Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More evolving than building really..., 15 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Building Social Web Applications (Paperback)
Building Social Web Applications (written by Gavin Bell for O'Reilly press) is a tough book top review for the simple reason that it's a pretty tough book to classify! From a programmers point of view one thing it really won't tell you how to do it to build web applications of any type, social or not. Equally it's not really about planning an social web application from the ground up with all the fiddly information architecture and so on that involves. Really it sits in the unholy middle ground and is much more concerned with marketing and sociology than the technical manual you might be expecting. It has some nice coverage of build principles (build small and expand, develop APIs so people can hook into your site etc.) and most of these principles will have a handful of references to papers or sites that will tell you more. To be honest though I found this approach rather frustrating. It may work well on a website where the information is merely a hyperlink away but coming across some long, user unfriendly URL in the middle of a paragraph really is just grating. How useful the book is to you will really depend on what you are doing. If you're at the start of the road with just a germ of an idea then it's not likely to be much use to you as anything more than some developmental pointers for later down the road where you will really be wanting information and technical architecture. In fact you may find the claim of (roughly) ideas are easy technology is hard makes you want to throw the book out of the window! Equally if you are after a technical manual to cover how to build applications then you will be disappointed. If however you have started to develop an idea and want to know where to take it, the principles to employ to ensure your application is scalable and approaches to take to market your application and engage your audience then it could be an absolute gem.

In summary if you want some general developmental pointers at the start of a social media project it's a good book. If you have a social media project or application you want to scale and expand while still keeping it coherent and social it's a great book. If however you want to code up a specced up application then it's pretty much a door stop.
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