Hosting Web 2.0 Applications Yourself

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Written by Joe Anderson of Webby’s World

A problem with using remote Web 2.0 services is that you’re entrusting all of your data with a company who may shut down, delete it or indeed circulate it illegally. A solution is, of course, to host these services yourself. There are many open-source scripts available similar to sites like del.icio.us and some sites even share their sourcecode!

To find scripts, you’d probably be best off using a traditional script directory such as HotScripts. They have a whole category for PHP bookmark management scripts with a total of 20 scripts in it! Alternatively, some sites such as Wikipedia use an open-source engine, MediaWiki, and others like Webnote offer their sourcecode freely.

In this article, I’ll outline some free scripts which are alternatives, or indeed power, popular websites.

Bookmark Management (alternatives to social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us)

  1. Open-source and PHP powered sabros.us is a feature-packed script with features such as a tag cloud and RSS feeds. The site is developed mainly by Argentinians. Their site has numerous spelling errors and I expect their script does too. Interestingly, there is a specialised search engine (en español) for sabro.us sites.
  2. Brim is another PHP bookmarking script which people have started to translate into 13 other languages and all of these 13 are more than 50% translated (including some obscure ones such as Esperanto and Colombian Spanish (es-CO)!). It also claims to have a calendar, contacts, notes, news, passwords, tasks and more integrated into it.
  3. SiteBar is a tool, that you can host yourself, which is designed to fit in your browser’s sidebar. It uses a lot of Ajax but I think it’s bloated as it has a Google search bar, which isn’t needed in any modern browser. It also allows for more integration into browsers, such as Firefox’s live bookmarks.

Images Galleries (alternatives to photo management sites like Flickr)

  1. phpAlbum is a simple online gallery script which doesn’t require anything more than web space with PHP support and FTP access (no database required!). The script does things such as displaying Exif infformation, too. It is highly customisable and also has password protection. It doesn’t support tagging, sadly.
  2. Coppermine is an extremely popular free photo gallery script which has many features, the ability to add plug-ins and full multimedia support! They also promise that they will soon add tag clouds.
  3. singapore is a multi-lingual, database free image gallery script which can be administered via. FTP or a HTTP interface. The screenshots make it look fairly attractive.

Calendars (alternatives to online calendars like Google Calendar):

The PHP calendars’ category has nearly 150 entries, so I’ll pick out three of my favourite ones.

  1. phpEventsCalendar is perfect if you wish to maintain a public calendar which only you, and trusted users, can edit. It has a fairly clean interface, the colours of which may be changed through a CSS file. Features such as md5 encryption, a search facility and recurring events are still being developed.
  2. Cake Calendar is a CakePHP-powered script complete with tags, Script.aculo.us Ajax and SEO friendly URLs.
  3. CalendarTechniq is another script which has a close resemblence to a desktop calendar, I think, but it remains simple and clean to use! It also can important and export files into iCalendar.

Opinion

For the power user who prefers not to rely on others for the management and security of his data, hosting Web 2.0 scripts as such on a web server (even in a private one – such as in an office network) could seem as a valuable option. In today’s day, they provide much of the same functionality, and the fact that most are open source means that a whole community is involved in developing and improving it as technology advances through time.


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