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Building Social Web Applications Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0596518752 ISBN-10: 0596518757 Edition: 1st

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Building Social Web Applications + Building Web Reputation Systems + Designing Social Interfaces: Principles, Patterns, and Practices for Improving the User Experience (Animal Guide)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596518757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596518752
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Establishing Community at the Heart of Your Site

About the Author

Gavin Bell designs social web applications for the Nature Publishing Group. He is an interaction designer, community advocate and product manager. Since the early 90s, he has been writing and designing for the web. Large scale web applications covering identity, on-demand media, geolocation and social software have been the main focus of his work at NPG and previously at the BBC. He has worked in academia, advertising, publishing and developed multimedia software. He lives in London with his wife and two sons. Find out more on his personal site gavinbell.com and his blog take one onion.

Photo © James Duncan Davidson


More About the Author

Gavin Bell has been playing around with the Web since 1993. He has worked in academia,
designed multimedia CD-ROM applications, and worked in advertising. After
a few years at the BBC advising on how to create web applications and creating systems
to represent TV and radio programs on the Web, he is now at the Nature Publishing
Group, designing social software for scientists and speaking at conferences on the social
web and how to create it.
Gavin lives in London with his wife, Lucy, his sons, Oscar and Max, and their two cats.
He is looking forward to regaining family weekends, seeing friends, and writing code
to make social apps, rather than writing about them.

Customer Reviews

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The writing is clear and well organized with examples at every step.
S. Waldorf
If you want to get overall knowledge in this area, it is a really long read.
VM
When I first picked up Bell's finished book I gritted my teeth with envy.
Christian Crumlish

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Foti Massimo on December 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for and how-to guide, with code listings and practical examples you better pick another book. Gavin Bell covers the topic from an architect/designer point of view, he also tends keep in mind the business side of things, something I appreciated. This means the content will be valuable for a long time, since languages, tools and frameworks come and go, while the advice you can get from this book is platform agnostic. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a book with just dry theory, it's based on solid experience both from first-hand experience by the author and the way some major social applications have been build and evolved
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Christian Crumlish on February 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
Gavin Bell draws on his extensive experience to offer a well structured guide to adding community elements to a website or application. His book will help any professional planning a social strategy, designing a set of social features, determining the types of relationships to foster among users, and even determining how best to manage change in an existing site or online structure.

Bell covers a wide gamut of issues that a site planner will need to consider, from developing the data schema for people, relationships, and objects; to how best to expose APIs to third-party developers; to the process of rolling out a new product or feature. Anyone developing a social website or app should keep this book handy throughout the process.

Bell and I share a publisher and our titles cover some similar issues. When I first picked up Bell's finished book I gritted my teeth with envy. As I quickly devoured the book, though, I was relieved (or, at least I convinced myself) that our books are complementary and are each useful in their own way.

If you're looking for one book to guide you through the entire process, from conception to launch and into the life of a social web application, then this is the book for you.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By real world experience on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is rich in important ideas and is definitely a must read for those interested in the social web. Unfortunately I suspect that it was either written in haste or (perhaps more likely) the author was still working out his ideas as he wrote it, because it is extremely repetitive. This constant reiteration does make the reading experience rather more hard work than it should be because the underlying material is strong and valuable. I am entirely confident that in the next addition he can easily take out 100 pages and the book will be the stronger for it. This is Gavin's first book and I don't think he was well served by his publisher. A competent editor could and should have pointed out the large areas of duplication. Nonetheless, and to repeat myself :), it is a must read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Waldorf on January 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Gavin Bell's experience in technology and social networking software applications is wonderfully presented and organized. The book is targeted to the system designer rather than the coder - offering practical advice with a healthy dose of theory to explain why some interactions work and others don't. It is so rich in content, the reader will wear out his or her highligher in no time. The writing is clear and well organized with examples at every step. The author includes good graphics, references to interesting websites, chapter summaries and other tools to make the subject approachable to the reader. Anyone contemplating starting or adding a social web application will benefit from this excellent book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By now4dw on February 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
My background is marketing, not programming. I'm IT literate but struggle with anything above simple HTML. None-the-less, I found extraordinary value in this book. Yes, it's technical. But not in a way that leaves non-programmers behind. I found it full of insights that will help ANYONE involved in ANY aspect of building a social site. Specifically, it has enabled me to much more clearly define the 'objects' of my social site and keep my developers focussed on those objects.

In answer to two of the earlier reviewers' comments that the author is repetitive, I can only state that after 40 years of leadership experience, I subscribe wholeheartedly to the 'Tell them what you are going to tell them; Tell them; Tell them you told them' school of thought. Gavin Bell does not go to that extreme but does often reinforce/enhance/distill an earlier concept. I found that a strong positive in helping me digest the weath of knowledge being shared.

If you want to understand why some social sites thrive while others fail, this book is a 'must read'!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By vanderwal on July 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have well over a decade developing, managing, and improving social computing and social web applications and this is the first book I have found that addresses many of the little things that make big differences. Gavin Bell provides not only depth and but breadth of understanding in this book across from development, design, and social implications that much be understood as one cohesive whole. This would be the first book I would recommend who are thinking about building or maintaining a social web application or service out on the web, inside the firewall on an intranet, or through a firewall to business partners or customers.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ira Laefsky VINE VOICE on December 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
Gavin Bell's "Building Social Web Applications: Establishing Community at the Heart of Your Site" is an absolutely vital guide for anyone involved in the development of a social or collaborative web site--whether they are a UX planner, Information Architect, Software Developer or if they are involved involved in the Business Implementation of the Site. It successfully provides guidance in making the external behavior, appearance, application design, and community building efforts congruent with the Social and Collaborative goals of the site's users and implementation team. Like the best sort of User Experience guide, it does not offer a cookie-cutter by-the-numbers approach to all sites' development. Rather, it provides tools and a from the Goals and Audience definition-based approach to defining the appearance, programmatic behavior and recruitment activities necessary to make a site which meets and exceeds the expectations of user's and that will fully support their desired activities. It is a conceptual book which requires the designer/analysts thoughtful participation but all of the tools necessary to planning a Breakthrough Social/Collaborative Web Site are here.

My only quip with this outstanding handbook is that the title and publisher publicity do not (in my opinion) do an adequate job of explaining the intent, approach and richness of this volume. I would have titled it something more like, "A Complete and Thoughtful Handbook to Make A Social Web Application that is Exactly Suited to Your Target Audience and Their Activities"

--Ira Laefsky
IT/HCI Researcher and Consultant
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