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The New Ning: Ning 3.0
Have you heard the news? Re-Imagining Ning
Ning/Glam Social has completely rebuilt the Ning platform from the ground-up - - well, almost. This platform release is major, and will be known as: Ning 3.0. The development of 3.0 has been a huge hush-hush project, and will come at some as "rapid fire".
One of the primary reasons for the development of 3.0, Ning was pushing the limits with Ning 2.0. Obviously, their acquisition by Glam Media gave them the resources to upgrade. The strategy for development: (1) Move Ning into the future, and (2) Move the Design and User Interface up to Industry standards. Ning definitely needed a facelift. And boy, did they give it one!
According to John McDonald of Ning: Ning 3.0 is our next generation product. It's geared toward social leaders: people who already have — or want to attract — a community of people to gather around compelling content and conversation. It's a full re-launch of the Ning product. We invite you to start a free trial to test drive it. (Although obviously you can cancel before your free trial is up if you don't want to continue!)
John also talks about, and the most exciting new features - - extremely powerful:
The new Ning offers powerful flexibility for publishing and populating sites with multiple kinds of content and layouts, as well as multiple instances of features. You want 10 forums? You've got it. A community blog and an official blog? Done.
The last big upgrade was (Ning 2.0). In that release, Ning added the new Design Studio from the old Ning Editor, Header and Footer Instant Ad Boxes, and the alternative tools to designing a site: Developer Mode and LESS variables. The word upgrade doesn't apply much to Ning 3.0, at least not from my viewpoint. With the launch of Ning 3.0, I would have to call this a new product - - a new Ning. Too much has changed to call this an upgrade. Although the overall platform features will be similar, the entire HTML structure including CSS selector names have completely changed. This is to accommodate a new responsive design.
With the huge platform changes, there are a lot of pros and what appears to be some serious cons. The good news is: Most of the cons are temporary. There is so much to write about. I will try to touch on the most important aspects of the new Ning 3.0. I'll spare you a lot of the details, and we'll cover more as time goes by.
Before you take it all in, although I have concerns about different issues; all-in-all, I believe if existing Ning Networks can approach this with an open mind, 2 years down the road, you'll own even better and more exciting Social Communities, with creative possibilities that are never-ending.
For those new to the platform: Ning is the Industry Leader in online Social Community Building. The platform enables anyone to build their own niche Community with: Members, Friends, Blogs, Forums, Photos, Profile Pages, Latest Activity, and more. With the new release, there are modules not yet available that are part of Ning 2.0, but the power to build multiple modules is huge. Most of the modules are in development, and coming soon. After an extensive preview of the new Ning 3.0 by our Team, these are our findings.
Social Site Manager / Site & Pages:
Don't Panic, Help Is Here - As JenSocial and NingCustomDesign has done for a while now, my Partner (soon to announce!) and I, will specialize in hand-holding, redesigns, recreating apps, and everything Ning 3.0. We'll be here for you. We will offer customization at our design and application development rates. But, we will also offer tips and free support when possible.
It's tempting to list: What is included in 3.0? It's highly likely that most modules and features are on the way. I'll cover what I know is missing, and what I know for sure is coming.
Forum comment and Link by Ning Developer: As part of the upgrade process, you can move over already uploaded videos from your v2 network and members will be able to access them on devices that support flash.
After Diving In?
Now that I've shared the overall features, pros/cons, and what's missing, I'll give you my overall thoughts after diving in!
Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones. ~ Wikipedia
Member Profile Page Functionality and Features:
The Profile Pages are 100% different in 3.0, than 2.0. But, give them a chance. At first, I was completely thrown off. Then, after a few hours in the system, I realized the elegance behind the layout and features of the new Profile Pages. They're beautiful in style: modern and sleek, and have tabs that access different sections of a Profile Page - - instead of everything being all jumbled up and busy. I would like to see Ning add the ability to add the different Profile Modules to a canvas page, similar to what's available in 2.0. But, I don't know that this will happen.
Will Current Ning Networks Be Impacted?
Not yet. In fact, as mentioned above, current sites cannot move to the new platform until Ning completes the "Migration Tool", not your current content and members. Ning states that current Ning Networks will be able to move over to Ning 3.0, seamlessly, in a few months.
Ning 3.0 Roadmap - for updates:
As of 3/11/2013
Complete the Ning 3.0 Feature Set
We plan to develop and release the following additional features for Ning 3.0 by mid-summer 2013:
New Features Planned for Ning 3.0
These projects are currently in progress and should also be completed by mid-summer:
It's going to take time for existing Nings to feel comfortable with the new 3.0. Newbies can dive right in and start building new Communities. Once all modules are rolled out, any bugs are ironed out, and the Migration Tool is ready, there's no doubt that Ning will continue to be the Industry Leader in Building Social Communities; the platform is here to stay and continue to grow. Ning will be the most reliable and up-to-date Social Community Building platform available online.
Hopefully this review will assist many. We'll do our best to answer your questions, and discuss more about 3.0 as time goes by. We will add new Discussions under the Category Ning 3.0. Feel free to start...
JenSocial Team - new partner announcement coming soon!
Excellent question, and I believe the answer is "yes". According to John McDonald of Ning, and I quote him below. PLEASE keep in mind, this is just a high level vision on how the future Migration Tool will work:
"It might help if I share some rough details about how we see the upgrade process working. First, you will create a new Ning 3.0 trial. You’ll have as much time as you need to set-up and design this new Ning 3.0 Network before you upgrade. At any point in time before you make it public and launch it, you will be able to import content, activity and member profile information from your Ning 2.0 Network to refine your design, as well as check data quality. Once you are satisfied with the set-up, design, content and membership, you will complete the process. We will transfer your subdomain and your members will start seeing and participating in your new Ning 3.0 Network."
Thanks for your time and effort on this!
The API is one of the new features that excites me most!
We are the developers of www.businessfightspoverty.org.
We have done quite a lot of custom development and have had to continuously find work arounds to achieve additional functionality. The current API is not great at all. A fully functioning API, for us, is a game changer.
Im glad Ning have upped their game, its been needed.
I look forward to playing with the new Ning.
Wow, I've been out of the loop! Thanks for emailing this Jen. I never moved to 2.0, do you know if the migration tool is going to work for me?
And the pricing comment above, yea maybe me too soon :(
Good to see you.
Yeah, it shouldn't matter once they build the migration tool. The reason I say this? The designs won't move over, regardless of 1.0 or 2.0.
Thanks for the excelent analisys e information.
As soon as possible I will try to review all the features. Greetings!
Dr. Husky, Thanks, glad it was helpful.
My first response - I am really upset by this.
I do not wish to migrate my network - it works just the way I want it. I don't want to be forced to change or upgrade it.
Why should I be surprised. Not one mention of the fact that the real design change was due to Glam media's new backbone of Ad driven and data mining of your users content and traffic. They can't effectively get it with the current 2.0 design, so we are being shoved over onto a reservation of their 3.0 design with out even the promise of 40 acres and a mull, or even a reach-around!!!
No wonder they haven't fixed anything and everytime I email for help or support they respond with "Its a medium Priority" and they will put it on the list with no real promise of fixing it.
I am tired of being held hostage by Ning.
I definitely feel your frustrations. I have to start my Biz over, for the 3rd or 4th time. It is huge for me, too. I've written 1000s of tips, either in tip format or answered replies, and so much money and time invested. My Clients are my number one concern, including you. So much investment, just to start over. So, after I cooled my jets, this is how I'm seeing it after a while to think about it:
Just my quick thoughts,
I am dead in the water if my APPS.IO apps don't work. I have built a huge business with that. "LISTINGS" app is like having your own auction site. If that can't being imported, I am SCREWED.
I can almost guarantee you, it can be imported. If not by Ning, my partner can probably do it. I'm in the same boat, but years of listings. My S4N Directory (secondary forum) will not work in 3.0.
I really hope so. I am writing Apps-IO right now and going to find out what their take is on all this.
As you very well know, I just spent a boat load of money having pro ning creators like you customize my new site.
Very...angry. LOUD. NOISES.
Chloe, Please keep us updated...I just launched a Beaders Destash with apps.io and will be looking to replace it asap if this won't work. I'll be playing around with the forum options once available too....hopefully something will be able to be designed to work.