eZ Publish Admin redesign - Dashboard = OpenSocial?

In the preface to the current Admin interface specification the last paragraph caught my eye:
A overview of user task need a dashboard, where she can follow here own content, approval and other tasks she might do on a regular basis.
I recently saw a demo of the latest version of the bug tracking system JIRA 4.0 by Atlassian. It used an OpenSocial dashboard to allow users to customise their homepage to access and interact with information that was important to them.  The system not only displays JIRA widgets but any OpenSocial widgets (and those from other Atlassian products). You can check out a video of it in action here and more information on how Atlassian is using OpenSocial here.

What is OpenSocial? From the official site:
OpenSocial defines a common API for social applications across multiple websites. With standard JavaScript and HTML,
developers can create apps that access a social network's friends and update feeds.
Google personal home page is an example of an OpenSocial dashboard but basically there are 2 parts the gadget consumer/container (dashboard) and the gadget producer (the gadgets themselves),

Atlassian use the Apache Shindig software to provide OpenSocial functionality in their products.  This is a good match as it's a Java application as are the Atlassian products.  The good news for eZ Publish is that there is a PHP implementation.

While it's probably beyond the scope of the the current Admin Interface redesign I believe that this is technology that would fit nicely with eZ Publish. OpenSocial is based on Open Standards and has wide industry support from the likes of google, linkedin, yahoo!, myspace, saleforce and ebay.

Another benefit is that the gadgets are easy to write as they are based on HTML, CSS, Javascript and REST.  Each eZ Publish module could have a number of gadgets that provide views of information that could be displayed on the dashboard. Examples may include: Items requiring workflow approval, a search, number of new users,  new content since last visit or number of active sessions.

Using OpenSocial not only solves the eZ Publish Admin dashboard problem but opens up eZ Publish to many new opportunities. I can see this as a killer feature for Intranet or Extranet sites.

Paul Forsyth started an OpenSocial project page when it was launched in November 2007. The project doesn't seem to contain much at this stage but perhaps this can be used as the basis for a proof of concept project? Sound interesting?


  1. Dashbord's main focus is current ezpublish site and its content related to current user, but nice video.
    Easy to implement? Maybe:

    Anyone up for creating a simple prototype (drag and drop and such not needed in first round)?

  2. Hi André

    An OpenSocial dashboard would definitely be related and unique to the current user.

    I'm not sure if you've played much with igoogle.com but you can add widgets for gmail and google reader and other items that require authentication.


  3. Hi Bruce,

    I guess it comes back to your comment about making the admin interface for content editors, and imagining what kind of gadgets they might add (e.g My Recent Content).

    If the Admin UI was gadget-based, it would have to have a default that works well for 90% of users who probably aren't interested or don't have the time to mess around with adding widgets? I guess it gives people options...

    Would there still be an accessible alternative?

    http://projects.ez.no/ezpersonalfrontpage allows this kind of functionality, but is a little clunky and is showing it's age.

  4. Hi Geoff

    Thanks for pointing eZ Personal Frontpage. I'll have to check it out.

    I think if OpenSocial dashboards were implemented the ability to set a default layout for each role would be a required feature.

    What I do like about OpenSocial is that the users will be able to customise the layout and what is display to meet their own needs. Also the widgets are portable across all OpenSocial consumers.

    As I mentioned it would have many applications beyond the admin interface dashboard.



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