The Gather API enables websites, apps (desktop/smartphone), anything really, to fully interact with user generated content stored in Gather. The use cases are limitless. Here I’ll show how Gather’s search API can be integrated into a browser-based game to enhance the user experience.
Let’s assume you’ve built an amazing game that has revolutionized in-browser role-playing. It’s called Candide 3D. In the first six months after launch both the game and the community website have been wildly successful. The website community allows users and administrators to create game guides, post tips, answer questions, and more. The community content has become so valuable that your users are asking for a way to access the content from inside the game. The game-play experience, best played full-screen, is hindered when users must: minimize the game, run a community search, commit relevant results to memory, and finally, return the game to full-screen. Certainly not a great user experience. Good thing you chose to build your community with Gather!
Here’s an example screenshot of what we want to end up with:
With the release of Gather 0.1.7 we have focused on a few areas to reduce friction during installation.
We are introducing the concept of Maintenance Mode in Gather. During startup Gather will enter Maintenance Mode when database configuration is necessary.
For example, as long as you have a MySQL or PostgreSQL database available, the database portion of the installation can be skipped. Upon startup Gather will enter Maintenance Mode and will alert the user that additional configuration needs to be performed. By providing Gather with the super user credentials to your database it is able to create the necessary database schema and bootstrap itself.
Online communities and the types of interactions they foster are why the branded online community has become a critical marketing channel for many. According to Wikipedia, an online community is an online social network of individuals who interact with one another to pursue common interests. Among companies that have online communities, the reported benefits include improved customer support quality, a better understanding of customer and prospect needs, higher user engagement, a more loyal customer base, and better cross promotion effectiveness. Research from Forrester indicates 60% of those surveyed have a branded online community and 15% were planning to add one in the following 12 months (1). Why has a branded online community become such a strategic aspect of marketing? We asked clients, partners and industry leaders what are the primary drivers for their companies. Here we share the top five reasons why a branded online community is so important.
Online communities are becoming increasingly popular for building relationships with clients, users and prospects. But companies are finding the current technology lacking in areas like flexibility, extensibility, theming and search. This blog, one in a series covering forum-related terminology, is focused on faceted search.
What is Faceted Search?
Yonik Seeley, the creator of Solr - an open source enterprise search platform written in Java, gives an excellent description of faceted search in his post on the topic. “Faceted search is the dynamic clustering of items or search results into categories that let users drill into search results (or even skip searching entirely) by any value in any field. Each facet displayed also shows the number of hits within the search that match that category. Users can then “drill down” by applying specific constraints to the search results.”
If you’re not a developer or some other breed of nerd, you may be asking “What the heck is an API and why does everyone keep talking about them?” An API is defined as an ‘Application Programming Interface’. That definition doesn't help much for for the non-technical, so in practical terms it is simply a documented way for one application to talk to another application.
Why are we talking about APIs? Because they are cool! Yes, APIs are cool. Let me explain.
API vs. Ford Model T
For the unfamiliar, you may more easily identify with a user interface and understand the importance. When you get into your car, unless you’re one of the few remaining Ford Model T owners, you don’t have to cross wires and yank on pulleys to operate your vehicle. These manual steps are not required because the designer built a user interface for you to operate your vehicle. The interface includes the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals and even some knobs to turn up and down the heat to keep you comfortable. The better this user interface is designed, the easier and more enjoyable it is to operate your vehicle.