How We Did It (Geeks Guide)

Technology

The mobile application has been written in HTML and JavaScript, with a number of third-party libraries providing advanced functions and deep integration into Facebook. The majority of those libraries are under the MIT or Apache licenses; the use of open-source software was a project goal, but for the sake of meeting the September 30th deadline the project does use two server-side closed-source technologies — Google App Engine and Fusion Tables. We intend to dispense with both of them as soon as possible in favor of a fully-open technology stack.

The specific technologies used in the project are:

  • Application Front-end

 

    • jQuery
    • jQuery Mobile
    • jQuery Slugify
    • Google Maps JavaScript Library V3
    • Google GeoJSON
    • underscore.js
    • backbone.js
    • require.js
  • Application Server

 

    • Google App Engine
    • Fusion Tables
  • Social API

 

    • Facebook Open Graph Beta
  • Datasets

 

Open Graph Protocol

The current version of Mi-Parque uses Facebook’s Timeline, communicating with a members Timeline through Open Graph Protocol objects ( http://ogp.me/ ). Applications using this protocol are able to exchange objects to build a social graph populated with diverse forms of data representing opinions, places, actions, and so on.

Facebook Timeline

Facebook’s Timeline (currently in beta) allows us to create custom actions and objects for the Mi-Parque app. At present users can vote on polls; future iterations will introduce the ability to blog about environmental issues, share videos and post community meetings. Users will be able to poll their friends, and their friends will in turn be able to encourage community-wide action by publishing their votes on their Facebook Timelines.

The Open Graph Protocol is a flexible public standard, made available by Facebook for any site to use. When talking with the community members in Little Village we found that many, perhaps the majority, are enthusiastic users of Facebook. We hope to give members of the community the chance to share their thoughts & ideas using social networking infrastructure that they were already using. Further, the Open Graph Protocol can be used to communicate between any website/application able to produce & parse it, which should make it possible to create a variety of new functions, interoperating with websites & applications which do not yet exist in ways that we have not at present identified (for example, if other area communities develop their own apps, activity can be shared across those apps for citywide community involvement).

Open Graph Edit

Because the Open Graph Protocol is still in beta, and not public to all Facebook users, anyone wanting to use these features must be manually added as a Tester on the Mi-Parque Facebook app. Facebook requires that all Testers are “friends” of the developer; therefore to gain access please contact us (skinintheg4me@gmail.com). We expect that Facebook will formally launch the Open Graph Protocol in October, making this step unnecessary.


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