Category: evectors

Introducing Zzub.it

Zzub.it - Home Page
Last Sunday we launched the a new version of the Zzub.it site, the first project built on PagesPlus 2.0.
Zzub.it is a community dedicated to word of mouth marketing, the new site sports many social networking features (and we have many more in the pipeline).
From the technical POV, besides the “traditional” aggregation and layout tools of PagesPlus, these are the key features offered by the ERM architecture:
  • user management (sign-up, sign-up on invite, profile management, password recovery)
  • brands section (feed aggregation, become fan)
  • products section (become fan, commenting, voting)
  • campaign section (invitation, join, comment, feedback, word of mouth reports, surveys)
  • relationship between users (friends, relatives, contacts, facebook contacts synchronization)
  • messaging system (both internal in/out box management and bridget to email, twitter, sms)
  • user private and public personal pages (ranking, activity stream)
It’s a very interesting job, and we enjoy working with the Zzub team. There is still a lot of work to do, and we are working on many details of the back-end of the system, but so far we are very please with PagesPlus 2.0 flexibility, the speed of development and the performances that we are experiencing.

Still digging

I don’t have the precise date, but almost exactly 20 years ago I founded my company.

I turned 38 last week, and you have to be 18 to incorporate a company in Italy. 20 years ago I was already doing some small graphic and advertising jobs, and I could not wait to be able to have my own business.

Back then the name of the company was StudioIdea, we changed the name to Evectors in 1999 or 2000. The company has gone trough many different phases, but it’s always in the same business: help companies to communicate using computers.

I’m still having a lot of fun!

Entity Relationship and PagesPlus

Yes, I do understand that yesterday post was a little cryptic. 😉

At evectors we are working on a new component of the PagesPlus architecture designed to manage entities and relationship.

It all started by observing the flexibility of PagesPlus, which allows us to manage flows of content using different layers of tagging and plain queries to our aggregator and render the results on pages or widgets trough a templating mechanism.

Since most of the sites we design these days are built not only around content but also other types of elements (users, groups, products, companies, etc.), we started trying to figure out a model as simple as the aggregator to manage other types of data.

So, we invented the Entity-Relationship model (only to discover that somebody had already invented it much earlier) and we started building an engine which could manage in the most neutral way entities, relationship between entities and tags and make them available to our WYSIWYG page layout tools.

With this component (which we call Erm) we can define an entity and tag it as “user” and then define a relationship and tag it as “friend of”. But we can also create entities tagged “brand”, “company”, “product”, “group”, ect. or  relationships tagged “fan of”, employee of”, “owner of”, “belongs to”, etc, allowing us to define a lot of different sentences. Different types of entity can be linked to additional attributes, hosted either in our own databases or on some external service reachable trough an API, making the whole environment very scalable.

While developing these new components, we are also building a couple of real sites for real clients using this new approach (this is helping us keeping everything real and provides some very serious deadlines).

Yesterday’s video was displaying the tool which allows to create a query to the Entity Relationship Management engine (i.e.: find 10 entities of type user which have a relationship with this brand, sort them alphabetically and display their names and avatars) and render the result on a page.

Entity Relationship Management

We have just turned on a new feature on PagesPlus, which I think will make a big difference in our future. The new entity-relationship engine offers huge flexibility for social media projects.

Further details will follow shortly, meanwhile thanks to the whole team at evectors!

New technology for Nòva100

We just went live with a new version of the Nòva100 site.
While, of course, I’m enthusiast about all our projects and deeply in love all our clients, Nòva100 is a little special because it has been the first site where we tested our idea of using an RSS aggregator as the core of a content presentation system.
The idea behind Nòva100 is simple: find 100 interesting people, and leave them completely free to write what they want on their blogs. Then automagically generate a site to aggregate and present their work, offering some new ways to discover interesting stuff.
What is new with this new version of the site is that it is based on the latest version of PagesPlus, which will provide a lot of added flexibility to the editors of the site.
I recorded a quick demo to show how editors can add manage content on any page of the site.

I’m quite happy with the quality of the technology that we have been developing lately, but most of all I’m incredibly proud of the amazing team of people I work with every day at Evectors.

I’m back

We are just back from a 2 weeks trip to San Francisco. The reason for this trip was exploring the possibilities of developing a business in the US around our aggregation/publishing product, PagesPlus.

We met old and new friends, agencies, potential clients and investors, and the feedback was very positive, even better than I was expecting.

It sounds like the mix of tag-based RSS aggregating and WYSIWYG page editing is very interesting for publishers and media companies (these are our core business in Italy) but also for PR firms, web agencies, social media projects and as a platform for behind the firewall applications.

I’m very happy to start this new adventure in the software business with great partners and friends, I’m already planning my next trip to California and we owe tons of demos to a lot of people we met. Stay tuned.

Evectors PagesPlus

For the last 10 months at Evectors we have been working on a new application which we are calling PagesPlus.

It’s not strictly a content management system: most of the content is not authored within our application, it’s more a content presentation system, or if you like a tool to manage content flows in an editorial environment.

The core of PagesPlus is an aggregator which can digest any form of RSS/Atom and uses tags to organize everything it aggregates (it’s loosely based on the concept that, together with Matt Mower, we developed for our K-Collector application back in 2002). The aggregator supports tag schemas, meaning not only that, for example, it can tell the difference between a topic-tag and a category-tag, but also that you can create your own schemas to address special needs.

If the aggregator manages the back-end, a WYSIWYG application allows you to manage the front end. We are using again the metaphor of “plus” buttons: you click on a plus button to add content in a specific area of the page, you choose what type of element you want to add, and seconds later the page is updated.

The third part of the application is a “widgeting” platform. With this latest addition you can detach any module from a PagesPlus page and insert it in any other page on the web. The system does all the necessary CSS/HTML/JavaScript magic that will guarantee your widget to look the same everywhere you paste it.

Just to give an idea of what it can do, using PagesPlus in the last months we have have developed these sites:

Using PagesPlus to create site with very strict specifications has been a very useful exercise, forcing us to eat our own dog food and putting us in the shoes of designers, editors, writers, publishers.

I must say I’m very happy with the results. Not only we have been able to put together a killer team, but we also ended up having a very good product (whith an even more impressive list of features on our roadmap).

The plan is to release the application with some open source license (still trying to figure out which one to pick) and let a thousand flowers bloom.

Hoping to have a little more time available in the next few weeks, I’m planning to post here the description of how the system works, maybe a few screencasts to show how the real thing works. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or to ping me.