Category: Web-based friend of a friend viewers and editors.

The LJ Viewlet

Troy Gardner*



One of the challenges involved in reviewing connections described by social network's is a suitable tool for browsing and editing these on the Web, to allow viewing and editing from wherever the users may be, and whatever device they are on. A goal for this project was to visualize these networks as networks instead of a tabular format.  Towards these ends there are only a few viable technology options: Java and Macromedia Flash.

The Presentation

This talk will cover a client created in Flash for introspecting, which has a richly connected user base and allows editing them in conjunction with a server-side application.  The initial version was created for viewing, and editing using the existing LiveJournal API, but has since been expanded to parse FOAF, meaning that it should be able to view other services as well.

Figure 1: The circle of friends and their relationships to the person in the center of the circle.

One of the challenges of visualizing social networks is dealing with the massive amount of connections that occurs as we incorporate more degrees of separation. Filtering, and coloring are two approaches, for example the above view shows the friend relationships to the person in the center via green for only friend-to, red for only friend-of, and gray for mutual friends.  This particular view shown (one of many), also allows these to be hidden or shown depending on the checkbox

In addition, some of the interesting features currently supported are

About The Presenter

Troy Gardner (, is a Rich Internet Application (RIA) developer and entreprenuer, with a background in Human Computer Interaction, and a particular interest in Graph Visualization. He has worked on RIA for Presedia (now Macromedia Breeze), and Neilsen EDI Boffo. He has been a technical editor on the Flash MX 2004 Actionscript Bible, and is currently applying his research in graph visualization to a social network startup.

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