DrupalCampNYC 10

Saturday 12 · 10 · 2011

Building Social Networks


This session will address how complex social networks of various types can be built with Drupal. The nuances of Feeds, Walls, Sharing (both private and public), Friends, Following, and (most importantly) Privacy will be explored, and options for building these features with Drupal will be discussed, with examples from the real world.

This is an advanced session but anyone with social-networking dreams would benefit from learning the challenges in building one.

How do you make a network "Social"?
A Drupal site is a network of users and content, but it is not inherently social. It's greatest original feature was the ability for multiple users to collaborate in managing the system. We'll talk about what makes networks social and what makes them fun: Feeds, Activity, & Sharing.

"News Feeds" can show not only your friend's content, but your friends-of-your-friends content when the target is your friend. Sound complicated? It is!

"Activity" is when you become friends with someone, join the site, "like" something, commented on something... the list goes on. Without activity display, a social network feels more like a MySpace than Facebook. But be careful... if you list each new activity all of your friends make, it can get clogged with redundant announcements. Learn how we devised a system that lets us smartly group recent activity taken by user, taxonomy term, or node.

Great social networks may be easy to use, but the logic behind true social networks is very complex.

The Details

  • Building news feeds for friends and "followed" terms with Search API with Apache Solr
  • How to let users "share" content and write on other users "walls".
  • Creating an "activity" system that shows users activity around the site and can group similar activity together.
  • Privacy & Permissions: How to give control where control is due.
  • Clean & Smooth UX: The never-ending struggle.

About the Speaker
Jonathan is the Founder & CTO of ThinkDrop Consulting, a tiny little Drupal shop in Brooklyn, New York and has been developing with Drupal for more than 7 years, coding with PHP for more than 10 years, and hypertexting with HTML since 1997. The session is be based on experiences from working on and will include examples from imbee.com, FoodPop.com, and BlogHer.com.

Schedule info

603H (T)