ConcourseConnect

Open Source Initiative (OSI) PostgreSQL Java

The Web Platform for Social Sites

On the surface, ConcourseConnect is a website application which supports several different types of websites. Under the covers, however, ConcourseConnect is a complete white label social networking platform for bringing your greatest ideas to the web.

Out of the box, you can setup a private business website with features like user and group-based activity streams, projects and document collaboration. Another option is to deploy ConcourseConnect as a public-facing web site with content management and options for a blog and discussion forums. Whether you are interested in making your business a social business, or you are looking for ways to bring people together on a specific set of topics, social business software, or what we generally like to call it, commercial networks, is a flexible and socially transformative option compared to website content management systems.

ConcourseConnect as a white label social networking platform provides a balance between publishing content, populating directories of information, and enabling a community of users. Let me explain at a high level and then explore the features and configuration in more depth by linking to additional resources.

Publishing Content

ConcourseConnect uses a number of static and dynamic portlets to display information. In this sense, ConcourseConnect is considered a portal for hosting portlets. Portlets are the segments of a web page which render HTML content and are collectively displayed as a single web page to the user. A web page can have any number of portlets and each portlet can be configured for a specific purpose. Portlets in ConcourseConnect can visually overlap and technically share data and Javascript functions between them for a truly interactive and modern experience. There are portlets for showing and editing content, for showing RSS feeds, for showing forms to capture user information, and dozens more. Portlets are technically arranged using XML and new ones can easily be created by a developer since portlets are a development standard.

Along with publishing content, the look and feel of the site is important to the site. The site owner designs and authors the CSS for the site. A color scheme is the basic building block for having complete control over visually stunning sites. There are defaults for every element in the site and the designer can alter as little or as much as they wish.

Setting Up Directories of Information

Creating collaborative areas is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of ConcourseConnect for building social sites. ConcourseConnect has areas, visually displayed as web site tabs, to house information for People, Places, Things, Deals and Events. The site owner creates any number of directories they wish, and calls each one anything they want. Using the basic notion of descriptions, location, pricing, dates and times, directories can be created and extended to form searchable concepts like Groups, Projects, Deals, Job Listings, Customer Accounts, Products, Services, etc. Each directory can be as social, or not, and marked for e-commerce for payment integration.

When designing a new directory type, the site owner defines a topic, any sub categories, as well as determines the fields and field properties for the data. All records created in a directory need a title and then optionally longer descriptions, location and geo location tagging, associated features, user visibility, and permissions. A record can have content pages, interactive profiles for sharing and joining, blogs, wikis, associated documents, discussions, advertising and more.

Site owners can also choose traditional web site tabs, like Blog and News, to include in the site's navigation.

Enabling a Community of Users

Once the web site has been configured, turning on the community features is vital for launching the community-driven aspects of the site. Registration has several models: one model allows users to freely signup at the site, another limits the users to invitation only, and another integrates ConcourseConnect with 3rd party sites and authentication methods which is useful for turning on a community to existing sites and users.

Users agree to terms and conditions which explain the visibility of user information, guidelines for submitting content and rules for the site. Afterwards, a user profile is created which allows a user to share information about themselves including photos and a site-defined bio. The user profile also enables a user with their own activity stream and a hub for connecting with other users and interests.

On the backend, ConcourseConnect data is integrated with ConcourseSuite, through a plug-in, which enables community data to be administratively visualized and for generating community newsletters and site subscriptions.

Examples

There are a number of resources and sites which exemplify the functionality, flexibility, security and performance of ConcourseConnect.

Web and Collaboration Communities

Partner Sites

Custom Design and Content Management

E-Commerce

iPhone and iPad Applications

Android Applications

Configuration and Development

Customizing the pages, color schemes, and installation functionality

Using the User API

Using the Server API

Portlet library

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