know what you think!
The map should geolocate to your general area, but it won’t be exact. If it’s off, drag the map around and set your new default location (you’ll have to login).
You can also (change) the map to anywhere else in the world which is nice. Talk to folks in Munich, or Paris. Change the map zoom, too. As the radius changes, so does the number of viewable comments. The red dot in the middle essentially shows the center of the map around which it pools comments.
|Login with your Facebook or other social networking accounts, or create your own Xuland account via the registration form. Try posting a comment, attach an image, or real estate posting. There are many categories similar to what you’d find on any classified ads website. You can also post a local event (I got a little tired of getting invited on Facebook to events that were in other cities!).|
I’ll post more on this blog and on Xuland’s own Tumblr blog. It’s getting a little difficult juggling all of this so bear with me if I seem a little slow, otherwise thanks so much for reading and trying out Xuland.