The big news today seems to be that stealth startup 24 Hour Laundry has decloaked, launching Ning. (I sent these guys my résumé a few months ago on a lark, they turned me down.) The idea of the site is to provide people with tools to build their own social applications like del.icio.us, Flickr, and even “Hot or Not.” I guess Yahoo Groups on steroids would be one way to think about it, but I haven’t digged down enough to really tell. I have to subject it to the two vectors of analysis that are required for all interesting new Web applications — what can I use it for and what ideas can I steal for my own applications?
The one big question I had right way was, “How do you build the applications?” Do you just pick components in HTML forms or do you edit source code? What language is the source code in? For more detailed information I’m going to have to wait to see if I get accepted as a developer. In the meantime, it looks like you build the apps using PHP and a proprietary templating language called XNHTML, and that you can either build a new app from scratch or clone any existing application, and that the source to all of the applications is availbale to anyone with a developer account. (The developer documentation is published as one of the applications on the site.)