Home Ident Engine: Put Activity Streams on Your Site Easily

Ident Engine: Put Activity Streams on Your Site Easily

Most of us have profiles on a wide variety of services these days. Thankfully, most of these profiles are available in machine-readable microformats like hCard or XFN (XHTML Friends Network). For developers, Google’s Social Graph API makes discovering these profiles easier, though this is still a relatively complicated process. Now, however, Ident Engine, a new open-source JavaScript library that finds and aggregates user profiles and related activity streams, makes this process a lot easier.

The service pulls in data from LinkedIn, Flickr, identi.ca, Twitter, Digg, FriendFeed and numerous other services. To parse profiles, Ident Engine uses Yahoo’s YQL and ufxtract, a .Net parser. Ident Engine’s Glenn Jones describes the technical details of the software in detail in this article over at A List Apart. Basically, though, this library should make it very easy for developers to aggregate and display a profile for any user with very little input from the user and with just a few lines of code.

For Users: Flexible Queries

One of the most interesting aspects of this library is that it gives users a lot of flexibility when they structure their queries. Ident Engine will happily accept full URLs like http://www.twitter.com/rww or just simply ‘twitter.com rww‘ or the Webfinger email structure ([email protected]).

Not a Developer? Try these Demos

While Ident Engine is mainly aimed at developers, the team has made a number of cool demos available on its server. The Combined Profile Demo, for example, looks at a user’s profiles on multiple services and then builds an aggregate profile for the user, based on commonalities it finds in these profiles. The Lifestream demo goes a step further and discovers a user’s profiles on a variety of services and pulls in the latest updates. The project’s homepage also features a number of additional demos.

Glenn Jones also recently released a Firefox plugin, Identify (our review), which builds on the same premises and allows users to quickly bring up the aggregate profile of any user while looking at one of their regular social network profiles.

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