TechCrunch: Why Ning needs to be better

Mike Arrington’s got a post on Ning, the groovy mash up too, that does a great job of explaining why it’s grooviness has faded a bit–His post is a roadmap for what the group could improve to make the service stronger.
Some Arrington points:
1) You have to know PHP, or at least HTML, to build anything unique on Ning.
Susan sez: Agreed–if this is a smart consumer toy, that’s asking too much–and yet, a *real* developer might not want to use Ning.
2) The APIs are custom; there is no support for key web service APIs.
Susan sez: Yep, isn’t open standards and interoperable APIs part of the point here?
3) Since everything has to be hosted at Ning, mashups are tethered.
Susan sez: Maybe Mike wishes Ning were more of a mashup library, with some Ruby-like tools that folks like me could dig into. Hmmn, that might be cool.
Mike’s got more–worth a read.

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  1. Yoz says:

    (Disclaimer: I work for Ning)
    Thanks a lot for your comments! Our CEO, Gina Bianchini, has already addressed them in the comments of the original post, but in brief:
    1: There’s plenty of attraction for both “real” developers and less-experienced users. One of the most valuable aspects of Ning is how easy it is to get going with a free development & hosting environment that takes no setup, installation or maintenance, and in which the apps you create can be redistributed with no extra work. For non-developers, cloning already makes it much easier than previously to set up your own app, and we’re working on making things much more customisable and componentised so that complex apps can be built from scratch with no coding.
    2: On the contrary, we already provide modules for using plenty of existing web services and standards, such as Flickr, Google Maps, Yahoo!, Amazon, RSS, OPML, XSPF and more. If you don’t see the service or standard you want, just drop in a PHP module from elsewhere. It’s that easy.
    3: While Ning apps usually make use of Ning’s own unique architecture (such as the Content Store), you’re free to pick up all your code and move it elsewhere if you wish. You are also able to point a domain name at your Ning app so it’s not under “”. And finally, Ruby support is currently being worked on.
    Thanks again for the comments – if you want to chat more, feel free to mail me at yozg (at)

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