Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

eCirkit: More social networking

Category: Java, Showcase is a new social networking platform that has it’s fair share of Ajax sprinkled in.

  • On your profile page you can mouse over your user interests and a tooltip popup appears showing the full text of your interests, like favorite TV shows. You can then click the tooltip popup to go into edit mode, edit your data right in place, mouse out and your changes are sent to the server via Ajax.
  • On your manager page, you can view your emails, then click an individual one to see full view in the main content window. From there you can reply and delete.
  • You can use drag and drop to delete users from your contact list into a trash can. The contact is deleted from the backend server.
  • You can use drag and drop to drag 2 of your contacts into the eCirkit connect panel, then type and introduction email. This will introduce the 2 users to each other, and they can then add each other to their contacts list.

The backend is a full Java J2EE web server. I use JSP pages and servlets in the web tier, EJBs in the middle business layer tier, and hibernate persistence layer for the database access.


Posted by Dion Almaer at 11:05 am

3.4 rating from 31 votes


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i wrote something similar a few weeks ago coz i was bored !!…

^^ for the demo ….. mine isnt as flashy and doesnt look as pretty but it only relies on Ajax / php / mysql / javascript …… also its slightly under development so is allways changing….
When you register teh whole site is fully customisable right down to the logo color / text and font you can use. it has a shoutbox for messages to and from your friends, and im currently working on a site based mp3 player for people to upload the tunes to it ..
Any feedback would be apreciated..
^^ for a more full site


Comment by Jester — January 3, 2007

To be blunt, we don’t need another social networking site. We don’t need the ones we have. If you could write something that prevented all existing social networking sites from working, and prevented any new ones from being created I would be impressed. And I don’t like your look-and-feel.

Comment by Dan — January 3, 2007

@Dan: If there wasn’t a need, then new sites wouldn’t continue to spring up and flourish. Being rude won’t solve your own personal issues with these sites. If you don’t like them, then simply don’t type in the URL. Its that simple.

Comment by Rey Bango — January 3, 2007

The registration process tells me that I must wait and not close the browser window in an Alert, I haven’t seen something that un-usable since I started developing websites back in the day where everything was centered on the page and had a flashing background image.

Comment by David — January 3, 2007

I *heart* Rey! Right on! I am no fan of the social sites but I guess some are. I just choose not to use them.

Comment by Mario — January 3, 2007

Dude, your URL is – my personal issues pale in comparison. Social networking sites serve a purpose – so does toilet paper.

Comment by Dan — January 3, 2007

Cool interface, a little slow, but cool nonetheless.

I, however, somewhat agree with dan. An AJAX interface is not enough of a stand-out feature to convince me to use your SoNet site over one like MySpace. (Not that I could tell you what would be such a feature, just some feedback to help you :))

Comment by Beau — January 3, 2007

jesus — a bunch of grumpy fucking assholes, the lot of you.

I think it’s neat, whether it’s needed or not.

Though, keep in mind — the average social networking user today is far, far too stupid to ever consider something like “asynchronous programming” or “page refresh occurrences” when using a site. 90% can’t even pronounce or spell those things, let alone understand their benefits!

Comment by mdm-adph — January 3, 2007

On your profile page you can mouse over your user interests and a tooltip popup appears showing the full text of your interests, like favorite TV shows. [etc.]

That’s like… totally awesome, dude!

Comment by Maarten Manders — January 3, 2007

Well, I agree that the UI can’t provide a source of competitive advantage for a social networking site, but as far as this UI goes it has many general usability and IA problems. It appears as though you’ve sacrificed usability to create a single-page web app.

Comment by anonymous — January 3, 2007

This is Beta, Mark II (as in 2.0). We spent over a year building our framework with an extensive use of ajax throughout. This is day 2 of the release, we are fine tuning and enhancing the code non stop.

The pause between initial load & profile jumps is being drastically reduced, and other functionality will be rolled out as people catch on. Thing will only get faster.

The front end pages are nothing new at all, and the timing of IE 7 release did not help this release. We will obviously tweak, manager.jsp & profile.jsp are the 2 pages inclusive of all the back end site functionality.

Jester, you said “i wrote something similar a few weeks ago coz i was bored !!… ” – NEGATIVE
– I compliment your blog/instant messenger with a lightbox… Your site is not similar in anyway to eCirkit homie.

We built our application to empower users and instill innovation, instead of building the same old piece of crap with a paint job and one ajax callout. Out of necessity, not boredom COz we be bored wit Myspace Yo. You are speaking out of school by saying you wrote something “similar” out of boredom my friend. Valiant effort though.

I would like everyone here to know that eCirkit in no way just another “social networking” site – the genre is tired and played out, We have all had enough of the myspace clones- we would like to stand on our own 2 feet, and a chance to show the world what we can do.

We are rethinking & refining the web here, and breaking the rules on purpose, we are overdue for some change, it’s 2007. eCirkit was built by open source die hards, not Tom from myspace’s cousin, who runs a web marketing think-tank.

eCirkit = Communication + if you must affix a label – we are a MULTI LEVEL NETWORKING SITE.A universal communications tool built by users for users. For speed, not page views.SOCIAL NETWORKING IS A PLAYED OUT MARKETING TERM NOW –
If you browse some of the more popular profiles below, you can see the level of customization you can achieve without writing a line of code. – my profile ; )

We are only supporting current versions of FF & IE. If you use an older browser you are wasting your time.

Comment by Josh Silverman - sWanK from eCirkit — January 3, 2007

Dan – Thank you

& Beau – What you said is brilliant and made me laugh! we will gladfully welcome the smarter 10% – we prefer quality over quantity anyday!

Comment by Josh Silverman - sWanK from eCirkit — January 4, 2007

I can’t grasp why give your 2 cents when you have not even uploaded a photo or edited your profile? Your quick to judge something when you have no proof to back any of this up. I can understand If you are a advanced eCirkit user and have tested all functionality to say that it is not your cup of tea, but its quite apparent that you have not….So why talk shit? We built this with a skeleton crew and non funded by the way. We are not another clone trying to jump on the SN bandwagon. We built this for the user so they can see what the real web 2.0 can look like and operate like that’s it. To raise the bar if you will and try to bring Ajax to the front line. Is this not what this ajaxian blog is about? I thought this place was to bring breaking news to the user that Ajax is here to stay and here is the proof ecirkit is the real web 2.0 not just a marketing term.

I invite you all to see the technology we have implemented in eCirkit even if your not into SN sites I assure you once you start playing with it you will find it hard to bash how advanced it is.. We are not trying to be a mysheep we will leave that for the clones..

Thanks for the press – ajaxian

Comment by Bradley Farrell - BUTTUZ4EVA eCirkit — January 4, 2007

No IE6? LOL! Nothing like cutting out the majority of internet users for shits and giggles.

Comment by The Lobster — January 4, 2007

i quote “I compliment your blog/instant messenger with a lightbox… Your site is not similar in anyway to eCirkit homie.

We built our application to empower users and instill innovation, instead of building the same old piece of crap with a paint job and one ajax callout. Out of necessity, not boredom COz we be bored wit Myspace Yo. You are speaking out of school by saying you wrote something “similar” out of boredom my friend. Valiant effort though.”……. how is my “boredom site” not the same conceptial site as eCirkit … they are both social networking sites , the main difference is yours is more functional, but mine took me 6 days to code from scratch !!!! and as for one ajax call try minimum of 6 per page !! ….. no need for a flame .. as my site says “dont hate me coz u aint me” :P, good work on your site though i shall be signing up when it comes out of beta!!

Comment by Jester — January 4, 2007

oo forgot to add .. my site works on 5 major borwsers too !!

Comment by Jester — January 4, 2007

Some findings:
1. what’s an “acocunt”?
2. the alerts are stupid
3. the actual login-button is almost impossible to find
4. it’s as slow as it could possibly be
5. the guy that created the title tag should check his caps lock key
6. i told it i’m dutch, it shows me the weather in NY
7. tooltip movement is strange and wrong and why should it move at all? just because you can is not enough a reason
8. the title is used for advertsing only, no information in it concerning the page you’re on
9. the template used for a page is in the URL… peculiar!
A. the URL is ugly, uninformative, implementation-dependent
B. it is soooo slow…

Let’s not waisted any more time on this ugly rip-off unusable unfriendly unperformant ugly (did i say ugly) stuff.

We will never hear of this again I’m sure. Sad for those guys/galls having spent a year developing it, but this just isn’t it, no matter how hard they claim it is: It’s not(hing)!

Comment by Lon — January 4, 2007

@Dan: From the rest of the replies, it seems your issues are definitely far worse than my simple web page. Bradley Farrell said it best,

“I can’t grasp why give your 2 cents when you have not even uploaded a photo or edited your profile? Your quick to judge something when you have no proof to back any of this up.”

Feel free to contribute *anything* you’ve built of redeeming value before mouthing off.

Comment by Rey Bango — January 4, 2007

I think this is a very cool showcase of technology. It runs plenty fast on my computer. Most of the complaints above are pretty petty (although not supporting IE6 seems like something that would certainly overcome for a wider audience) for this new of product. They certainly don’t get in the way of getting to try out the system. BTW, I am curious what the intended source of revenue is? Will there be advertising? Seems like a enough work to deserve some financial reward …

Comment by Ajax 2.0 Developer — January 4, 2007

@Josh & Bradley: The interface is very slick. I think the registration process needs to be a little more intuitive though. As mentioned before, the alert box probably isn’t the best choice is you’re need to do some synchronous call to complete the registration. It looks like you’re using OpenRico & Dojo. How’s performance overall?

Comment by Rey Bango — January 4, 2007

I didn’t see anywhere on the site where I could apply to get a refund on the 10 minutes I wasted by checking out this site.

Comment by weebo — January 4, 2007

Thank you to everyone for your feedback. Good and bad. Jester, you are funny bro, my bad for clowning on you, no place for a flame war. When we release the battle feature on eCirkit we can pick that up ; ).

We are by no means are making a claim that this is a full release, and I am the first to recognize shortcomings.

Rey, as an open source warrior, a profitability model was not on my mind when we started this , it grew on it’s own. The reward is what we have acomplished, and that is enough for me. If monetary rewards comes with it, that is the topping on the cake.

Advertising is one obvious revenue stream, but Bradley and I will never allow banners leaderboards, intrusive ads, and the likes on eCirkit. We rather tell the “win a free ipod” wholesalers to keep thier money than pollute our network for the sake of pushing useless banners on people.

AJAX 2.0 – thank you very much for the reg suggestion, and it is being refined for next rollout (tomorrow or tonight) . If i said we spent 364 days on the back end framework and 2 on the fromt end registration, that would be truthful.

regarding your question on overall performance:
Truth is, we could eliminate Rico & dojo from the equation completely at this point… Dojo was used heavily in our alpha & beta Mark 1, less so now.
dojo may be slowing us down at this point (no poke at DOJO! ), so we may pull it out, same goes for rico.

Dojo & Rico are both fantastic toolsets, and I have the utmost respect for what they have accomplished. I want that to be very clear.

I will keep you posted!

Oh – Lon – Thanks for the bug report and critique, very helpful. Does cover amsterdam? That feed is a placeholder, so look out the window for now while we debug that ; )

I.E. 6 – We aren’t ie6 compliant becasue we chose not to be for now.

Comment by Josh Silverman - sWanK from eCirkit — January 4, 2007

Josh, ping me via email to discuss this further: rey [at] iambright dot com. I’d like to offer some more help.

Comment by Rey Bango — January 4, 2007

Josh, just FYI, I think you reading the authors wrong on your responses. The author is on the bottom of the comment, not the top. It confuses me too, why can’t the author be at the top of a comment?

Comment by Ajax 2.0 Developer — January 4, 2007

@Rey: I never bashed this particular site, or in fact any social networking site. I commented on the explosive trend of social networking sites as it relates to the human experience and the premature end of the universe. Since I don’t have a great urge to contribute to such events, I did not play with the site. If you read all the words in sentences, then let them process through your brain before starting to type we would all be in a better place. As for requiring “proof” before commenting, the last time I checked I didn’t need proof of anything to have an opinion. I’ll let you get back to building next generation dynamic websites. Please, be sure to post them when they are completed. I won’t play with them, but I will have an opinion.

Comment by Dan — January 4, 2007

it doesn’t work at all if you disable javascript! that’s stickin it to the man!

Comment by Jaimz — January 4, 2007

I hate to say it but the design is hideous.

I would try it, but as other comments have stated,
the look and feel is flawed.

Comment by Astor — January 4, 2007

Social Networking is a played out marketing term now. So I suggest some new meaningless hot-air descriptions. How about “Multi Level Networking Site” or “Universal Communications Tool Built By Users For Users”? :-)

Comment by Martin — January 4, 2007

@Dan: You’re right, you didn’t directly attack this specific site; you attacked the specific niche that they address with a rude diatribe and nothing but a half-baked opinion with no info to substantiate your assertion. So if you simply chose to bypass these sites or at the very least offered up something that could back your assertions, then you’d be less likely to have someone actually challenge your nonsensical postings and we would all be in a better place.

Comment by Rey Bango — January 4, 2007

Ajax 2, Rey – i actually mixed up your names, sorry, slip. Rey, will be in touch, contact me on ecirkit or email anytime.

registration update tomorrow so let’s wait to see next roll. ty 4 input, look forward to your thoughts. thanks.

Comment by Josh Silverman — January 5, 2007

Ajax 2 and rey I believe from your posts here that you two are truly the only guys that have engaged in this conversation that are happy in your life…I invite all of you here to please post up some things that you have made in Ajax and or designed, please help me see the artistic abilities that you all hold so close to your bosom.

Comment by Bradley Farrell - BUTTUZ4EVA eCirkit — January 5, 2007

well done for the overall coding of the site m8, its very intuitive, i myself cannot comment on graphical look and feel as i am shockingly bad at it !!, (give me a *nix terminal over a gui any day of the week), unfortunately the front end user doesnt care about backend code all they want is a pretty MacX / Winblows clone in front of thier eyes, in my opinion its so they can feel comfortable and not overwhelmed @ learning something new…., i deal with this all day long in my job (people not wanting to accept change or the need for change), but as Ajax dawns and spreads its way across the web and we move into the new On demand generation they are going to have to accept that the developers are normally correct !!…

Some points (consturctive)
1. Registration is a bit crammed in..
2. The Aggree checkbox does not check correctly
3. Registration takes quite a while (can see people getting bored with ti and closing the browser window)
4. Login takes quite a while on both IE7 and FF2.x and what i presume is java is hogging my laptop resources making viewing other windows harder..
5. I like thedragging and dropping of friends and the tooltips that appear when it is done, its very clever and pleasing on the eye…
6. i also like the `Main Menu`flashy thing but feel it doesnt go with the overall look of the site ..

Sorry to dismiss your hardwork ni a few points but its not meant to be harsh; just some constructive critisism… i know all to well how it feels to put alot of effort into something and have it fall flat one its arse !!…

one final point … if i wouldve undertaken this challenege i would not have used .jsp.
In my (limited experiance) this project would work faster, more efficiant and cleaner simply using php, ajax, mysql and some lovely cutting edge CSS designs ..

PS excuse the spelling !!
Good luck with eCirkit i hope it all works out for you

Comment by Jester — January 5, 2007

Hey Bradley, here, take a cookie, you are leaking foam from your mouth. How did I ever dare to criticise? You guys are sure the uber-cool, we certainly are just meager worms that simply cannot understand your genius. I bow towards your general direction.

Comment by Martin — January 5, 2007

I’m not sure which Dan you are referring to, but this Dan made no assertions, and thus required no proof or evidence. I’m free to be as much of a jerk as possible. I’ll spend 30 seconds typing his, but you’ll spend 5 minutes fuming. And that, kind sir, will delay the next generation dynamic websites. Which is a pity.

Comment by Dan — January 5, 2007


“you’ll spend 5 minutes fuming” – hardly.

“I’m free to be as much of a jerk as possible” – Yep. The norm I take it?

Comment by Rey Bango — January 5, 2007

Jester, thank you for the list, and I appreciate the feedback good or bad. I actually favor the environment you described, and work within it in other sites. However, for this project, java was the environment it needed to live in, and we will prove it to you. (oh martin – .jsp is an acronym for java server page)

The front end registration is the 80/20 rule, we know.

Speed – tuning and rolling out infrastructure and code daily.
No apologies needed, as long as you use the site. you can call it the biggest piece of shit on the planet.

I don’t in anyway claim this to be the a full release, spelling errors, graphics, etc –

the front end consists of manager.jsp & profile.jsp – and the interface you see although customizable, is just one of many we have in the pool.

Thanks m8 and check back for refinements, we aren’t going anywhere, need another few days at least lol.

Comment by Josh Silverman — January 6, 2007

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