A soda pop review site. So far I haven’t done much in the way of real programming (I spent a fair amount of time making the logo, due to my lack of experience with image editors). But I found out a couple of things. Ning is written in PHP (among other things, I’m sure). Ning provides an interface to edit php files, upload, download, etc. But you typically get the original code by cloning an existing site. A few templates are provided. I grabbed a review template. The root directory contains the controllers, such as “index.php” and “addSubject.php”, the actual urls that load up in the web browser. It also contains “config.php”, which serves to allow people to customize a cloned app. There is a template directory called “html”. I edited config.php, a couple of templates, one of the “views”, and uploaded an image. I haven’t investigated the models yet, but I probably will need to when I further customize the site. Or maybe not for this particular one, but a future one. There is a maximum of 10 apps per user.

I am quite impressed with Ning so far. The templates are very well written, and customizing them is an absolutely fantastic way to learn php. AFAIK the user-modifiable application code is in the public domain, too (the code that manages the sites is not).

If any readers have tried Mountain Dew Pitch Black II (sour grape), I’d be interested to read a review.

From what I’ve seen so far, Ning looks like an awesome web application. It’s billed as a tool for building social networking sites. For people to make sites they need to sign up with the developer beta program. I signed up and am waiting until they have room for me.

I can see quite a bit of variety, and every site seems responsive. But I don’t yet know that it can easily be used to build a site like craigslist. Time will tell.

One page of particular interest is the confess page. The page uses AJAX (I finally decided to give up the terminology war). I guess I am a sucker for visual effects, but there is an animated gif spinner logo, like the one in Firefox and Mac OS X, that spins when the AJAX request is being loaded, right next to where the user clicked. Very cool.

Update: (9:08pm) Just got word that I am now in the developer program. More informed opinon coming shortly.

On October 12th I’m heading to Boston for a few days to attend Startup School For Hackers. There’s a wiki over at the site where people started making plans last week (the event is on the 15th). After the event is over, mp3’s of the talks will be released. With Paul Graham, Stephen Wolfram, and Steve Wozniak speaking, I’m sure there will be a lot of great content.

I’m interested in how people decide what to make, how they find and choose their partners, and how their offices are set up.