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Ellg and FOAF

Written by Alcides Fonseca at 2007/12/29

Ever wanted to host your own Facebook or Hi5? Have the benefits of a social network, but without outsourcing it to 3rd parties like Crowdvine or Ning?



I’ve already posted on creating your own social network and mentioned Elgg, an OpenSource SocialNetwork that includes features such as:





And two that caught my attention:





OpenID is a obvious advantage comparing to hi5, Facebook or even other social networks. It allows you to have your own Identity shared by all your social networks (if you want). But what about importing content? I really thought they were thinking XFN, hCards and other microformats, but no. They are using another standard: FOAF. The Friend of a Friend standard is a XML-RDF way of expressing connections between people and information about them. And it’s even compatible with OpenID.



But personally I believe more in the hCard+XFN solution. It allows you to have your data encapsulated in your content, and not a separated XML file. You write the code once, and it’s readable by both people and machines. I guess those two tribes should gather and pick on a real solution. It’s been so hard for people to start adopting this kind of standards that if there are two to choose from, we will never have that decentralized social network we all dream of.